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And What Did You Get for Christmas?

 

And What Did You Get for Christmas?

By Pierce du Buisson

 

Copyright 2014 Pierce du Buisson

Published by VintagEreads at Shakespir

 

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She had been a clever chick, and by the nature of these things, somewhat alone. She’d always had to wait for people to bring their spontaneous joys and griefs to her – the easy going guys and girls all needed her wisdom and patience sooner or later, and in due course, there was a man among them.

He came to her in a college-kid haze of admiration. He had enough presence of mind and imagination in him yet. Taking the stem of a red rose between his teeth, he growled playfully at her. They laughed out loud with relief, both of them infatuated, and soon they were in the full bloom of love.

Their fathers grunted wryly at each other, their mothers cooed, and life came sweet and high upon the road to adulthood.

There were kids too, beautiful children, twin boys and a gorgeous little sister. Their world pulsated with fulfilment, and the thought of heaven was as far away as near.

He’d done a number of overseas residencies in his time, and the option of Africa was coming to him, eventually. When it came, it was a very lucky call – Cape Town, South Africa. A good medical school, a safe environment as the Third World could possibly provide, and adventures of any kind for the whole family within a day-or-two of easy travel.

But it was still a city of the Third World. In a nation of many different peoples, thrown together by history without a plan. One could clearly see, from atop the Table Mountain, how this society had been stuck and stitched together in a haste of industrial migration. The seams had not really melded, and people were still oozing out from the cracks, flowing onto the streets and open spaces, growing shacklands, breeding cattle, and raising the children of an uncertain future, all blending together in the rusty colours of the dry climate.

On the city streets, along the highways and byways, everywhere, one could feel the desperate breathing of human life. His interest in socio-medical issues grew, and she joined him in a research project on behalf of a wealthy ‘Non-Governmental Organisation’.

The year was drawing to a close, and her mother reminded the kids every day of what Christmas had in store. Back home, where the hearth remained, they were going to be welcomed in love and the opulent pleasures of generations of civilisation and good living. Chestnuts roasting on the open fire, ‘Oh come, all ye faithful’, and goodwill to all mankind.

She had planned and packed carefully through October and November. The heat was growing unbearable. She could smell the pines and the snowdrifts of home, at times, and her excitement flowed over to the children. “When, Mommy?” and “How long is it, Mommy, before we go home to Gran?”

The news came in the week before their departure. Embezzlement of funds in the NGO. All personnel and consultants to be investigated by independent auditors. Non-residents politely requested to remain for the duration. No exceptions. No diplomatic intervention.

He fulminated in vain. The children, being used to all at their beck and call, kept nagging their grandparents on the phone to do something. All to no avail. But fate is fickle, so he was the first to be ruled out of the investigation, and she managed to reschedule their flight for the twenty-first of December. The children were no longer so indignant, and she noted with some motherly satisfaction their thankfulness and relief.

The day came, and farewells were had from new friends and colleagues. They all helped to pack the hired vehicle, hands big and small. A short drive through the city, and up, up and away! Christmas was coming for real, at last!

Before the traffic junctures by the tourist waterfront, signs of congestion. Honking and halting, the lines moved along slowly, and then eventually came to a complete standstill.

***

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And What Did You Get for Christmas?

Christmas, a time of giving. How exciting a prospect! To receive the unexpected, and to give more than just material things, because what counts is the idea, of course. And giving some part of yourself, now that’s some idea, because what is there to lose? The morning of Christmas Eve, a young American doctor and his family are on their way to the airport, leaving the third world for home, where the heart is. Unexpectedly, they find themselves at street level, and dealing with the needs of the destitute. A new life is delivered unto the world. The mother and baby are taken care of, but there is another child already, and he would be left to find his own way. The true spirit of Christmas enters upon the scene, and brings with it a rethink, a re-evaluation of personal motives. The family of privileged first-world citizens is now under a different set of stars, and for the first time, they come to see themselves in a new light of reality.

  • ISBN: 9781311397874
  • Author: VintagEreads
  • Published: 2015-12-08 09:05:06
  • Words: 2381
And What Did You Get for Christmas? And What Did You Get for Christmas?