Dave’s Christmas Present
Christmas can be a happy time when you have someone to share it with, or, it can be the most depressing time of year if you’re lonely.
Luckily for Dave, he had Donna and Annabel to share his life with. It was a year on from the rather fraught birth, and they were now living together in a fairly nice two bedroom flat in town. Dave had been fielding questions from all angles regarding the prospect of wedding bells, to which his response was always non-committal. He hadn’t really discussed it with Donna, so refused to put himself out on a limb in case he ended up having his heart ripped out and stomped on. How could he continue in this little family if Donna didn’t want to be with him until they got old and wrinkly?
The week before Christmas, Dave decided enough was enough. He went to the jewellers in town and stood in front of the cabinet with all the fancy engagement rings. He could feel the fear welling up inside him – not at the thought of proposing to Donna, but at the sight of the price tags on some of them! A kind-looking lady offered to help him choose, an offer he accepted with more than a little trepidation.
Eventually, he picked out a ring – not too over-the-top, but shiny and sparkly enough to look like he had spent a fortune on it – and, in a cold sweat and trembling hand, he allowed them to run his credit card through. With luck, it was the afternoon, so his next stop was a pub for a quick stiff brandy.
So, with this being Annabel’s first Christmas, Dave and Donna had done the democratic thing and turned down both sets of Grandparents’ offer to host Christmas, and were going to spend the day at home – if people wanted to visit, they were more than welcome. Dave had got in a turkey, and then cursed when it was too big for their oven, or their freezer, and cursed even more when Donna came back from shopping with a small three bird roast.
Christmas Eve came, and with Annabel in bed, and the presents all wrapped and under the tree, Dave and Donna relaxed with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates that were technically for Christmas, but Dave had restrained himself long enough. They watched some rubbish television and then went to bed.
After a particularly vivid nightmare where Donna had refused his proposal and then proceeded to serve him raw turkey and sprouts before coming at him with a chainsaw, Dave woke up with a start. To his relief, it was dark, and there was neither a turkey nor a sprout in sight. However, the sound of Donna’s snoring was incredibly chainsaw-like. He nudged her to try and stir her, only succeeding in making it worse. He lay back and stared up into darkness wondering if he was doing the right thing. The snoring seemed to be getting louder, so he tried his usual trick of snuggling up to her and stroking her to get her to move about. He didn’t account for her putting her hand down his pyjamas and giving him a good rub.
Dave awoke on Christmas morning with a spring in his step and a positive outlook. He got up and went to make a coffee for them both. On his return, he scooped Annabel out of her cot, and returned to bed to wake up Donna. It was all Christmassy, with wrapping paper everywhere, birthday cards strewn across the bed, and the two most important people in Dave’s life right next to him in bed. Now was the time, he told himself. He reached into his bedside draw and pulled out a little square parcel, handing it to Donna nonchalantly as if it was any old gift. That was as far as things went, because Annabel interrupted proceedings by projectile vomiting all over the bed, and a little bit on Dave. They both jumped out of bed and busied with cleaning up the mess, and Annabel too. And the little parcel remained, unopened, on Donna’s bedside table.
Christmas dinner was a resounding success, the washing up less so thanks to Dave allowing a wet plate to slip from his soapy hands on to the floor. Not just any plate, it was Donna’s now deceased Grandmother’s plate, passed down to her. Dave protested his innocence, but was told in no uncertain terms that he should ‘get the hell out of the kitchen before the pieces were shoved in a place that would make sitting down uncomfortable’. Dave wisely retreated to the bedroom and happened on the little parcel. He scooped it up and put it in his pocket. Any plans he had for the parcel were put on hold when, in a burst of activity, both sets of Grandparents and a Great-Grandparent arrived laden with presents for the first birthday girl.
Having been planning to show off the engagement ring, Dave was placed in a quandary – should he do the proposal in front of everyone, or wait until later, when they had all buggered off again? They all sat down and watched Annabel playing with her countless new toys, occasionally engaging in a burst of adult conversation and passing round the tin of Roses, and Dave cradled the parcel in his pocket.
It was when he got up to go to the toilet that things were taken out of his hands. Without realising it, the parcel must have fallen out of his pocket and landed on the floor, because he was stood in front of the toilet, when, mid-stream, the door burst open and a teary-eyed Donna wrapped her arms around him and said ‘Yes’.
Once Dave had finished and cleaned up the mess, they both went back into the living room and announced their engagement to the congregated family. The room was filled with happiness, only tempered when Dave’s Grandma asked what the damp patch on Dave’s leg was…