Society’s idea of a family is probably one of the most over-played jingles ever sung, he thought with perhaps more bitterness than he would admit to.It was that time of the year again and everyone is lining-up for the ultimate excuse to spend money they haven’t earned, on things they don’t want, for people they don’t even like. That, he told himself, is the spirit of Christmas. After you’ve done away with the ridiculous frosting on top of course.

He lit-up his Mild Seven and took a long drag, it wasn’t that he despised the Holidays, he was all for the annual merry-making and endless shopping of it all, but at twenty-seven, he felt that there should have been more to the season than the usual bright-lights and high-pitched voices.

Sure there are the yearly charity works, and he’d done that too. But even that has lost its magic after several sparks, like a drug that just leaves you more at loss after the initial high…

Charity didn’t make him feel like a hero, if anything, it only made him see himself more of a villain in his pathetic attempt at penitence.

Ava would have agreed.

His fiance, or should he say, his ex-fiance, is a real Christmas junkie. She’d make peace with literally everyone on December regardless of whose fault it is, “just because,” and this year actually, she even sent him a peace-offering just to stay faithful to her “Santis ritual,”as she’d like to call it. “Something to cheer him up and keep him warm on cold days”, she wrote.

Chocolates; Black, bitter, moist and warm, just as she had always liked it.

And no, it didn’t cheer him up, nothing did really, not after she called their engagement off a few months ago. She had the right to, he knew. He just wished that for once, her obsession with the whole “forgive and forget ho-ho-ho’s” would bid well for him, for them.

But even she knew where to draw the line between novelty and nuisance.

He was going to send her something in return too, but decided against it last minute. Unlike her, he wasn’t okay with being friends so soon after the break-up, not now, maybe never. And if he wasn’t going to do it for her sake, he certainly wouldn’t be doing it “because it’s Christmas.”

She’d understand, she knew he was never a big holiday fan, he’s family threw more parties than the entire city combined for things as mundane as promotions, despedidas apart from other numerous corporate launchings, which would have been justified of course, if it happened less than twice every month.

He took one last puff of his Japanese cigarette and decided it best to get the work done and over with. Work being their Yuletide family reunion, which apart from funerals, is the one event he was never allowed to miss.

It wasn’t that he despised his family, well alright, perhaps a little, but even if he did not, he did not see the point of gathering just for the sake of…

No one really said anything during these occasions anyway, sure everyone talked and smiled and cheered and laughed, but in his twenty-seven years of attendance, he has yet to remember anyone actually saying anything worth remembering.

It was all farce, an affirmation of one’s pledge to the clan. Which he felt would have been better off expressed in the form of share renewals and stock acquisitions.

His father would nod to that, but his mother would probably sell off all her inheritance first before she allows the “most anticipated” event of the year to be none-mandatory. It was the only time she could flaunt her reign as the queen without his father conjuring up an excuse or two to be spared from it all. Everyone knew he had a brother else where, and though he did not know his name, he knew he was in the same state as they were, and that they enjoyed the same privileges from him as he did, if not more. It was a fact no one was ignorant of but none dared spoke aloud. His mother was tired of the subtle looks of pity, the questioning gazes but worse of all, the unapologetic stance of her husband. This was the one time his mother can slap her position on the throne for all to see, that she, despite the existence of another, is still the rightful Queen.

Yes it was for reasons like these that they all gather here tonight, under the bask of the multi-colored lights while raising sparkling wines.

And amidst familiar faces and cheerful graces, he could only make one silent remark to himself.

“You can spend a lifetime with a person only to be united as strangers.”

No Comments

Post A Comment