They Said There'll be Snow at Christmas

Tom used to love Christmas but the thought of a Christmas without his loved ones has made him bitter to everything about the season.


3. December 2 years ago

"They sold me a dream of Christmas 
They sold me a silent night 
And they told me a fairy story 
'till I believed in the Israelite" 

Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas 

December (Two years Previously) 


The first weekend of December, a time when the seasonal excesses really kicked in. I stood at the window, fizzing with excitement at the thought of spending a weekend with Cathy shopping. It was our first real Christmas together, having met a year ago. I'd been in a bad way after Megan and I drifted apart and my dad had died. I didn't blame Megan, I neglected her and she'd drifted away.  


Cathy had come into my life like a winter storm, appearing full of enchantment and spice. She'd been like a breath of fresh air when we'd bumped into each other at a mutual friend’s house. At first I was amazed that she liked me, she seemed far better than anything I deserved as a person. I used to pinch myself every night that this was happening to me. I’d often toyed with the fact that actually she wasn’t really into me, but was somehow playing a game. Insecurities were always not far below the surface and I woke most mornings convinced that she would leave me. As Christmas got nearer the feeling intensified to the point where I was scared that she would leave me. Christmas is a time I feel especially vulnerable, the excitement mixing with the jitters. 


Cathy walked up the road, her long light brown hair bobbing as she walked purposefully towards the house. She smiled and waved at me melting my heart yet again. Every time I saw her I tingled like it was the first time I’d seen her. The mood in my body leapt a hundred-fold. 


“Hi, how are you?” I asked kissing her.  

“I’m fine” she said smiling 

“Not brought your bag?” I asked. She was staying the weekend so I expected her to arrive with her overnight things. 

Erm…. I’m going out with Maddie tonight. Sorry Tom, she wants to talk, you know what she’s like”  

Lately Cathy was spending more time with Maddie. At first it was because she'd split up with her boyfriend but the last few weeks they spent more and more time together. I didn't mind in the beginning but was slowly beginning to resent Maddie. 

"Ok," I said disappointedly. 


We set off in the car to the local farm to pick a tree. With the Christmas music playing in the car I soon forgot my disappointment. Cathy did that to me, insulated me from whatever was troubling me. We saw the tree we liked and went to get a saw from the centre to cut it down. It was hilarious watching Cathy try to saw the tree and there were one or two unexpected expletives that escaped her lips. 


We dropped the tree at home and headed for a town a few miles away. We sang along to all those songs we knew. Duetting to Fairytale of New York, putting on the accents was hilarious. Walking around this small market town hand in hand felt wonderful. I thought of Dad and how he'd like to have met Cathy. She made me laugh in a way I'd forgotten to. Life was really wonderful. 


We drank mulled cider from a stall as we walked around. I spied a silver necklace on one s tall. Small but perfectly formed it was a bright penguin. Excusing myself from Cathy, who was engrossed on a cosmetic display, I went and to it. It was a perfect gift for Cathy, she liked penguins. Next to it was a small ring with a turquoise stone embedded in it. She loved the colour and I knew that she'd like it. I gasped a little at the price, but it would be worth it to see her face light up on Christmas morning.  


Later that day we returned to my house and started to decorate the tree. It was nice to have someone to help me. Last year I hadn't got a tree until the last minute, but meeting Cathy had pushed me into the Christmas spirit last year. This year we carefully pulled out the box of decorations. I put the tree next to the window  just like we used to. We placed the lights and tinsel on the tree before we put the baubles on one by one. The last step was to put the angel on top.  

"Go on,"I said "you can do it" 

She smiled at me and took the fragile object from my hands. It was looking the worse for wear I guess, my dad had it when he was little and we'd used it every year I remembered. Maybe if things worked out with Cathy then we'd buy a new one to pass down. 


"Are you sure?", she asked, "it used to be your dads job, you told me" 


I nodded and I could see her hesitate. 


I put my arm around her and pulled her close and we stood in the glow the lights cast.  


"Go on" 


She reached up and as she did so the angels wings came adrift from the body. As if in slow motion they cascaded down the tree landing at our feet. At that moment the music stopped and silence fell on the room. 


"Oh Tom I'm so sorry" Cathy said  


"Its OK," I replied, "we'll get another" 

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