In our 27 years of marriage, my husband and I had never spent more than a week away from each other. Our love was different, it grew as the years went by. He became more and more attractive to me, and I fell more in love with him as the years went by.
That was until he was sent to work in the UK on a short-term project that lasted three months. My husband was going to make a lot of money but somehow I still wasn’t happy. I can’t say it was easy, not at all. I knew that I would be lonely and I knew that I would miss him terribly. the house was extremely quiet. The house suddenly became colder. I wondered why we had spent so much money building this huge house which was now empty. Our three children were all abroad and one of them had already blessed us with a grandchild.
For the first month, I spoke to my husband every other day. We would spare 30 minutes before my bedtime when he would tell me his funny stories. For those 30 minutes, I felt like we were teenagers. Then, as time passed by, that tradition slowly faded away and was reduced to a text checking on one another.
“Hey darling, I’m busy today. But I’m thinking about you and I can’t wait to see you!” he texted.
That small gesture would set me off blushing for the next few hours as I reminisced on the good times, then the sadness would start to creep in again.
Christmas was coming soon and I was worried sick that we wouldn’t be together. You see, we had Christmas traditions. We put up the Christmas tree together every year on December 1st, and then on the actual Christmas day, we would have a barbeque and drink some Coca-Cola. It was the best of times. More often than not it was just the two of us, and I would definitely not have it any other way.
It was December 22nd when I got that text that my husband would not be coming home for Christmas. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. As we finished the call, I was terribly sad. I had never felt so lonely in my life.
You see, Christmas meant the most to us. We had picked up traditions from my parents. For the most part, the traditions centred around family, food, and of course, Coke. My parents were strong believers that Coke is what brought them together when they first met – How I Met Your Mother. Now, my husband and I had carried the tradition to our own marriage. After my parents passed on, we vowed to carry on with it for Christmas every year.
That’s why it was especially heartbreaking when my husband broke the bad news to me.
“My contract has been extended for another 6 months. When I come back, we will finally be able to afford our dream home, darling,” he said.
“I don’t want our dream home anymore. What’s the point? This house is so cold and lonely. I have no one to talk to and laugh with and cook for. I just want you here. That’s all I want,” I said.
I could feel the sadness in his voice. He was the most genuine person, and I knew he was had no other choice.
I turned on the TV, put on our favourite Christmas movie – Home Alone. I took out the Coke from the fridge and mixed it with ice cream, our favourite dessert. But it just didn’t taste the same. There was something, or rather, someone, missing.
I miserably picked up my phone and called my best friend hoping that she would have Christmas plans for me.
“Hey, sis. What will you be doing for Christmas? It seems Hansel isn’t coming back this year.”
“Hi honey, you know we always do the same thing for Christmas. We’re travelling upcountry,” she said, “You’re invited, of course. The children miss you a lot.”
I knew that was their Christmas tradition, but somehow I had managed to convince myself that this year was going to be different. I didn’t want to be upcountry for Christmas, I just wanted to be with the love of my life.
When I woke up the next morning, I had kind of figured out what I wanted to do. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but at least I would make money in my misery.
I walked up to my boss, a stout man who I had worked with from the day I landed the job. He always said that I wasn’t committed to the job, and maybe this would prove him otherwise.
“I would like to work on Christmas day,” I said.
“Oh, darling. You have finally started to like your job, over a decade later. I can’t wait to spend Christmas working towards the organization’s mission. Sounds perfect, right?” he asked and winked.
I felt nauseated. Had I made the wrong decision? As I closed the door behind me, I stood there second-guessing myself. Why did I allow him to treat me that way in the first place? I was good at my job and yet I always felt the need to go over and beyond to prove myself to him. I instantly knew that I wouldn’t in fact be spending my Christmas working. A few days later I sent him an email to tell him I would not be able to work on Christmas day,
Christmas was finally here. My favourite tradition had been turned into a dreadful day. The weather was gloomy, and I planned on staying in bed all day. It wasn’t that I didn’t have options of places to be, I just wasn’t interested in any other way of spending Christmas. I didn’t even want to remind myself that it was Christmas, so the TV was going to stay off all day. My phone would remain in my bedroom as I indulged in my favourite book.
That evening, I heard the house phone ringing, and I wondered who it could be. I strolled down the staircase to pick it up.
“Hi, my name is Martin. Your husband has sent you a package and you will need to come and get it from Winning House Hotel in the next two hours,” he said.
I would have doubted the call, but it was coming from an office line. I looked it up on the internet and the numbers did add up, literally.
It was late, and I had no intention of looking good. I slipped in a pair of pants and a jacket my daughter bought me and drove off.
When I got to the hotel I was directed to a garden, and there he was. My lovely husband, dressed in a suit, looking good as always.
He was standing beside a truck and there were Christmas Carols playing in the background. It was all so beautiful. Like the emotional person I am, I instantly started to cry. I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was happiness that could not be explained in words.
He walked towards me with two bottles of Coke and gave me a big hug.
“Cheers!” He said.
This was my dream come true. We had always talked about our perfect Christmas, and I couldn’t have imagined it would be this good. There were lots of fairy lights, exactly as I liked it. We had great food, a candle-lit dinner. There was coke, our favourite drink, and best of all, there was my husband.
“I decided to come home because I know how much Christmas means to you, to us. We can spend the next few days together before I finally go back in the new year,” he said.
I couldn’t help but blush. This was the happiest day of my life. It was truly the most wonderful time of the year.
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