Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Tale of Three Christmases.


2011.
'I'd say "see you in the New Year, have a good Christmas", but... I know people saying that has been annoying you lately.' He winks, and I giggle, noting the little reference to the fact that he reads my blog. Something stirs in my chest when I think about that lovely little fact; he reads what I write. It seems so silly, especially when he's just a good friend with whom I watch 'How I Met Your Mother' and eat cinnamon toast on weeknights. But still, he knows how to make me smile. 
Why do I always wonder how I should end our little interactions, though? A hug seems appropriate. Maybe a kiss on the cheek - he's a good friend, after all. I hope he's not expecting a proper kiss; that's stupid, why would he be expecting that? I smile and hug him, careful to tilt my head away from his just enough to convey my pointless message. He's wearing a tight black shirt, as per usual. I might miss him, come to think of it. I might not. 
I carefully pull away from him, and unlatch the door (there's no use in it being open while I'm away). 
'See you later!'
On my way home, I get a text saying 'What's the game Ted and Marshall play in the car when they see a dog??'
'Zitchdog!'

2012.
I'm sitting in my friends' living room, sad and sore and wishing I were somewhere else. The smell of roasted potatoes and thick gravy pours in through the doorway; everyone's running back and forth from the kitchen, paying no attention to the TV and positively buzzing with their own little stories and holiday cheer. Assignments are handed in, placement is over, and for them, life doesn't get better. I'm left alone all of a sudden, and I want out. I open the front door quietly and gently, and execute my first flawless Irish goodbye. Then I'm running, down the Lane, faster than I thought possible. Trying not to think about this time last week, the shouting and the ice; trying not to think about the hospital up the road; trying not to think about the huge white room; trying not to think about how deeply unsatisfied I was last night; all I can think about is home. I call my friend with a car, begging for a lift, while running. I get to my house and throw everything I can into a bag, forgetting all that's important, but what else is new? I text the Unsatisfying One, and say 'I'm on my way home!'
'Wow, that was a fast decision!' He doesn't care. Of course not.
Within the hour, I'm on a train. And I'm headed home. 

2013.
£9.60 for a bottle of de Gras, well, it's rude not to, right? Christmas drink is sorted.
'Are you a member? No, would you like to be? Another time, that sounds like a plan. Gift card? Is it a Christmas present? Do you want me to start it on Christmas Day for you? Cool, done. Let me just get you an envelope for that... Coffee? Yes of course! Americano, latte, cappucino, mocha? Is that with an extra shot? - I recommend the extra shot, as it can be quite weak without... Lovely. If you'd like to wait at the end of the bar, I'll bring it over to you!'
Psssshhhhhttttt, whirrrrrrr, spppllllggggg, choopchoopp. Shot shot, foam, chocolate, sugar and spoon. Done. Time for a sit down.
Enter tall gentleman. 'Hey, my dad!'

A few days before, we walked up to the front door and said our goodbyes. A taxi pulls up, and the driver is wearing a Santa hat. He's not for us - he's for London. Whoever or wherever she is.
He pulls me in, squeezes my side, and gives a sweet bristly kiss. We won't see each other for over a week, which suddenly seems like a long time. He's coming to visit, though. He wants to meet my family, hang around in my house, see my town and learn where I come from. Come for a pint at my local, bump fists with my sister, sit down in front of the TV with me in a place where he's never been, to make me happy and to know me better. Which is inexplicably amazing. It's the best Christmas present.
'Merry Christmas, baby.' 
'See you soon, honey.'
I love his eyes. Back to Battle I go.


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