Recalling a lovely Christmas Eve long ago, spent with my departed wife.
|I still remember that one Christmas eve when my wife and I decided to spend the night by ourselves. Just the two of us. Usually we would head off to her mum's place or would fly out to the east coast to spend it with her father. I didn't have that kind of family that spent Christmas together by the tree - apart from my best friend and his father. So it was always up to Jessie to decide how we would spend the holidays. On this evening, we just had our own dinner and did our own thing. Mainly, it was sharing the cooking duties (split more towards my end than her), and Jess trying her best to make some simple puff pastries for dessert. They didn't turn out so great. She was a better office executive then a chef.
Afterwards, we sat on the couch and watched whatever Christmas film was on TV. But as always, it ended up with both of us losing our focus of what was on the screen and picking up a book. Yeah, we were that type of couple that had book shelves as well as a TV.
Given the holiday, Jessie had bought a related book earlier in the month. Something about a Russian Christmas robot, I think. A kid's book, no doubt. I must have a search for that book to read again.
By some loss of luck, the heater at our place was recently on the fritz (ha, funny word). We didn't have a fireplace to keep us warm on that cold San Francisco night, so it was up to the space heater to work its charm.
In the background, Jessie switched on some music to a low volume. Enough to drown out the hum of the heater, but not so loud that we wouldn't be able to read out loud - we use to read to each other. The Wallflowers was playing, I remember that clearly. Rebel Sweatheart. What track though, I cannot recall.
We sat on the couch with our feet intertwined, facing each other as she began to read. In all honesty, this is why I can't remember what the book was about. My wife had this power over me, to consume all my attention and get lost in her soul. So sometimes I would lose focus on what she was saying. Her fault though, (haha) that on occasion, I didn't listen well.
I remember however, from the outer part of my sight, I was able to catch the shimmering lights of the Christmas tree that stood in guard behind her. It broke the trance Jessie had on me. Reds, greens, yellows; they caught my attention all of a sudden. And as I looked at the sporadic glass ornaments, I caught a reflection of my face peering into that mirrored world.
The thought came to my mind, one that stewed inside my head a few times back then. "Is this a dream?" Surly I'm not this lucky, to have this beautiful woman sitting next to me. That she would be in love with me...that she married me. In that moment, I thought the version of myself that appeared in the glass ornament's reflection was the real me, and "I" was peering in, observing how really happy I looked.
But alas, I was here in this world, and I was as lucky enough to sit next to my lovely wife. Jessie must have noticed that I wasn't paying attention to her reading, because my eyes quickly catch something flying towards me. The next thing I know, something hits my forehead, quickly followed by a sharp stinging sensation.
She threw her book mark at me. I guess it was made of a hard cardboard, plastic or glass even, because it was sharp enough to cut me a little. The next thing I remember is Jessie bursting into a mad laughter. She laughs and laughs, and in between all the borderline insanity glee, she's peppering in her apologetic sorries ("sorries," that's a word right?). I start laughing as well. Because even though I was slightly annoyed by the sting from the half cut, Jessie's laugh was always so contagious that anyone near her would break out in the same manic laughter. I was also impressed that she had such a good aim to nail me right in the middle of the forehead.
"Accidentally clumsy" is what we went on to call these little episodes that we had throughout our marriage.
But the laughter that resonated about our duplex, that was always her doing. Anyone looking in through the window at that moment would think us both lunatics. When in fact, we were just so unequivocally happy together.
We never did finish that book. I still have it somewhere in storage. Jessie and I mended my wound - which was nothing, and went back to try another go at some baking. The rest of the hours spent though, with exuberant smiles on both of our faces.
Russian robots, The Wallflowers, holiday ornaments & uncontrollable laughter. This is just one memory I have, of an all too short life, lived in heavenly joy. And I just thought I would share it with all of you on this eve.
I urge you to enjoy and treasure all the happy moments you have with your loved ones. They don't last...
And so with that, I wish all of you a very happy Christmas.