Top Of The Tree

Shutterstock / legenda ©

There’s one Christmas veteran who has an entirely different view of things…

I love this time of year with all the baubles, tinsel and gifts. Ooh, it gives me such a tingle.

But I have to be honest and say I’m not keen on the tree this year. It’s too big for me, too high. I keep going a little dizzy when I look down to the living room, but I’ll get used to it yet.

Oh, here comes Sally – watch out. She’s switching on the fairy lights again. One of the lights pokes right up my dress and doesn’t half make me itch.

I’ve lived with Sally for ten trees.

I moved with her from university halls back to her mum and dad’s place and into a shared flat with friends. Now she lives in her own house.

This is the first time I’ve been on the tree in her house and I like the look of the living-room from up here.

It’s bigger than anywhere else she’s ever lived, hence this bigger, taller tree. It’ll bring on my vertigo if I’m not careful.

Hang on a minute – who’s that with Sally?

He’s a big, strapping lad and no mistake. She’s smiling at him, so he must make her happy.

Oh no, he’s switched the fairy lights over from static to flashing. Doesn’t he know it’ll bring on my migraine?

Sally’s turned towards him on the sofa, she’s taken the remote control from his hand and switched the lights back to static. Thank heavens for that.

She’s also turned off the TV and reached to hold his hands.

She’s calling him Pete, and she’s telling him that she needs to talk.

Well, excuse me for being nosy, but I’m going to listen in.

Oh, dear. It’s not good news. Sally wants Pete to go to her mum and dad’s for Christmas dinner. And Pete wants Sally to go to his parents for the day.

Well, even I know you can only have one dinner on Christmas Day. If I was a betting sort of girl, I’d lay my money on Sally. I’ve known her long enough and she’s a tough cookie who almost always gets her way.

But Pete is shaking his head. He says he always goes to his parents at Christmas. He says no one cooks a Christmas dinner as well as his mum.

I might be wrong but by the look on Sally’s face, I can’t say that she agrees.

Well, they’re arguing now. Sally wants one thing and Pete wants another.

It’s their first Christmas together, Sally reminds him. If they can’t go to her parents, then couldn’t they have dinner together in their new house?

Pete pulls a face. He wants to go home for his mum’s roast parsnips and his dad’s home-grown sprouts. And Sally wants to go home because she’s an only child and knows how much her mum and dad want her at home for Christmas dinner.

They argue longer, harder, then Sally storms off to bed. Pete stares at nothing for a while then turns off the fairy lights on the tree.

I give them an hour in their bed before I do what I have to do. I jump.

The motion sensor in the living room picks up the movement and triggers the burglar alarm, as I hoped.

Pete comes down first, bleary-eyed, pulling his dressing gown around him.

Sally follows, ready to attack with a slipper in her hand, just in case there’s a burglar.

Pete turns off the alarm and they both walk into the living room. They find me on the floor, relieved that the alarm is nothing more serious than a fallen fairy from the tree.

Pete picks me up and plonks me back on the top branch.

They’re awake now, the pair of them. They sit on the sofa together and Sally switches on the fairy lights, making the tree glow prettily in the dark.

They’re tired, but they hold hands and they talk.

“Lunch at my folks’ place, tea at yours?” Sally suggests.

Pete agrees and they cuddle up close.

I knew I could get them talking again.

I could almost feel quite smug, if only that pesky light up my dress didn’t half make my leg itch. And I swear my vertigo is starting again.

Our series of short festive fiction from the My Weekly archives continues on Mondays and Thursdays. Look out for the next one.
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