Thursday, 20 December 2012


Santa's little helper
Is it disheartening if you know exactly how Christmas will go or is it comforting? My mind has raced ahead in the usual build-up to the 25th. Images presented in my head like the reel of a movie. In this cosy cinema, I view each future scene set before me:
It's late morning on Christmas Eve and I'm gathering my stuff together, throwing clothes and cosmetics in a bag, food and presents in another. I observe my future self scanning the flat, what else? The pause as I think, will I need my hot water bottle? Probably not, but making a grab for it anyway. Have I got enough jumpers and vests? I'm thinking it won't hurt to fling a couple more in. I'm packing as if I'm planning a trek to the North Pole, whereas if I was to walk, Mum and Dad's is only 45 minutes away. This future me zips up the bags and skirts the flat turning appliances off and unplugging them. The present me laughs as the intercom buzzes and I watch myself jump suddenly. Its loud ring catching me out every time. The video screen flashes into life and shows my Dad standing there, the blue and silver two-seater Smart in the background.
Hi Dad! I'm just putting my shoes on.” Is that voice really mine? I wonder what it sounds like crackling out of the outside speaker.
Do you need any help?” Dad offers.
No, I'll manage thanks.”
This other me struggles into her coat and completes the final checks. She scoops the bags uneasily up and fumbling with keys pulls the front door to and locks it. She staggers under her load from the third floor to the ground. With everything piled into the car, myself included, the short drive home commences.
The image fades to another on Christmas Day...
The family is gathered ceremoniously in the lounge. Monty, or Taz as he's known when he's excited, is the first to open his presents. My parents and I watching on as he rips the wrapping off with his teeth. The uncovered toy lets out a volley of squeaks, but he's mesmerised by the crumpled up ball of paper. As we begin to open our gifts, he sniffs and paws at the three of us as if to say, “Give me that paper!” Bored of this, he tries another diversion: “Mum, Dad, look at me! Look at me! Don't I look cute with my boot?!” Cantering up and down the carpet, shaking the boot, its laces trailing. When this fails to work, he positions himself in front of Dad and grumbles, “Dad, play football with me!” The tip of his nose lightly kissing a paper ball, backside up in the air and tail wagging. He gives me a smirk as if to say, “Look how I do downward dog like you, except I'm better!” 
In the next scene, there's yelps and bouncing with the occasional nipping, “Feed me!” He doesn't let up until Mum gets up and obeys him. They disappear in the direction of the kitchen. From my seat, I observe Monty waddle back, belly swollen beneath him. With a self-satisfied look, he flops with a resounding thump on the carpet. Sated, the red devil snores in his sleep, and calmness descends once again in the household...
These scenes from Christmas play on a loop, except in each, I'm a year and eight days older.