For some, the holiday season is the busiest time of year.
Mull It Over
By Jeanette Stampone
I plodded up the path. My feet were heavy, my body ached and I was utterly exhausted. I had been working overtime for months but my last shift was especially gruelling. The heady smell of mulled wine drifted out of the door. I walked into the kitchen to see Jessica ripping tiny leaves off a Brussels sprout. “You’re late,” she growled. “And Merry Christmas to you too,” I replied.
Jessica continued to butcher the sprout. “I wouldn’t bother,” I offered. “No-one really likes Brussels sprouts.” With that, Jessica looked up with a scowl across her face. “You do it then!” she screamed. I watched in horror as the small green missile hurtled out of her hand towards me, just missing my head by an inch. “I’m sick of being a FIFO wife!” she yelled, before downing a glass of mulled wine in one gulp. “Good luck with dinner” she grumbled. “They’ll be here soon so you best get cracking.” She poured herself another glass of wine, marched into the lounge and turned on the TV. The Snowman was on. She slumped onto the sofa and ripped open a box of chocolates.
I stood there for a few seconds, slightly dazed and bewildered. I glanced around the kitchen. There were piles of half peeled vegetables everywhere. I opened the oven and the smell of turkey wafted out. Good. At least that’s under control. I poured myself a glass of mulled wine and took a sip. The delicious, warm liquid dribbled down my throat. The sweet spices and zesty orange flavours hit my tastebuds and I suddenly felt more relaxed. I took a deep breath and whacked on some Christmassy music. “Last Christmas I gave you my heart,” another sip of wine, “but the very next day, you gave it away…” Singing beautifully to myself, I gathered all the vegetables, whether peeled or not and threw them in a roasting tin.
I could hear voices and laughter coming from outside and peeped out of the window. Oh crap. They’re early. I felt the panic rise up inside my chest and quickly downed my glass. Before I could do anything else, I heard a wailing sound coming from the lounge. I rushed in to find Jessica sobbing, surrounded by chocolate wrappers and holding an empty wine glass. “He melted!” she cried. Tears streamed down her face. I held her in my arms. Snot and tears smeared across my clothes as she buried her face in my chest. “I’m shorry,’ she said. “You work sho hard for the children. I ruv you sho much.”
Jessica’s sobs soon turned to a gentle snore. I felt my own body relax as I held her. I could hear the door open and the sound of giggles filled the house. I think I could hear them calling out for us, but I was so incredibly sleepy…
I didn’t notice them come in and gently place a blanket over us. “Sleep well Mr and Mrs Claus,” the elves chuckled.