Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Day : a short story

The snow is thick and glistening, the tree branches all sporting a powdery cover. Outside sits a perfect snowman, decorated with Dad's old scarf and hat. We rush inside giggling after another snowball fight, the white crystals shining in our now damp hair.

Inside it's toasty warm, tree lights twinkling and non-stop noise.

Children laughing, paper ripped open, as everyone rushes to find out what Santa's brought. Glasses chinking as the adults say cheers to the festivities. And that amazing smell as Mum puts the final touches to the sumptuous Christmas dinner.

There'll be succulent roast turkey, honey roasted parsnips, crisp yet fluffy roast potatoes, carrots, peas, creamy cauliflower cheese, squidgy stuffing balls, crunchy yorkshire puddings and my favourite of all. The little sausages wrapped in bacon - or as we call them pigs in blankets. Yummy!

Mum and Dad ruffle my hair and let me have 'just a little one' as they pour me my own tiny glass of sherry.

We cheer - and jump - as the shiny foil crackers are pulled and concentrate as we try to solve the puzzles that come from inside. Everyone smiling as we look at each other in our silly hats, all colours of the rainbow round the table. Our uncles and Grandpas boom with laughter as they read the print out jokes - the same as last years!

Everyone cheers as Mum walks in with the turkey on it's big platter plate, Aunties have already placed all the side dishes around the table for all to share.

Cutlery scraping, warnings of hot plates, food being dished up and dolloped on my plate. Hoping I'll get the ones I've been eyeing up in the dish.

My fingers are covered in gravy and cranberry sauce where I've picked up bits of meat and wiped my plate clean. I lick them all, one by one, savouring every last morsel. Each taste, every flavour, my favourite meal.

Then the dishes are replaced and the plates cleared as pudding arrives. Gasps and clapping as the brandy is poured and the pudding lit, the blue halo around it as it stays aflame, we all wonder for how long.

There's pudding and mince pies, trifle and cheesecake, and later Mum will reveal her cake she's been working on for so long, making sure it's just right.

Once we're done we get down from the table to go play by the tree with the toys we've received as adults munch on smelly cheese and crackers and sip strong liqueurs from crystal glasses.

More time for us to play as they move on to coffee and mints, nuts and more. Only occasional interruptions for batteries for toys or helping us put things together that prove too tricky.

And then later we play games, everyone wanting to win, splitting into teams. Shouts of accusations, people cheating and uproar and screeching as some are announced the winners.

The tree lights twinkling seem to start to blend into one, my belly full, my eyelids heavy. So tired. I think I start to fall asleep as I can hear people calling me. It's time to get up. Probably time to go and get in my cosy warm bed and be tucked up in that thick duvet. Too much excitement today.


"Come on lad, can you hear me?"

"What you doing out here again? They've warned you before. Come on mate, on you move, come on..."

His eyes adjust and the cold reality hits him hard like a punch to the gut. Then the cold hits him, icy, sharp, unforgiving. The smell, oh the smell, not a freshly roasted warm succulent turkey, oh no. Stale, dirt, rotten waste. His legs and arm ache from lying on a rock hard base, his trousers damp and scratchy.

The policeman gives him a helping hand to rise up. This is a nice one. Some of them can't bear to touch him. He knows.

Nearby a window holds a family sitting down to Christmas dinner, tucking in to their beautiful banquet before them, laughing, drinking, eating, smiling.

All oblivious to the young boy outside.

The young boy being picked off the floor from his makeshift home for the night, being led away by a policeman, being moved on, maybe if he's really lucky being taken to a shelter for the day.

And yet again Tommy realises it's Christmas Day, he's had that dream again. And yet again it's not come true.

No comments:

Post a Comment