Tis’ the season. Christmas is here and that is what people say but, to be honest with you, I am not even sure what that means this year. Nothing about right now feels at all like Christmas. The streets are still baron and dull in color. There are no soft-falling snowflakes cascading from outside my window. Sure, the downtown is scintillant with lights adorned to polls and trees but, I feel nothing. Actually, that is not entirely accurate – I feel plenty, but, Joyeux Noel isn’t one of those things.
After laying in bed and being unable to fall back asleep, I tore my tired and aching body away from the mattress. The thud of my weighted footfalls against the floor lead me into the tenebrous living room. From there, I flopped in discouragement onto the waiting loveseat and allowed for an audible sigh to escape me. As if often does, my mind started to wander. Suddenly I was back in the front, passenger side of the ambulance, with my partner Dave, eating our Christmas dinner from our plastic Tupperware containers. We only had a chance to nuke our respective festive dinner’s once so, the centre of the turkey was cold, and the gravy was somewhat gelatinous, but at least we were eating.
I remember that night quite clearly. Perhaps even more so now, in lieu of what has happened since…
That night, while Dave and I sat in the front of an ambulance, cluttered with illuminated computer screens and GPS display’s, eating our versions of Christmas Dinner together, I found time to gaze out the window, and observe the city around me. The normally bustling city streets were reticent and soulless. On that night however, snow was indeed cascading down – heavily. The large leaf-like flakes danced their way through the city’s glowing street lights, and adorned Christmas fixtures, before landing gently to the ground. Had I not been working on an ambulance, just waiting for something bad to happen to someone, this would have almost been peaceful.
As I finished up what was left of my late-night Christmas dinner, I thought to myself that now would be a good time to call home, and speak to my mum, while I still had the chance as it was ‘quiet’ out. I snapped the lid onto the clear, plastic container. I struggled to maneuver in my seat, both due to a freshly filled stomach, and because anyone who has sat in the front of an emergency vehicle will tell you, there is not much room. After placing the container in my lunch bag, I returned to a position of comfort, and reached from my tea. That was still warm, all the way through. After taking a couple of sips and feeling its warm embrace slide down the inside of my neck and chest, I reached into my pocket and retrieved my phone. I scrolled through the contacts until I found the one that read: Mum Home Phone. I pressed on it once and it brought up the options to either call, text, e-mail or share, as I was about to press the call button, I was suddenly distracted, and drawn away from my phone and beckoned towards our heads-up-display, we were getting a call. I let loose an audible sigh, and put my phone away.
I never made the call. The call to my mum. Somewhere deep within the back of my mind I must have thought to myself “I’ll do it tomorrow” … Now, here I sit, some years later, no ambulance, no partner, no lukewarm Christmas dinner jammed into a see-through container, and no phone call to make. And somewhere deep within the back of my mind, I know there is also no tomorrow… Not really anyway… It is not that I do not want to make the phone call, it is that I can’t. She won’t answer. My mum, she’s gone. So is tomorrow, and any chance to ever call her again.
I would have called her today too, it’s her birthday… She would have been 69. I know that I cannot call her but, that does not stop me from sitting here, uncomfortably in my chair, scrolling through the contacts section of my phone to the one that reads: Mum Home Phone…
Tis’ the season, I am just not quite sure what that means anymore… It does not feel like Christmas at all. No, instead, it just feels as the outside appears – cold, quiet, and lonely. Maybe it is simply the season to be forlorn? It is for many after all. I don’t know… I don’t have the answers. Only questions. But, it certainly is the season…
Happy Birthday Mum. Merry Christmas. May you find peace this year. I miss you, and I love you.
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