Two days before Christmas, I awoke and staggered into the hallway; my feet sank into deep brown carpet, then I held onto the rail going down the stairs and the walls heading into the long wide kitchen. After pouring a cup of coffee, I strolled to the dining room table and sank into a chair.
Though the coffee was cold and bitter, I didn't notice. I felt so groggy my eyes refused to open wider than a slit. My taste buds were functioning even worse. After a couple gulps, I managed a glance out the window. White specks careened through the air; lawns and roofs reflected the purest sight, a wealth of angel-fluff as yet unmolested by man, woman, or child.
Thank goodness no sun, I thought. I don't feel like brightness today. A definite uneasiness pervaded my spirit. Why didn't I feel the holiday spirit like I did yesterday? What could possibly be this wrong? No answer came, so I took another gulp of coffee. This time I had to race to the kitchen and spit it into the sink. After that, I made Mr. Coffee produce fresh, hot stuff.
Finally, the second cup was warming my spirits and I was feeling somewhat human again.
For some reason this morning I answered the phone, though I didn't usually until an hour after I woke up. It was Jamie, a close cousin, who was having Christmas for the family this year.
The second I picked up, before I could say a word, she screamed into my defenseless ear. "Do you know what that imbecile did?"
After a gulp of this delicious black brew, I asked, "Which imbecile are you referring to? Our family's so damned big somebody is always being an imbecile. Define your terms."
"Gill! He just walked out the door, carrying his suitcase." She was still screaming.
I sat straight up in my chair, eyes wide, grogginess gone. My cup hit the table so hard it should have cracked, but didn't. "That Idiot! You mean he's ruining Christmas for all of us? There's gotta be a law against that, or there should be."
"Well, actually... we agreed he should leave." Jamie was a little quieter this time.
But I wasn't. That statement made me sit even straighter. "Oh, you're telling me that you and Gill CONSPIRED to ruin Christmas!"
"No! We've been fighting all the time since we retired."
"That was ten months ago! You mean you two have ruined Christmas over him not putting the toilet seat down last August and you forgetting to buy salt last June. Is that it?" Now I was yelling.
"Look! We're separated and that's it. But I'm still having Christmas." She was getting a little huffy. And I saw no reason for her to be huffy. She wasn't the victim in all this. The rest of the family was.
Just then, Krisha, her forty-five year-old daughter, shouted so loud I could hear her through the phone. "Mom, he's only been gone a half hour and already he's driving by." Then she roared so hard she could hardly talk. "I bet… he... he's checking to see... if you moved a... a man in here already."
"Krisha, that's enough. This isn't funny. We're separated and we're staying that way. You'll have to go with him to wherever he's holding up on Christmas and be with him part of the time. He won't be here."
My forehead was starting to ache. I leaned my elbow on the oak dining room table, so I could rub my head, but it didn't help. Jeez, I thought, Christmas is ruined. So I piped in, "Should I take his present back now or after Christmas?"
1 2 3