I wanted to send gifts home to my family, but I couldn’t afford it. Even if I'd had the money, Auntie would’ve been mad at me for spending it that way, since she wants me to save my earnings for school.
She was excited when I told her I was studying for the veterinary school entrance exam. I almost didn't write to her about it, worried that it would bring up a lot of painful memories. But instead she sounded happy in her letter and said it was exactly what her sister would’ve wanted for me, since Carina had once thought to open a school in our valley where she could teach practical veterinary skills. She had always assumed I would be one of her best students.
So instead of sending gifts home, I made cards with pictures I drew with my colored pencils. I thought about doing traditional Christmas scenes but decided to draw pictures of Northwind and its horses and grounds, instead. I sent one of the cards to Auntie, of course, and I enclosed one to Will with instructions for Auntie to use her best judgment on whether or not to give it to him. I made a special card for Kitta, the little girl Auntie is caring for. And I sent a card to Robert. I mailed it to Castaño, so I hope he goes home for Christmas and doesn’t get stuck on campaign somewhere.
Lee acted jealous over the card to Robert, but he has no right to be. What’s the use in being jealous of someone so far away? “If there was anything between us,” I said, “I wouldn’t have come here.”
“Then why do you write at all?”
“Because he got me this job. If it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t even know me, so maybe you should send him a card, too, and thank him.”
Lee didn’t have an answer to this, and I was glad. I didn’t want to argue about Robert.
It’s been two weeks since I sent the cards. I still haven’t gotten anything from home, although I know Auntie sent something because I had a message from her at Sam’s when I stopped in to say hello and ask how our telephone company was coming along. If my Christmas present doesn’t arrive until after, that’s okay. I know I’m loved, just the same.