My Merry Little Christmas #WeeklyWritingChallenge

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I’d had it with him! Blocking his number, I officially deleted my ex-boyfriend from my life. Sitting crossed legged and arms on the sofa, grumpily gazing at the TV but not taking the ten o’clock news in, I shoved my heartbreak away.

I wasn’t going to cry and feel sorry for myself. I hadn’t been the one sleeping around, getting drunk and kissing girls in nightclubs. We’d only been together six months, hardly anytime at all. And anyway, I’d hated his taste in music, movies, his dislike of books and his big ego. We’d had little in common from the beginning and it was only thanks to his interest in American sports we had started dating.

Still though, Christmas was around the corner and now I’d be spending it alone. Well, there was family to visit but I’d feel like the odd one out.

I looked at the Christmas decorations and the little fire burning in the fireplace. It needed stoking and more wood adding. I was in no mood to sleep now, so I got up and kneeling down, grabbed the poker. Jabbing it in, the flames woke from their doze. I put another two logs in and which the fire growing once more.

Back on the sofa, I wanted something to take my mind off things. The TV wasn’t helping, I didn’t have enough concentration to read a book and my house was all ready tidy. There were presents still to wrap, cards to write but I wasn’t feeling up to that. I needed an action plan, something to total focus on and forget about him for awhile.

I got my laptop out and went surfing the internet. There were lots of distractions out there. I clicked on link after link; reading blog posts, news, comic strips, finally I came to some Christmas craft website and scrolled through. There were lots of things I could make but my heart wasn’t in it.

Turning the TV off, I went on to a video website and listened to some live relaxing music. I made some hot chocolate and toast, curled up again and drifted into the sounds of the fire and the sad piano notes.

For some reason, that song about having having yourself a merry little Christmas popped into my head. I hummed it whilst hugging my warm mug and thought, yes, I’m going to have one of those this year and I’ll be happier and better for it.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/12/10/weekly-writing-challenge-171/ with thanks).

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Dear Diary #50

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Dear Diary,

It’s officially winter today, though it feels like it’s been here for awhile, expect for the snow which I hope keeps away for longer! The weather has settled into a pattern of being wild, wet, windy, cold and getting dark so early that all but the morning daytime feels lost.

Today, I’ve been busy getting the Christmas decorations out and some of them up. The kids, now claiming they are ‘too old’ for such things took awhile to get into the mood of things but those decorations that reminded them of silly times – a school play, craft pieces, a photo on Santa’s knee, helped to get them into it.

Of course, only two sets of lights worked! So I left Danny testing them in the shed and I took Emma out to buy some more and a few other things. The shops were busy as was to be expected but we got through okay. Christmas music was playing in all the shops and it felt like everyone had suddenly got this idea that now was the time to start celebrating officially. Though TV and shops have been creeping it in since the start of last month!

Back home and more decorations to put up and it turns out I was right to replace the lights as poor Danny couldn’t fix them. I cheered him up with hot chocolate and crumpets which were so lovely in front of our still new fireplace! A fire really does add that cosy, cheery feel to Christmas. I don’t know how we coped without it before!

I made a nice stew and dumplings for tea and we watched a Christmas movie, though the kids were still tutting and spent more time on their phones/games then watching it but at least we were all together and that’s good enough for me.

Then before we came to bed, I walked around and just smiled, Christmas is truly here and it feels so good and welcome, the perfect beacon of hope in the long winter nights.

The Loneliest Day

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The phone rang, Jen tutted and abandoned the cake batter she had been mixing to answer it. It was probably a cold caller and she should just let the answer machine get it but she had finally got month old baby Louis down for his afternoon nap and didn’t want anything disturbing him.

‘Hello?’ Jen said into the phone.

‘Hi, it’s only me,’ her husband, Mike spoke, ‘I tried your mobile. I thought you might be a sleep.’

‘No,’ Jen replied with a sign, ‘I was in the kitchen.’

‘Okay. I just wanted to let you know I’m not sure what time I’ll be home,’ Mike explained, ‘there’s been a full office computer crash. Some idiot downloaded a virus yesterday and it’s super bad. I’m not letting anyone from the IT department leave till we’ve fixed it.’

