Christmas with Mother had been a much quieter affair than it was for other people, it seemed. She had given cards with angels and soft lights, traditional and beautiful. They had had a small tree (just lights), true, but overall it was quite a quiet affair.
Needless to say, Mystic Maya didn't approve of this. She insisted that Pearls come with her to the shops in town, not the small ones she was used to but the big ones full of busy agitated shoppers. It was a bit unnerving, being pressed on all sides by people rushing here there and everywhere, to be honest. She couldn't understand how they could think of the perfect present when they were so preoccupied with rushing around.
To be honest, she was having trouble herself. She had bought Mr. Nick's present, a nice warm sweatshirt with a hood (Mystic Maya had called it a hoodie, but it sounded so silly. And Mr. Nick wasn't silly.) but she couldn't work out what to get Mystic Maya. She had her stand outside every shop as she went in, so she could choose without her knowing, but she just couldn't decide.
The latest shop was a small, cosy room with little mirrors and candles. She liked it a lot, but she wasn't sure if it was really Mystic Maya's type of thing- she didn't seem very... traditional.
She peered at a small pink candle in a tin, slowly reading the text on top, tracing it out with her finger. It was some kind of scented candle, bubblegum or something. That was more like it. Apparently you were supposed to light it when you got sad.
Pearl wasn't as naive as people thought she was.
She knew Mystic Maya wasn't as happy as people thought. She was worried for Pearl, and for the village. She was worried for Mr. Nick and if he was OK on his own. She worried about whether she was good enough.
Pearl went to pay.