Tavinder Kaur New tells a touching tale of hope and love in this Christmas short story of a couple getting a special Christmas gift.
Frost was glistening like shining jewels worth a million pounds. The wind whistled now and then, like a naughty child. Figures of people hustled around to gather last minute Christmas presents. Their faces glowed with the joy of sunshine as Christmas air grew near. Kids, unable to sleep, counted the hours and paced inside their houses. Chestnuts roasted on open fires. Turkeys defrosted. Stockings had been laid out in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.
Christina was inside near the warmth of a fire which glowed red and rose like a phoenix rising from the ashes as it burned and warmed the chill. She awaited Peter’s call. When the phone rang like the jingle of bells, her heart beat faster.
“Hello, I miss you!” His words expressed feelings, she felt too.
“And I miss you. Been waiting for your call all day. Are you going to be back for Christmas?” she asked.
“I hope so…. Work has been crazy.” He sounded tired.
“Been missing you, and I love you.” Her voice cracked as she put down the telephone.
The song All I Want For Christmas Is You played on the television set, and Christina’s thoughts turned to her husband Peter. He had been working in America for nearly six months. His company had asked him to go abroad to work a deal, but Christina hadn’t wanted him to go.
She recalled when he had left. “You’ll be away for months,” she had said angrily. “Why did you say you’d go?”
“My boss feels I’m the best person for the work, because I know America so well.”
“I know you lived there for years before we met, but couldn’t they choose someone else?”
Her question had annoyed him. They had only been married for a year when he’d been asked to go abroad.
“I’m sorry pumpkin but….”
Christina hadn’t listened. Instead she had cut him off, stormed upstairs, slammed the door shut and cried. Her tears had fallen to the bed like an avalanche of confetti. The next day he left early in the morning after kissing her on the forehead. Later that day she’d felt remorse for having been so angry.
Now the Christmas tree in the corner of the front room was decorated with baubles, tinsel and a star on the top that shone brightly and spread its glow. The presents under the tree were wrapped with colored paper and bows. Peter’s present had been awaiting him, a surprise she hadn’t told him about over the telephone.
After he’d left for his return to America, Christina had felt giddy and nauseous. The pregnancy test showing a positive result lay on the toilet seat. The crumpled paper with the test result piece on the floor. Christina sat on the edge of the tub, staring at the result, unable to move. She could not contain the joy she’d felt when she had learned, but she had hid the news from Peter. He still didn’t know.
The present she’d brought him and placed under the tree was a mug saying ‘Best Dad in the world.’ Her belly was bulging like a balloon and she waddled around the house like a mother duck. She had wanted to tell him, but the words wouldn’t come, so she had just sighed over the telephone. She hadn’t wanted to put the job he had just settled into in jeopardy, and he lacked the nerve to say ‘no’ to his boss.
In the evening she had wished upon the star on the tree that he might come through the door as she sat on the sofa or dozed in her rocking chair, eyes heavy as she slept and dreamed.
She drifted off. “Mum, let me open my presents!” she demanded.
“It’s not Christmas Day yet; you have to wait, Andrea.”
“But Mum…. Dad can I open one present?” she asked.
“Andrea… come on go to sleep. Christmas day will be here soon.”
“Peter, I can’t believe I’ve gotten so big. Where has all the time gone?” She looked down at her bulging belly.
The door rattled as Christina woke from her strange, disjointed dream. She got up from the sofa and walked slowly towards the door.
It was Christmas Day. She opened the door and saw snow falling from the heavens, drops of joy fluttering about Peter’s face as he stood with suitcase in hand.
“Merry Christmas hun….” he beamed looking into her eyes. His eyes shone of love and excitement. Christina could not speak as she embraced him at the door pressing against him, surrounding the lump between them with love.
“I wished and dreamed you’d come home, I was so silly for being angry with you.”
“I should not have left you for the job, you are important to me. Hang on a minute; have you put on weight or something?” he asked looking at her belly.
She stared into his eyes and put his hand on her belly. He felt a kick. “Oh my God! You should have told me…. I’m so happy!”
They embraced as snow fell on their faces, and warm tears of joy mingled with the cold. Christina’s Christmas wish had come true.
Tavinder Kaur New is primarily a short story writer, who lives in Dagenham Essex. One of her short stories ‘ If I had Known’ has been published in City Lit Adult Education Centre in London in their Between the Lines Magazine in 2010. Tavinder has been also chosen to read her poem ‘I Want’ in the Barking and Dagenham Folk Festival in 2015. She has attended many writing courses in City Lit Adult Centre and currently in Barking and Dagenham Adult College. She has a BA honours in English and Cultural Studies and also a Level 3 diploma in Counselling Studies. In addition she has a blog where all of her collection of poems and short stories have been published: http://tavindernew.blogspot.co.uk/.