A Festive Tale.
While Lydia Ross waited at the bus stop, the rain soaking her through, she thought how bitterly ironic it was how much Christmas shopping could make you feel incredibly un-Christmassy. Her legs and feet were soaked and sore, and her arms ached from the weight of bags of presents and decorations. Lydia yearned to place her shopping bags on the ground, but she knew as soon as she did, that many of her items would be ruined by rainwater.
As the bus pulled up, the hordes of waiting passengers surged forward, jostling and shoving to ensure themselves a seat, the Christmas spirit washed away with the rain. Lydia paid for her ticket and sat on the closest seat available, hardly room enough for her, let alone her shopping, she squeezed in among the other irritated shoppers. No sooner had Lydia sat, than the bus had reached it's next stop, and on slowly shuffled an elderly lady, cane in one hand and shopping bags in the other. No other passenger even looked up from the window, so Lydia carefully stood to offer the lady her seat, who smiled gratefully and lowered herself to where Lydia had been. Lydia looked around for another seat, and tried to sit back down without knocking out any other passengers with her bags.
Lydia sat, watching the elderly lady attempting to chat with the passengers around her, who smiled awkwardly and lifted their newspapers higher over their faces. And she thought how lonely and difficult Christmas must be for the elderly and infirm, who have no family or friends to share the holiday with. And the immensely irritated feeling she had enjoyed from dragging her heavy shopping bags full of gifts for her loved ones around town, with her perfectly healthy legs, was replaced by a feeling of guilt and sadness. Their was no question about it, she had the Christmas blues!
Once she was home, Lydia made herself a cup of tea, and put her favourite Christmas film in the DVD player, while she watched it she put up her decorations and wrapped the gifts she had bought, and by the time she was done, Clarence had got his wings and Lydia was feeling a little better.
A few days later, the snow was two foot high and still falling heavily, and it was just four days until Christmas day. As a child, Lydia had prayed for a white Christmas, every year she put it on her list for Santa and dreamed of snow falling while she slept. But as an adult, as beautiful as the vast white canvas outside her window was, it was just an inconvenience. Lydia didn't drive and the trains had stopped running, if they didn't start again soon, she would be spending Christmas alone, unable to travel the three hours back home to her family in Scotland. Lydia's Christmas blues were back with a vengeance, in fact she was downright depressed.
Just thinking about spending Christmas without her family was enough to bring tears to her eyes, unable to watch her two young bothers jumping up and down with excitement when they saw that Santa had been, and giddily tearing open their presents! No Christmas dinner with her family, or bored games and singing carols while her Grandfather played the piano . Thinking about what she would miss made Lydia begin to cry.
A couple of friends had invited her to spend Christmas day with them, and she was grateful, but without her parents, grandfather and brothers it just wouldn't be the same. She knew she should be grateful for what she did have, her health and her home, a family to miss in the first place, but she felt as though she'd been cheated out of a Christmas, and Lydia was not from Whoville, she didn't plan on singing about it.
Salty tears still streaming down her cheeks, Lydia took herself to bed. She was still crying before she realised she was asleep. After a restless night full of confusing dreams, Lydia woke up late, and rushed to get to work on time, but the rushing didn't work and Lydia was nearly twenty minutes late. After getting yelled at by her boss, Lydia settled in for eight hours of filing and making cup after cup of coffee for people who earned more money than her.
On the way home from work, Lydia was so fed up she was almost ready to cry right there on the bus, she had never understood why suicide rates were always higher around Christmas, or why people would always say: 'The holidays are a hard time for people!' To her Christmas had always been the best time of year, family and friends together sharing love and peace. Singing carols and playing games, watching movies and decorating the tree...
But now she had a much clearer understanding of just how much Christmas could suck! Lydia walked in her front door, kicked off her shoes and tossed her bag over the banister. Opening her living room door Lydia turned on the light, and jumped back as a room full of people shouted 'surprise!'
"What the Hell?..." Lydia sputtered, then she noticed who the people were, her grandfather, her parents and her two young brothers. "Err I mean heck..."
"Hello love!" Lydia's father greeted her warmly, "We didn't want to spend Christmas without you, so we thought we'd drive down and have Christmas here instead! Hope you don't mind!"
Lydia laughed "Mind? Of course not! As long as I don't have to cook?" She glanced at her mother. "Don't worry, I brought everything with me, all ready to put in the oven!"
After the warm hugs and greetings, a thought crossed Lydia's mind. "How did you guys get in?"
"Your neighbour gave us your spare key." Lydia's grandfather answered.
"That's nice" Lydia thought about the little old lady who lived alone in the house next door, Mrs Hanson. Lydia didn't know her very well, but she always had a kind word and a smile on her face, and whenever Lydia had gone away for a few days, Mrs Hanson had always been there and happy to nip round, feed the cat and water the plants.
For the past few days Lydia had gotten a taste of what it would be like to spend Christmas alone, but now her family was here and that could be the end of the story, but for the other woman spending Christmas alone, just a few feet away.
"I'll be back in a minute..." Lydia mumbled as she stood and headed for the front door...