I have invited some of my favorite bloggers who tell great stories ( and have become great friends) to share a story here at the Edmonton Tourist. Their stories are motivational, informative, interesting funny and inspiring. Maybe not all at once but combined. These writers fill my soul in ways reading books don’t. Over the next few weeks I will post occasionally but I need to rest my brain and get my creative juices flowing again. I will,in the mean time, leave you with a great read from my wonderful writing friends. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
On with the words….
“You’re kidding, right?”
We stood outside the Greyhound bus terminal in Brooks, Alberta. It was just after midnight on December 24th, 2001. My mum was waiting in her van, making cigarette-tip light shows above the steering wheel. My boyfriend stood beside me in the muddy slush, while I tried to comprehend what the terminal attendant was telling us.
“How could you not have his luggage? We didn’t switch buses, or anything.”
Shrug. Accompanied by the sort of not-my-problem look that incites bar fights and drives an entire industry of customer service training programs.
Mike said, “It’s okay. Let’s just get some sleep.”
And it was okay. Sort of. Shopping for clean underwear and a change of clothes on Christmas Eve was stressful and ridiculous. As was sitting on hold with Greyhound Canada. It turned out the Edmonton terminal had more butts than seats that weekend before Christmas, resulting in a last-minute call for reinforcements, and some “understandable” disorganization with the baggage. Mike’s clothes were in Manitoba. Seriously. But we were at my mother’s house, together. My brother and sister welcomed him, my mum covered all available surfaces with food, my dog heaved his sixty-pound bulk up into Mike’s lap, and all was well.
Some families play cards, on Christmas Eve night. Or board games. Or string popcorn and cranberries. Or go caroling with neighbours sloshing bottles of holiday cheer, laughing and warm with glad tidings. My family? We watched movies. Violent ones.
Die Hard was a holiday tradition, especially Die Hard I and II. Sometimes we would fool around with Lethal Weapon. Or Aliens. Or Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But nothing says Christmas like a scarred and bleeding Bruce Willis looking down the barrel amid spectacular explosions and always coming out the hero. “Yippee ki-yay, motherf@*ker!”
Doesn’t it make you feel warm inside?
I don’t know why we chose The Sixth Sense, that night. My mum and my sister had already watched it, loved it, could’ve watched it again another night. The Die Hard Trilogy Boxed Set was beaming down on us benevolently from atop the tv. Just waiting for us to make our selection and press “play”…. But, no. We chose M. Night Shyamalan.
Hours later, snuggled into my love’s warm back and listening to the house settle around us, I yawned and stretched in such a way that the door came into my peripheral vision.
Ohmygod. What was that?
My dog looked up at me and sighed. We had been through this before.
Panicked, I reached for the bedside lamp and sat straight up in bed. What was that? A moving shadow had interrupted the gap of light below the door. I was sure of it. If I could just sit up and watch, I was sure I would see it again.
What IF I saw it again? That would be HORRIBLE! But what if it came back when I wasn’t looking and OPENED THE DOOR?
A rational person would chuckle. Give her head a shake. Go the kitchen for some hot cocoa or mint tea–
WHAT IF THERE WERE DEAD PEOPLE IN MY MUM’S KITCHEN!?!?!
And of course I needed to pee.
“Mike.” Shaking him gently. “Mike.”
He peered at me blearily, mumbled something, then rolled over. Immediately asleep.
Barely intelligible: “What’s wrong?”
“I, uh, had a bad dream. Can you take me to the washroom? Please?”
My dog hid his eyes. My boyfriend stared, carefully expressionless.
“You’re kidding, right?”
He walked me through the house. Leaned against the wall outside the bathroom door. Protected me from the chill in the air that had to mean ghosts were near. Pulled a pillow over his head when I refused to turn off the bedside lamp, and smiled at me over his coffee in the morning. And you know what? He didn’t laugh at me. Not once.
It was the next Christmas, when I opened my mouth to say I was leaving, that he held out a ring before I could speak.
How could I say no?