Weaving my way through motherhood whilst trying not to mess up adulthood.

Short Story Sunday-Coming Home for Christmas

Theresa hangs the last stocking above the fireplace then stands back to admire her work. Not only was the mantel piece adorned with Christmas trinkets, the entire sitting room twinkled with festive lights, tinsel and an animated father Christmas figurine that rocked back and forth whilst chanting ‘ho  ho ho’ at the click of a button. The stockings, although thread bare and faded in colour, still held on tightly to the embroidered names etched onto the front. Rebecca-Martha-John.

Theresa kneeling on the carpet, cleans up the glitter from the baubles and loose ribbon left over from her box of decorations. Placing a wooden figurine into the box, an envelope catches her eye.  Sitting back on her heels, she reads the front, ‘To Santa’ and inside in clumsily scrawled lettering, she reads a hand-written thank you letter from a then five-year-old John, thanking Santa for his brand-new bicycle. Theresa smiles and holds the letter to her chest before deciding to leave it on the mantel piece to show to her youngest on his return from abroad.

This Christmas is a special one for Theresa and her family. Having lost her husband the year before and with John living in another country with his wife and new-born, she was looking forward to meeting her granddaughter for the first time and having all her children at home for Christmas.

“Helloooo? Mum?” A voice calls from the hallway.

“Hello darling, come through, I’m in the living room.” The front door closes and Rebecca walks in holding two gift bags.

“Hiya mum, just dropping off some gifts.”

“Thank you, do you know what time your sister will join us on Christmas day?”

Rebecca kneels besides the Christmas tree to place her gifts neatly beneath the tree, she too feels excited for the festive season where she will wake at the crack of dawn to unwrap presents with her two children before enjoying a breakfast of salmon filled bagels and bucks fizz and then a Christmas lunch at her mother’s surrounded by her nieces, nephews and siblings.

“She’s coming just before 11. She’s stressing out because she hasn’t brought a single present yet!”
Theresa laughs, her middle daughter has always been the one to leave things until the last minute, whether it be homework rushed the night before its due in or leaving a church full of eager guests waiting for forty five minutes on her wedding day; so it didn’t surprise her that a week before Christmas Martha was feeling the pressure. Although her children were now grown up with families of their own, Theresa looked forward to filling their stockings with socks and oranges and watching them bicker over a game of monopoly as the grandchildren played with empty boxes and ate too many mini chocolates. 

The phone rings just as Theresa puts the last box away, she answers on the fourth ring, her face lighting up as the caller greets her. Looking up at her mother, Rebecca watches as Theresa’s bottom lip begins to quiver and her brown eyes fill with tears. The words she tries to say get muddled between sobs and gasps as she tries to hold in the tears that roll down her cheeks. The phone conversation ends and Theresa takes the nearest seat, her daughter joins her on the sofa taking her into an embrace.

“Mum, what’s the matter?” 

“It’s…it’s…John. He won’t be home for Christmas.”

To be continued

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