Last Christmas by Sarah Hardy #ShortStory

A little something different from me today. Instead of sharing my thoughts on a book, I thought I’d share a short story that I’ve written instead. I’m either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

It was the night before Christmas and Sally was trying her best to make the house look as presentable as she could, in preparation for next-day’s festivities. She sighed. Not that there was much to celebrate.

Her marriage to Ethan hadn’t quite been the one she had envisioned. The books she had devoured in her teens, with promises of true love, turned out to be very different to actual life. All she had ever wanted, was to be happy. Was that too much to hope for?

Having been up since six that morning to beat the early rush at the supermarkets to be back to set the breakfast table, Sally felt the exhaustion kicking in. Where had the day gone? She couldn’t remember having eaten all day. On top of that she was sure she was coming down with something. And still had to prepare all the food for the Christmas dinner.

Looking over at Ethan sprawled out on the sofa watching some old rerun on the television, she wondered what her life was coming to. She’d given up work to be a full- time mum to both their boys, Caleb and Joshua. Caleb, now twenty- four, had not long since moved into a rented flat with his long term girlfriend. Joshua, her baby, had taken a year out from university to travel.

Like father like sons, sprang to Sally’s mind. Once, at a young age, the boys had been her world, the love of her life. As they started growing older, Ethan had got into their heads. As a result, she was made to feel like her whole purpose was to cook meals and clean up after them. Was it wrong her resentment grew with each passing day?

Not one of them ever lifted a finger, let alone would make her a cuppa or do the dinner for a change. Everything was down to her –  she was getting sick of it. They all spoke to her like she was some sort of servant. In fact no, she was sure they would at least treat a servant with an ounce of respect. Less than they had shown her for a long time.

She placed the last present under the Christmas tree and stood back to take in all its glory. The twinkling lights and glittering tinsel, it was quite breath-taking. When the boys were little it used to be such a magical time, now she only felt sadness and regret. Joshua wouldn’t even celebrate Christmas this year, preferring to spend it in Thailand. Who could blame him. She would rather be anywhere than where she was right now.

“Hey Sal, do something useful and get me a beer from the fridge,” Ethan barked from the comfort of the sofa. His demand riled Sally up. If only she could tell him to get off his backside and get it himself. Oh no, that’s what she was there for and he never let her forget who the bread winner was in this household. How hard he worked to put a roof over their heads and provide for her and the kids. It was something he reminded her of every day.

Walking into the kitchen, Sally took in all the fresh vegetables on the counter top waiting to be peeled and diced. Not only were Caleb and his girlfriend coming, so were her in-laws. A prime example of why Ethan had his dinosaur mindset. His dad was a chauvinistic pig who loved to put his mother in her place. She sighed and opened the fridge door to take out a bottle of beer from inside. Grapping the magnetic bottle opener on the door, she popped the lid off and went into the living room.

“Here you go.” Sally passed Ethan his drink. Without a thank you he grabbed it, took a swig and let out a satisfying belch before ordering her to get out of the way of the television. Disgusted, Sally walked back into the kitchen. She pulled the stool out from under the breakfast bar to sit down resting her head into her hands.

What was she going to do? She couldn’t face another Christmas in a loveless marriage, in fact a loveless house. She couldn’t remember the last time that laughter had filled it. Was this what she had to look forward to for the rest of her life? Looking up, the bags of vegetables seemed to be taunting her that she had work to do. She suddenly remembered that she needed to take the turkey out of the freezer, ready to pop in the oven first thing tomorrow morning. Sighing, she took the bird out and placed it in the sink to defrost overnight.

Back at the breakfast bar, she grabbed the peeler and made a start on the veg.

Before she knew it, the clock in the kitchen told her it was after midnight. With her back aching and head throbbing, Sally knew she wouldn’t be good for anything if she didn’t get to bed soon. She walked over to the sink to see how the turkey was getting on. Picking up a pair of scissors off the counter, she decided to take the packaging off in the hope it would help to defrost the turkey that little bit quicker.

Sauntering into the kitchen, Ethan opened the fridge for another beer. The next Sally knew, there was an almighty crash. Turning round, she took in the disaster that was the trifle she had prepared earlier in the day. All over the floor as well as splashes of jelly, custard and cream, up the walls and units. “Well, how stupid was that putting a damn trifle in front of my beer?” Said Ethan. With a smirk, he looked right at her, “Better get it cleaned up hadn’t you?”

Before Ethan could turn away to make his way back into the lounge, Sally spun around, grabbed the turkey by its legs and took a swing at the back of Ethan’s head.

Ethan hit the floor before his beer did. Feeling like a huge weight had lifted off her shoulders, Sally dropped the turkey on top of him. She stepped over the lifeless body towards the doorway, stopping briefly to look into his vacant, unseeing eyes. “Merry Christmas Ethan.” She closed the door behind her. It might not be the Christmas Sally had hoped for, but at least she didn’t have to spend it with that condescending asshole.

The End

© 2019 Sarah Hardy All rights reserved

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