“Krinnggggggg!!!”, rang the old cracking doorbell, forcing Miss Donerly out of her bed. She had a sleepless night. It was Christmas Eve and the town was all decked up filled with exuberant beaming faces. Her neighbours had an eventful night.
“Ah! It’s Christ’s birthday”, it suddenly dawned on her as she rushed downstairs to open the door. The Sprightlys are here after the morning mass. Every christmas they went door to door greeting all the townsmen. It is an annual ritual of the family. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!, wished the jubilant family.
“Merry Christmas Mrs.Sprightly”, said the sleepy old day. “And Merry Christmas to your family”, she added hastily all the while cringing under the skin. “For Christ’s sake let HIM rest”, thought the old lady.
Ms Donerly loved Christmas and hated Christmas.
CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS everywhere,
Nuanced people here and there.
Putting up appearances in the mid night choir,
Losing sleep over a pretentious affair.
“Damn, Damn, Damn…grrrh!”, she muttered while slamming the door.
The loud noise displaced the holly from its reclusive place on the door. It made a little hash sound in protest of the onslaught. This cured Ms. Donerly of her morning grumpiness. She went upstairs and quickly dressed herself in a bright red trench coat – put on her worn out overused chappals and a red bindi. She was all set for the day.
The next stop was a roadside flower shop. ” Good Morning Rahel. How are you today?”, enquired the old lady. Rahel, a middle-aged man was the owner of the shop. He was one of the companions of Ms Donerly. They became friends when Ms Donerly helped him in setting up this shop. Rahel was a teenager then, a runaway child from a far away land.
“Good Morning Ms Donerly. How are you? I am feeling much better now”, said Rahel. “Great! Here is some medicine for you, take them with lukewarm water twice a day. Now, Can you give me my package, dear?” asked the old lady. ” Thank you for the medicine. There you go Ms Donerly”, said the lad handing over a bunch of black roses. The lady stealthily moved towards the cemetery.
Rahel remembered the beautiful mistress of his dream. Ms Donerly was the kindest of all people. It was because of her that he had a life and many more Rahels like him. Yet, her own existence was that of a solitary reaper. Every christmas Ms Donerly went to the cemetery with a bunch of roses and a book tucked under hands. On reaching there, she would lay a rose in front of every tomb and then finally reaching her own she would rest.
It was the grave of her lifelong friend. The resting place of the gravedigger. Their’s was a friendship of happenstance. She, an affluent lonesome bibliophile made friendship with an illiterate outcast gravedigger. Together they would read books. Their love for the cemetery was another connecting link. They made life out of this. Every christmas they used to light up their lives – the ones who couldn’t survive that is. The gravedigger knew each one of them and through him Ms. Donerly knew them. It was a family she never had yet it was the only family she ever had. Every christmas the cemetery lit up with bright colours and the secret santa visited them with black roses. This was the annual ritual. Ms Donerly loved this Christmas.
It was on one such misty christmas morning Ms Donerly had first met the gravedigger. It was her father’s funeral. Several years later on the same day, Ms Donerly found her friend missing. After much coaxing, the authorities told her about his whereabouts. The gravedigger lay buried in his cemetery. Similar to his buried friends, he succumbed to his fate and died of tuberculosis. But Ms Donerly kept him alive. Every thursday she would read in their reading spot – now his resting place. They still read together. Every christmas, they still celebrated. She loved Christmas.
They all loved CHRISTMAS!!!!
But she made a lifelong friend out of it.
AUGUSTINE CHRISTMAS (1825-1880 A.D.) read the epitaph.