‘I see,’ Jen uttered.

‘I’ll get something to eat on the way home. Don’t wait up for me, you still need to rest as much as possible.’

Jen nodded.

‘How is Louis?’ Mike asked.

‘Good. He’s sleeping now and he drink a full bottle before.’

‘Super! I got to go. Got the big boss at my throat. See you later, Honey.’

‘Bye,’ Jen said as the ring tone beeped in her ear.

She hung the phone up then stared at it. Why did things like that had to happened? Jen hugged herself and tried not to let the silence of the house get to her. Feeling a slight chill, she moved back into the warmth of the kitchen.

There in the bright lights, surround by cooking equipment and ingredients she could pretend that everything was normal again. Busying herself with finishing off mixing the cake batter, she was just about to divided it into the paper cupcake cases with a baby’s cry came from the living room.

Jen paused and tried not to rush off. Hoping, he would stop and settle again, She began scooping batter into the cases. She made it to four then give in and went into the living room.

‘I’m coming, Louis,’ she called.

Jen stood over pram then picked Louis up. She mumbled things to him and snuggled him. Then realised he needed changing and went and did that. Wrapping him up again, she tried to get him back to sleep but he seemed too awake. Placing him into the pram again, she wheeled him into the kitchen and parked him up.

Finishing dividing the cake mix, she placed the tray into the oven and set the timer. Washing her hands, she tidied everything up then wondered what to do next. On the counter was a pack of spaghetti and a jar of bolognese sauce, this evening dinner.

‘We won’t be needing this now,’ Jen said aloud and put them away, ‘I’ll have some soup instead and you can have some more milk.’

Louis made a moaning sound and Jen checked on him. He had taken both scratch mitts off again.

‘How do you do that?’ Jen wondered.

She put the mitts back on and wheeled him back into the living room. There, she put the TV back and set the channel to one with afternoon game shows as had became her habit. Picking up Louis, she sat cuddling him on the sofa. He dozed on and off then wanted feeding again.

The timer went off whilst she was feeding him and Jen, who hadn’t mastered juggling a baby and other things yet, had to place him down and go to get the cakes out. Louis started crying and her repeatedly tell him she was coming right back had no effect. Cakes out and left to cool, she washed her hands and hurried back to breast feeding him.

Settled again, Jen felt waves of tiredness drifting over her. Louis was a heavy, hot, soft bundle in her arms. The house was warmer now as the heating had come on. Rain was tapping against the windows and even though it was almost four o’clock, night had rolled in.

Realising, she should close the curtains, Jen got up careful and placed Louis in his pram again. She went over to the window and looked out. The street lamps were on and there were cars and people outside. A front door across the road was open, light pooling out and two people were stood in the glow.

A stab of loneliness hit Jen. Her hands slipped from the curtains. She had been ill throughout the whole of her pregnancy and had to have time off work sick then take early maternity leave. Luckily, she and Louis had got through the birth fine, but Jen was recovering and hadn’t left the house much in the last ten months now.

Family and friends had been regularly visitors throughout those months and Jen was grateful for those mornings and afternoons spent with in their company but the mid-week period was the worse time. It was just her and Louis for eight or nine hours whilst Mike was a work and everyone else was too busy.

Jen closed the curtains and tried to get rid of the dreadful feeling filling her up. She checked on Louis who was fast asleep then went into the kitchen. She ate one of the just cooled cakes and made herself a cup of tea.

To help focus herself, Jen thought about plans for the next few weeks. After her last hospital check up, she would started to go out more. She had seen a mums and babies play group advertised at a local church on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. There was also baby swimming on Monday and Friday mornings at the sport centre. On Wednesdays there was the lunch club at her work that she could take Louis too as well.

‘See? You are going to be fine,’ Jen said aloud, ‘just get better.’

Grabbing another cake and her cup of tea, Jen went back to the sofa. Adverts were flashing on the TV and Jen got ready to watch the next quiz show, feeling that little bit better.

Old Tech #3LineTales

three line tales, week 138: an old television set

Walking through the houses of the Old World, Peanut was always fascinated by the items they could find.

