Come home in time for the annual Christmas party and your fate is pretty much sealed. You will spend most of the evening wondering at the snivelling little kids you left behind now asking you whether your company is hiring. You will fend off nosy aunties* asking why you aren’t hitched. You will smile at jovial uncles offering you beer – sign that they finally think of you as an adult. You will feel sad that things you were once so very much part of, are now not.
Pickled chicken feet. Awesomely good.
The neighbourhood where I used to live is a pretty special place. Most of our parents work at the same place. Most of us belong to the same church. Many of us went to the same schools, were in the same clubs and cliques (depending on age) and a whole bunch of us dated each other at some point or other. These are people who have seen you at your very worst and know about the time you got caught red-handed coming home at 3 o’clock in the morning. One of them may even have been your first love.
Cicak on the wall.
It was strange meeting A again, especially on amicable terms. We’ve been avoiding each other ever since the nasty breakup so long ago it’s become habit. Even legendary. Even our parents don’t talk about the two of us anymore. So it was strange to see him looking so very much like he used to before things went bad and for him to hug me and wish me well. I can’t deny I felt a thrill. He was one of the best looking boys back then and I was just a very nerdy looking girl with braces. Now he’s just as good looking and I am 15kgs overweight. Haha. Life can be cruel. He hugged me again when I said I was sorry over his broken engagement. He looked at me and smiled. “I’m used to this”, he said. It took me a couple of minutes to remember why we broke up in the first place. We always fought. I was a bad girlfriend. I didn’t write the whole tthe whole time he was in the UK. Memories, even bad ones, can become dim and happier than what was real.
I called Stinky the same night. I told him, “I met the ex and felt horny.” He laughed long and hard and told me he loved me. I was feeling guilty over obsessing over A, even if it was for a couple of hours. I knew that if positions had been reversed and it was Stinky who told me this, he wouldn’t have an appendage to pee with soon after and his ex’s house would have been in flames. THIS is what I never had with A. And although imagining the what ifs and how much easier the folks would accept the two of us did happen a few times that night, I only have to remember the way Stinky makes me feel at the end of the day and how he loves me despite my many eccentricities that I feel blessed that things turned out the way they did.
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope yours was as quietly joyful as mine.
*not aunty as in relative but rather friends of your parents or your friends’ parents.