It had come again, another Christmas. The Christmas lights on the streets, the carols resounding everywhere, the spirit of gaiety in the air, the hike in prices—the hike in prices especially got to her. Like wasn’t Christmas supposed to be a time of giving, and shouldn’t sellers be giving out to their customers at this time by a drop in their prices?
That did happen in other countries, didn’t it?
Lena sighed. She didn’t know. She hadn’t been outside of this country. She’d barely been outside of this state, except to travel home for Christmas since her parents moved back after their retirement.
She wasn’t going this year though. She would have to find the nerve to tell them that. Tomorrow. She would tell them tomorrow, not today. Today, she felt too drained. The Christmas spirit, or the lack of it, hung heavy.
If only she could close her eyes and make this season go away.
But she couldn’t.
She couldn’t wish it away. She could only…
Lena blinked and stared out her passenger side window. She might not be able to wish Christmas away but she could wish for something. She could make a wish, instead of a wishing-away.
And what would she wish for?
That he would come back. That he would give her another chance.
Impossible wishes. She blinked and then frowned. If wishes weren’t impossible things we couldn’t make happen ourselves, then what were they?
She wanted him to come back. She wanted him to forgive her. She wanted him to give her another chance. She wanted him to meet Asher.
But maybe most of that were too impossible. Best to just wish for him to come back and for him to meet Asher. That was the most important factor, that he would know Asher and Asher would know him.
It would bring her peace, if not contentment. It would free her from the burden her heart carried and maybe bring her some real joy, especially at Christmas.
If only he could come back. If only he could meet Asher.
Lena closed her eyes, crossed her fingers and made the wish in her heart.
“We are here, madam.”
She opened her eyes. “Ah, yes, thank you, Jonah.”
She lifted her handbag and the grocery bag and opened the car door. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Jonah. Since Oga won’t be in, I’ll have to be in the office earlier than usual, so pick me up six a.m. not six-thirty, okay.”
She went through the gates and knocked on her front door.
It was opened by Felicia.
“Welcome, Aunty.” She took the grocery bag from her.
“Thank you, Felicia.” Lena gave an absent smile to her cousin. “Where’s Asher?”
“He’s in his room. He’s been there since after lunch.”
Lena sighed. He probably was in a sulky mood. He’s been sulking on and off since she told him three days ago that they were likely not going home for the Christmas festivities. He always loved the Christmas back home celebrations.
“I’ll check on him after I undress. Please, get me a glass of juice after you unload the grocery bag, my throat’s parched.”
She considered stopping by his room as she strolled past, but decided against it. She desperately needed to get out of her work clothes and she needed that glass of juice to nudge her into relaxation mode.
It was nearly twenty-five minutes later when she walked into his bedroom. She’d considered asking Felicia to tell him she wanted to see him in her room. But she’d squashed the idea. She didn’t want this to be about a who’s superior and who’s right fight. She didn’t want a fight, period. It would ruin Christmas.
Since he was sitting up on his bed with his face buried in his folded up knees, Lena called him as she approached, worried that he might be crying. Asher never cried much.
He raised his head with a visible jolt. “Mum, you are back. I didn’t know. I… good evening, mum.”
“Good evening, Asher.” Lena carefully studied his expression. It was more unhappy than sulky. “I came back nearly thirty minutes ago. Didn’t you hear my knock on the front door or my voice while I was talking with Felicia?”
“No, I didn’t hear anything. I was…” He broke off, paused. Then said in rapid speech. “I’m sorry I didn’t hear you, mum. Welcome.”
“Thank you.” Lena lowered on to the bed. “Felicia said you’ve been in your room since after lunch. You didn’t come out to watch any of your cartoons?”
“No, mum, I didn’t want to watch cartoons today.”
“Why is that?” Lena tilted up his head by the chin. “Something wrong?”
“No.” He started to shake his head and then he stopped. “I don’t know. I feel somehow.”
“How somehow? Is it because I said we won’t be going to spend Christmas with granddad and grandma this year?”
“No.” He gave his head a forceful shake. “No, mum, it’s not because of that. I want to go but you said we can’t go this Christmas, so I’m cool. It’s… I think it’s the Christmas Party in school. Parents are supposed to come.”
“I know that and I will come. I know I missed last year’s…”
“And the year before last year.”
“Okay, I’ve missed it twice now.” Lena tried not to roll her eyes. He was too damn smart. “You had to go with Aunty Sarah on both occasions but this year, you won’t have to. I will be there. I’ve already taken excuse from my boss for that day. So, it’s a certainty, you and me will be partying together in your school. You better brush me up on the current dance steps, or I’ll go old school with you.”
“You always dance old school even after I teach you.” Asher rolled his eyes. Then he exhaled and lifted his shoulders. “It’s just that David said he’s coming with his dad. Stevie said his daddy is the one coming with him. Many of the boys are coming with their dads. I… I wish I can come with mine too. Just this once.”
“I know.” Asher quietly cut in. “He’s passed on and gone to heaven, so he can’t ever be here for me. But it’s just that Bennie’s dad is not really his dad and he’s coming with him not his mum, and they both really get along.”
“I’m just thinking, mum, maybe if you married again, I would have another dad and he and I can do stuffs together like go to the school’s Christmas Party.”
“I… yes, you will, if I married again.” Lena took his hand. “But that’s not the case now, so you will make do with your old-school-dancing mum. Okay?”
His shoulders drooped, so Lena drew him in for a hug.
“It will be fine, Asher. I promise.”
“Okay.” She pushed back, lifted off the bed. “You want to come out so we can help Felicia finish up on dinner?”
“Okay, mum.” He nodded, slipped down the bed. “Let’s go.”
After dinner and a short animation, they all went to bed. But Lena couldn’t sleep. He was tilting more and more towards requiring a man in his life. It was only natural but she couldn’t provide him with what he needed. Not yet. Not if some miracle didn’t happen and make everything all right.
Dear God, how was she ever going to tell him that it wasn’t his dad that passed on and went to heaven? How was she going to tell him that his dad still lived but he just couldn’t be here for him because he didn’t know about him?
He didn’t know about him because she hadn’t told him about him.
Maybe she shouldn’t be wishing for Joshua to come back. Maybe she should be going to him and telling him about his son.
But it was too late, wasn’t it? He was married and with children of his own.
But his wife has passed on too. Wasn’t that God opening a window for her where she’d before closed the door?
A Christmas miracle that was what she needed.
Lena exhaled and turned on her side. She would pray and keep her fingers crossed. Something’s got to happen sooner or later. God’s a merciful God.
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Hiya, people, let us not forget that Esther Ugbaja, Writer of Ricochet of Cataclysm will be publishing her first two books: The Last Sacrifice and Substance In Her Corpse on Christmas Day… yay! Let’s get ourselves ready to support her and read her stories.