Today, she had turned up a dial TV which Grand Pops explained was used to show information in moving pictures with sound direct to people, but it had also been a part of the Old World’s downfall because it had forced everyone to stay inside.

The tale was easy to believe because generations of the last humans had remained behind the steel door and it was only now they were adventuring out to see what they ancestors had left them of the world.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/09/20/three-line-tales-week-138/ with thanks).

When You Are Alone At Home

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I hated being all by myself at home. It was too quiet and there never seemed to be anything to do. Most people would like that, I guess. They’d see it as a chance to do those odd jobs or hobbies or watch TV which they couldn’t do when parents and kids were around. Yes, I could do all that, but I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it.

Maybe it was the lack of motivation? The pressure that I must do something! I had the space, the time, the chances, so yes, I must do some kind of activity which I couldn’t do other wise.

Nothing was coming to my mind though. I listened to the ticking of the kitchen clock, the dripping of the rain outside and the cat purring around my legs. I put the TV on, but only for background noise and just to hear voices so I wouldn’t be lonely.

I wondered if this was how it was when you got old and housebound. Would I just watch TV all day and doze? Would I reflect on my past and wonder what the rest of my future would be like?

I hope I’d lived a good past.

The cat jumped up and snuggled into my lap. We’re not friends, but with my parents gone for a few days, she was attention seeking. I petted her and listened to her purring more loudly.

I’ve have to get a cat when I was old and stuck inside. It would have to be a nice cat though. One who’d sit in my lap all the time and not be so wild. An indoor cat. Maybe, one of those with a really long coat and bright blue eyes. I hope I’ll be able to brush it though….

I channel flicked, but didn’t find anything worth watching. A nagging voice in my head told me to do something. ANYTHING!

Picking the cat up, I placed her on the floor. Disgruntled, she looked at me then trotted off. I went into the kitchen, though I was hungry and began looking around. Finally, I decided to do some baking.

I wasn’t that good to be honest, but at least it would kill time until the evening. Then there’d be soaps on and quiz shows and murder mystery dramas. I could get snacks and chill out, maybe the cat would come to me again?

I pulled one of my favourite cooking books off the shelf and flipped through it. What could I make? Something simple, easy and tasty. Cake? Cupcakes? Yes, that would do…chocolate cupcakes!

I set to work and found my mind better now it had something to focus on.

Ticking Down

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Her eyes were constantly watching the numbers on the clock change. Time was passing so slowly and she felt so bored. Today was the perfect day to sit and write. She was home alone until her parents arrived back and she wasn’t at her actual job till tomorrow afternoon. She had also done all her Christmas shopping and more beside.

Listening to the pounding tones of some classic rock music, she tried to focus on the blank page before her. Well, it wasn’t really blank because it was her blog and there were tool bars down one side and also the internet tool bar at the top of the screen. She pulled a face and flicked through the other tabs she had open. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon before going back to WordPress where the empty page sat still waiting for her words.

Her fingers hovered over the keyboard and she tried to think of anything to write. Nothing came into her head, it was like all the characters and settings had packed up and left. Pulling a face, she looked out of the window next to her. She had left a gap in the heavy curtains to let the natural light in, not that there was lot of it.

The early December day was cloudy and dull. The sky threatened rain or worse snow. Most of the frost had now vanished, but some of the cars still had a dusting on their metal bodies. It looked cold and she wasn’t in the mood to put on a load of layers and go for a walk.

Her eyes looked back at the computer monitor clock. It had only gone up by a few minutes. Sighing, she give up and decided to walk away. Nothing else could be done. Stopping the music, she took off her headphones and got up. Walking into the living room, she saw the family’s old dog curled in his bed. Leaving him to sleep, because he was becoming more and more grumpy about being woken up for no real reason, she turned on the TV.

Really, she should grab one the writing books that lined the bookcase next to her computer or  go upstairs to her room and pick a new book to start reading. Instead, she flicked through the TV channels and settled down to watch some daytime TV, which was a dull as the day outside.

Soup

All she wanted to do was curl up on the sofa with a bowl of hot soup and her favorite TV show to wait out the storm.

Twenty Seconds

She turned the TV off and watched the static settle. A pair of ghostly hands matrixed before her then vanished.