Twelve Days of Christmas – Leela Soma
A Festive Story by Leela Soma
Twelve days of Christmas
She is excited, super excited from the moment she sees the tinsel and the baubles in the shop. October this year! Twelve days of Christmas? No, not for her.
My nerves are frazzled from October onwards.
She calls her friend excitedly.
Day – 1. “Guess what Clare! I was in Dobbies for that Afternoon Tea for Two with Frank. They have Christmas things out already. I just love Christmas.” She gushes on for another hour. I try and get her attention but she brushes me off.
Day – 2. A week later she is searching the whole house for the Christmas card list. Finally she crashes on the sofa, red wine in hand and starts nagging Frank. He stays quiet, and watches the football on telly. That annoys her. She shouts out “Frank, are you listening to a word I’ve said today?”
“I thought you said that you’re not sending any cards this year,” he says.
“I know I said I won’t send out any cards. The price of the stamps now! You know how good it is to hear from friends. Look, I got the round robin letter from the Hunters. Doesn’t their granddaughter look like a real angel? They are so organised. Frank, where did you put the list?”
Day-3. Today has been hellish, she forgot to feed me. She has been out to the shops and got her cards and some new baubles and a couple of presents. Exhausted, not made the tea and keeps looking at the laptop for more bargains. Frank makes himself some soup and has a couple of toasties. I wish he would understand why I feel so down.
Day-4. November is dark and miserable but she is energised. Her jumper arrives from the online retailer. She admires it and then has a wee worry that it might be a tad too small. She tries it on. Her face is the same colour as the red jumper with the reindeer sneering on the front.
“Jesus! I have put on weight before Xmas! I’ll be the size of a house for the gym girl’s party. All those lycra-clad, slim jennys doing an hour in the high impact classes while I enjoyed the latte and the cake.”
She moans to herself. I can hear it all.
Day-5. She has written the cards, without the list. She had planned to go to the post office to return that jumper, when the phone rings. Her face turns crimson. I am looking up at her for a treat but something has upset her.
“Yes, I do love Christmas, and good to get the family around. See you then,” she hangs up the phone and dials Frank and shouts at him.
“Your whole brood is descending on us again! Why? Because you never ever say no to that mother of yours! Happens every year. No, I’m not shouting! Stressed? Me?” She slams the phone down.
Day-6. End of November. She enjoys a wee foot bath after her day of shopping. Her face is radiant with the joy of having bought all the presents. She cuddles Frank and claims that she was frozen in town all day but feels it was all worth it.
Day-7. Mary Berry’s book is on the counter top. The cake had been made but the icing is challenging. Frank comes through the door and she throws herself at him and sobs. “I slaved over this stove all day and now look it’s a bloody mess.” He holds her close and says something soothing and winks at me. I keep out of the way.
Day -8. The first weekend in December and Frank is hauled up to the attic to get the old tree and all the decorations. She smiles happily as each of the bags and boxes are brought down. Each item brings back such sweet memories. Then Frank hands her that big Santa sack. That oversized one she had bought last year. The shock is palpable. All the presents she had bought at the sale tumbles out of it. Frank brings her a stiff brandy as she has a lie down.
Day-9. The advent calendar chocolates are nearly finished. The windows have been opened a wee bit in advance after returning from that drunken night with friends at the local golf club. “I mean black coffee is too bitter,” she says giggling with her friend Nan as they sit eating mince pies and coffee in the kitchen. Nan has come over as she always does at this time of the year. She never forgets me. I let her feed me.
Day-10. I wonder if I could check on my present but she ‘shoos’ me away and keeps the door shut to the lounge and allows me only when we are on the sofa together. I must say that the flashing lights don’t exactly make me want to go too near, but that present is rather tempting. Well, I have seen her telling Frank what she wanted. She checks for a new present under the tree. “Don’t wait till Christmas Eve and get me rubbish,” she says teasing him. He pats her arm and says little.
Day-11. The guests arrive to stay the night for the celebrations next day. She is hyperventilating. Frank is working late or away shopping. She has that frozen smile when she talks to them. They lift me, cuddle and make a fuss of me.
Day-12. The raucous lunch is over and they have played a game, watched TV, fought over family gossip and made up later, with tears in their eyes. They left around seven in the evening. She picks me up and gives me a tremendous hug and I lie on the sofa with her all evening.
Frank gives me the little mouse that was under the tree. He turns something on and it scuttles all over the floor. I chase after it, and then decide it is not worth the effort. It smells metallic. I prefer mine live.
They watch TV all evening. She strokes me and I purr happily.
I hear her humming ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day!’
Leela Soma, December, 2015
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