A moving Christmas tale

Will the columnist make it into her new home before the Yuletide celebrations?

AS I write this, I’m sitting at my desk in my study surrounded by packing boxes. Christmas is exactly six days away, and I’m moving house for the second time this year. I must have consumed a huge number of mind-altering drugs to agree to this.

I have exactly five days in which to set up house and be ready to welcome my Yuletide guests: my partner’s parents and his aunt.

Also, just to make life a little more interesting, all the spare keys to the current house have been inadvertently stashed away into one of the hundreds of boxes that the men from the transport company are currently loading onto a large truck. These keys must be found and returned to my landlord by sundown.

I’m now sitting in the old lounge on a plastic-covered chair that is sticking to the back of my legs. Two men, who seem to be devoid of the prerequisite musculature for removal work, are now manhandling my desk down the stairs, while my partner, a man who knows his station in life, is vacuuming the now empty study.

I have just heard a loud bump, but I refuse to go and investigate. The side of my leather desk could now be sporting a large tear, or the plaster wall on the staircase could have an unsightly gouge, or the wooden stairs could be scratched beyond recognition, but I don’t want to know about it just yet. Of course, one of the un-muscular guys could have fallen on his head, cracked his neck and be lying paralysed at the foot of the stairs, but hopefully he’s insured.

As I let the men get on with their work, I contemplate Christmas day. Neither my son, who is now living in the United States, or his sister, who is undergoing an internship in France, can make it home over the festive season.

I try not to think about the empty spots around the Christmas table, but I’m failing miserably.

One of the men has just enquired about the wine cooler sitting in a corner of the lounge. “Is this some sort of stereo system?” he asks.

“Stereo system?” I say, trying not to laugh.

“Yes, I’ve seen them like this before.”

The only way that I would confuse a stereo system with a wine cooler would be if I were to consume my entire wine collection at one sitting and mistake the thermostat panel for a radio station setting.

“It’s a wine cooler,” I say. “But I’m sure there are some stereo systems out there that look quite similar.”

“You probably get more enjoyment out of the wine,” he says. He then flashes me a crooked smile and pushes my new found stereo system out the front door.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes. Christmas lunch.

I think the next time I see my children, I will celebrate Christmas with them, no matter what time of the year it is.

I mean to say, there is no rule that says that come July you can’t put up a Christmas tree (or put it up in December and keep it up all year round), or roast a giant turkey that everyone despises after three days of eating nothing else, or play Christmas carols on the cool stereo system.

My partner has just announced that our four-poster bed is too big to come down the stairs. The same bed that was carried up those same stairs earlier this year has obviously grown. I go to investigate.

Sure enough, no matter which way the men turn the enormous bed head it won’t fit down the staircase. What we need is a mathematician to come up with a solution to the problem, but since there are none to be had at short notice my partner decides to saw the top of the bed off.

I don’t exactly agree with this cavalier attitude, but Christmas is just around the corner and I don’t want to spoil the Yuletide spirit. As I listen to the sound of aggressive sawing coming from upstairs, I retreat to the lounge and start singing Christmas carols out loud.

After the third rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas I feel unusually calm.

I’ve made up my mind that my Christmas will be as merry as I decide it will be, and my children will be with me in spirit as I enjoy myself with my partner and his family.

Besides, how many people are lucky enough to be able celebrate Christmas twice a year?

Peace and goodwill to all readers.

*Check out Mary on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mary.schneider.writer. Reader response can be directed to star2@thestar.com.my.

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A moving Christmas tale


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