A small surprise
It was mid-night. I opened the front door to put out the milk bottle just as the radio sounded the first ‘bong’- even though I knew the milkman would not be calling in the morning. Old habits die hard.
“Happy Christmas,” I said to no-one, as no-one was there. Mavis would’ve teased me.
“No milk man Bob, on Christmas Day.” She would have reminded me as well, about the boxes. I could almost hear her voice,
“Have you done the boxes, Bob? Postman, milkman and bin men. A little tip and a bag of gold coins for the paperboy?”
None of them would have a Christmas box from me this year. I didn’t remember in time. But maybe I could get myself together enough for New Year? Maybe.
A frost glistened on the drive way. The car window had a fine layer over it. I looked up to see a bright halo around the moon. The rest of the sky was clear – tiny specks of lights twinkling in inky blackness and suddenly my heart felt too big in my chest, banging and banging away. So lonely. My first Christmas alone. Without Mavis, that is. It’s not that I wasn’t invited.
“Come and stay the night, Dad, and then you can wake up on Christmas morning at our place.” But I just didn’t feel like it. I’d be such a wet blanket. Tears at tea time on Christmas Eve wouldn’t be much fun for the little fella, Tom. Three years old and the spit of his Dad.
“I’ll come over in time for coffee, David, on Christmas morning,” I said, “about 11 if that’s OK?”
“Sure, Dad. Jenny sends her love.”
“Shall I bring anything?”
“Just yourself, Dad. Just yourself.”
I could hear the sadness in his voice and knew he was missing his Mum as much as I was. And the fact that she’d usually bring the Christmas pudding all tied up in muslin and a batch of homemade mince pies, and well thought out presents, beautifully wrapped.
I was just about to shut the front door when I heard something… a tiny mewling. Couldn’t see where it was coming from though, so I checked I had the front door key in my pocket and went out to investigate. The sound was intermittent and difficult to trace, but eventually I heard it was coming from the wheelie bin in an exhausted plaintive mew. I lifted the lid and as I did so the security light came on and I could see a shoe box tied up with string. I lifted it out and there was a scrabbling sound…..
this was the start of the story for the competition, too late, and unfinished, posted only to see who first knows which carol inspired it….