Christmas Day

And we are done. It was a good game. A good day. Lots of people. Lots of win. Christmas. I’m exhausted.

Nanki is sleeping in the room next door. I met her this morning. She lives in Ruislip and is here from Delhi as a Master’s Student for one year. She doesn’t really know anyone and she took a leap of faith. She was nervous for a lot of the day and then I saw her laughing joyfully at a game that one of the guests had brought with her called Drawful. That moment alone was golden. In a room where I knew very little about very many of the people, I was a host and saw people who had all met this morning swept up in the moment with one another.

I did my usual drive around in the morning, this time with Max’s car, which was thankfully in better nick than the jag was last year, albeit barely. Chiswick to Turnpike Lane and a few other stops between. Brian had appeared at 8am on his bike and he ran the kitchen like an absolute total legend. The flat gradually kept filling throughout the day. There were more unfamiliar faces than familiar and that felt right.

What I love about the way it always seems to pan out is that people bring Christmas. Sometimes that’s food. Sometimes it’s a gesture. Sometimes it’s an act of selflessness. One guest came two years running and turned herself into a one woman clean up team leader. I was floundering in her memory this year, but we still managed to keep loosely on top of proceedings. I’ll be off to bed shortly happy that a lot of people had a joyous Christmas and so did I, and there’s nothing smashed, and thinking about it there’s not so much work to get things shipshape. I’ve been using the fire-escape as a bin fridge, so I’ll have to do a few trips up and down stairs before close of play tomorrow laden with bin bags, and then work out how to make space in my fridge. Or eat all the leftovers for breakfast.

Ahh Christmas.

It used to be a hard time for me emotionally. Now it’s filled with people and colour and strangers and life and light. This was a good one – a good party – a good slice of life. I’m lying here ready for a long and happy sleep. No show tomorrow so I can budget my energy however I choose. Tomorrow is going to be about me.

Community is at the heart of this day. Everybody got stuck in. Helping cook, making blinis, helping tidy, moving tables, ferrying food to the table, bringing games, telling stories.

Here I am in Christmas bed contemplating how much ground I’ve covered in one year and knowing that every step of it was hand in hand with my community of dear friends and family. If the year to come is half as joyful as today turned out to be, then bring it on!

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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