It was Christmas Eve; she stayed in bed.
They were going north with his cousin to visit his aunt, his cousin’s mum, for christmas. A strange combination, but why not. He could not remember why.
She would not get up, no matter how hard he persuaded her. Her demons were with her, crowding her mind. They would not let her go; she would not let them go.
Time took over and would not let go. Demons and time, they do not wait or care.
He went to the airport to collect the cousin who was flying in from a long way.
As they went back to the house he explained what was happening to his cousin. This was new ground, the public acknowledgement of what was happening. He could not really believe it himself, let alone explain it to someone else.
He knew it had to come. He knew they had to know.
She was still in bed. She was rolling around. She was not responding.
Go and leave her? Stay behind?
What to do?
She was not there. She would not even know what was happening.
Stay with the plans. Take the cousin to his mum. Take refuge in a family christmas. Take refuge in something that was long gone but still kicking.
It was a difficult drive north towards the grimness. Questions and explanations. Awkwardness and embarrassment.
They arrived and sat in the kitchen with the aunt/mum, wondering what to do. This was not christmas, no-one was happy. Why are we here, this awkward bunch? How can we celebrate?
Decision was made; he made a decision. He would go south, go home (‘home’? – no ‘the house’) and check she was still alive. They would go south to the daughter/sister; invade their christmas.
Spread the news, open it up to the world.
Back at the house she was still in bed, unconscious to what was happening, the demons were in charge.
He went to bed; on his own.
Christmas day did not dawn, it crawled its way into the light blaming everyone it could see; THIS IS NOT CHRISTMAS!
He phoned his son. Can I come for christmas dinner? Pretend all is OK? Have some turkey? Be a family?
After all christmas is turkey and wine – no?
Back at the house that evening he decided that christmas was over. Twelve nights was too long to wait.
He took down all the decorations. He packed away all the cards. He cleared it all away to the attic. He went to bed. Alone.
Boxing day – christmas had died.
She was still in bed drowning in her demons. She had no idea – or perhaps she had – was that the point?
Soon after he left to find the man.
Eventually he found him, but he never forgot the day christmas died.
Christmas is dead! Long Live Christmas!