A CHRISTMAS WISH
I grew up in Greater London near Twickenham Rugby Ground. Single mum of two children, I retrained as a teacher. After 22 years with very small children I took early retirement and travelled extensively
I enrolled in a creative writing course five or six years ago and have enjoyed exploring my imagination ever since.
A CHRISTMAS WISH
Holly picked up the letters from the doormat.
"More Christmas cards," she muttered to herself. "Bound to be from people I've forgotten."
She flung the envelopes on the hall table and glared at the Christmas tree glittering away in the corner of the sitting room. Noel must have switched the lights on as he left to drop the children off at school on his way to work. The fairy on the topmost branch gazed benignly down at her.
"It's alright for you! You don't have to shop, wrap presents, and cook enough food to feed an army."
Holly resisted the temptation to knock the tree sideways and went into the kitchen. She cleared away the remains of her family's breakfast and consulted the to-do list pinned to the fridge door. No use putting it off she thought to herself. She sighed wearily and began to assemble the ingredients for mince pies and Christmas cake.
By the time Noel brought the boys home from school, there was a tray of mince pies cooling on the table and the cake was baking slowly in the oven.
"Something smells good! You have been busy today." Noel remarked as he scooped up the day's post from the hall table. "Put your feet up, and I'll order pizza. You'll like that won't you boys?"
Gaby and Caspar squealed with delight.
"Okay, calm down. Show mum what you made at school."
The boys dragged Holly into the sitting room and regaled her with the details of their day. The Christmas tree twinkled away merrily in the corner and the fairy gazed down from its topmost branch. Soothed by the warmth of her family's love, pizza margharita, and a large glass of wine, Holly's mood lightened. By the time the boys had been bathed and put to bed, she was almost reconciled to the joys of the season..
It all changed the next morning when they awoke to a silent world covered with a blanket of snow. The boys were almost too excited to eat and Noel was no better. They all hurried out to enjoy the novelty of making snowmen and snowballs before work and school demanded their attendance. With a sigh of relief, Holly shut the front door behind them. She picked up the letters from the doormat, flung them on the hall table and glared at the Christmas tree fairy.
"Care to swap jobs?" she asked. A half remembered song that her grandmother used to sing floated into her mind.
"Every little girl would like to be the fairy on the Christmas tree," she sang softly to herself.
Was that a reflection of the tree's twinkling lights that flashed from the fairy's eyes? Holly felt a tingling sensation start from her fingers and toes to spread throughout her body. Her head swam. Dizzyly she closed her eyes. When she opened them, her whole perspective had changed. She looked down at the green branches below her. Light reflected off the shining baubles that decorated them. her eyes travelled over the familiar furniture that looked so different from up here.
Up here? How did she get up here?
"Enjoy your day," a voice said from the doorway.
Holly watched her body disappear into the rest of the house. She was horrified. Stuck up here, how was she going to get everything done? There were presents to wrap, the cake to decorate, food to order, lists to write. The day dragged on interminably. Boredom wrapped her in a black cloud of misery. The light outside began to fade with the approach of twilight. Her figure appeared in the doorway.
"How's your day been? I've had a wonderful time. Beats sitting on top of a prickly pine branch hands down. Your family will be home soon, and somehow I don't fancy dealing with them. So I suppose we'd better return to the status quo, hadn't we?"
Before she could reply, Holly felt the tingling and dizziness she had experienced before. She staggered slightly as she settled back into her own body. She took a deep breath.
"Thank you." she said, and fled into the kitchen.
The sight that met her eyes amazed her. A beautifully decorated Christmas cake sat in the middle of the table. Empty shopping bags hung on the chairs. Her to-do l list for the day had all items ticked off. Piles of presents all imaginatively wrapped and labelled, filled the dining room. Tears filled her eyes. She rushed back to the Christmas tree and looked up at the fairy on its topmost branch.
"You've done such a wonderful job for me, what can I do to thank you?"
The fairy was silent, unmoving, her face blank.
Holly smiled. "I know!" she said.
She raced upstairs and hunted through her wardrobe. Back in the sitting room, she fetched the steps and placed them in front of the tree. Carefully she lifted the fairy off the topmost branch. She hung the heart shaped lavender bag there before she replaced the fairy.
"I think you'll find that much more comfortable now," she said.
Was it her imagination that painted a slight smile on the fairy's face? Was it just the reflection of the twinkling Christmas tree lights, or did the fairy really wink her eye?