It’s the one day when it is worth getting up early to go to Oxford Street. Because Central London will be deserted. You’ll stand in the middle of the Oxford and Regent Street crossing and if you’ve not been good, you may have to step aside for the odd taxi.
It isn’t, however, as empty as it used to be. Has it become a thing to post a selfie of oneself on London’s most congested road totally empty? Maybe it’s a fad, maybe you won’t have to get up before sunrise in the future anymore.
The Christmas wish list keeps growing. You are still waiting for an item you might be able to afford to make an appearance.
In the meantime, you check the charity shops several times a day. You find a few acceptable branded clothes in excellent nick; they cost more than you should spend, but it is Christmas. Some of them are even on the list. But you don’t have high hopes for Star Wars toys or the electronics which make up the bulk of the list.
It’ll be the usual for Christmas Day – chicken with a side order of massive disappointment.
I know I’ve no right to make demands. I acted like a right selfish cow. I thought, though, I wanted to be free again.
But I’ve been sat here for hours, writing my wish list. All I’ve to show for myself is a page filled with your name.
You know how they say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? Yeah, that. Should have seen it coming, right? Should have known that my heart didn’t like the decision to leave you. My head has conceded defeat. They both want you back. I want you back.
She’s put on her warm coat out of habit. There’s no need, she’ll be stewing in the shops. Drizzly, though. She opens her red umbrella.
Maybe she shouldn’t bother. She sends the parcels tracked, she knows they arrive. Do the clothes fit, she wonders. Do the children like their books and toys? The twins will be teenagers soon, then she’ll really struggle for presents.
It’s not that she demands a thank you. It’d be nice to hear she spends money on the right things. Maybe a card, with a photo.
Because she doesn’t know what her grandchildren look like anymore.
’Tis the season to be grateful for supermarket deliveries. She’s not going anywhere unless she has to. The weather outside is frightful; the incessant festive music, despite her attempts to ignore it, will worm itself into her head. And torture her. Music is, like smell, hardwired to memories of excitement that will give her hope despite herself. Happy golden days of yore, retroactively turned into a Technicolor dream. Because if she’s honest, it never was a happy time. Isn’t it why she’s made the decision to grinch it? Low expectations, no disappointment.