Novel writing’s on the back burner today. This bit of frivolity is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.
“You wouldn’t dare!” they said with one voice, their faces all with the same open-mouthed shock-horror expression.
“We always have Christmas here, at home. You can’t not do it here!”
I looked at him and he looked at me. We both shrugged. “Our home isn’t here anymore,” he reminded them. “We’re moving, remember. The boxes are filling up; the removal van is booked. We’re moving on.”
“But we’re your children. We’ve always had Christmas together.”
“Nobody said you couldn’t come with us,” I said.
Their turn to look at one another.
“To the countryside?” Jim asked.
“That farmhouse?” Emma asked.
“In the field?” Bea asked
“And sleep on the floor?” Sara asked.
We nodded. “You’re welcome to join us there, but we’re off. Dog and the cats are coming too, and the cake and the turkey-that-isn’t-a-turkey-just-a-big-chicken.”
“We’d have to go on the train,” Jim said.
“And walk from the station,” Emma said.
“In the fog,” Bea said.
“It’s bloody miles!” Sara said.
“Well you’d hardly all fit in the car with Dog, the cat carriers and all the food, would you?” I said, in what I thought was a reasonable voice.
A sullen silence set in once the penny dropped. Feet shuffled, theatrical sighs were heaved.
“Anyone would think you didn’t want to spend Christmas with us,” Jim said, his lower lip jutting in what looked dangerously like petulance. I looked at husband and he looked at me.
“You have your own places now,” he said. “You must have since you hardly ever sleep here. You certainly have your own friends and your own entertainments. For years you’ve only ever popped in to eat, open your presents, and piss off to a party somewhere more interesting.”
“This year,” I said, “if you want us to spend Christmas altogether, you’ll be around for the spud-peeling part, the wood-chopping part, the washing up part and the house-cleaning part.”
I looked round at the faces that were now less sullen, brighter, as ideas began to click click round in their heads.
“Imogen is having a party on Christmas night, and her parents will be away,” Bea said gazing into the middle distance.
“Pete’s band is playing at ‘The Dog and Gun’. Should be fun. The bar will be open all night,” Jim said thoughtfully.
“Can I come?” Emma asked. “I like Pete.”
“Can I bring Justin?” Sara asked.
“How about if we all go and then move onto Imogen’s party afterwards?”
“Where’ll we all crash?”
“Garden. There’s tents. We’ll need sleeping bags that’s all.”
“Excellent,” Emma said. “You sure you two will be all right out in the woods on your own?”
I turned to him and he turned to me and we smiled at one another. Was there any need to answer that one?