Driving into the town, it had been years since she had been through those all-too-familiar roads and sidewalks. A wave of nostalgia hit her as she was flooded with memories of her childhood. Memories of her father holding her hand as they walked the streets of her hometown shopping for Christmas decorations.
Memories of movie nights with her father and mother. She had always been a daddy's princess. Her father had been a Colonel in the military, so he was away for more time than not and this made her cherish her moments more. Ever since her father's death 6 years ago, she hadn't stepped foot in the town that held so many dear and now bitter-sweet memories. Christmas especially, was a tough time for her. Her dad always ensured that he was home for the annual holiday and filled the house with laughter and joy.
She felt guilty. Her father's death had taken a toll on her. She had completely disregarded her mother's wellbeing. It had been years since she had visited her. Now that she was back in the place where every brick had seen her become into the woman she was now, she felt a wave of emotions overwhelm her. She was wary. She was dubious. She was nervous. She was excited. She could feel her stomach do backflips and she couldn't tell if it was nervousness or anguish. All she knew was that by no means she was ready to face the place that she once called her home.
But as she allowed herself to take into the sights on the way, her crashing emotions became blurred, seeming a distant memory.
The wintry sun illuminated the sky with that special and pale light in a way that only a winter's sun can. The rain from last night made everything shimmer in the weak sunlight. The trees stood naked. Even as cold winds blew, they embraced it. Each branch had tells of green leaves or the sweet blossom within, which would rear its head in spring. There was a certain beauty that the monotony of winter held. Despite being covered in white, the town rejected a single trace of unattractiveness. If anything, it looked like a scene out of a fairytale. The Christmas lights that adorned the houses only added to the picturesque view. The chill in the air had a toothy bite but it failed in dulling the excitement that came with the season of Christmas. The crystalline joy of snowflakes formed a quiet poetry in her head.
Parking her car in front of her mother's house, she realised that she was finally home. Every other coherent thought flew out of her head except one. That she was finally, finally home. She allowed herself to delve in that emotion a little more as she let the tears that she had managed to keep at bay to fall. The air was cold enough that she was stupidly afraid that her tears would freeze as they were falling down, but they only left a cold trail of moisture, making her cheeks even colder.
Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, she felt her mother's warm arms around her and she melted into her embrace. The drastic change in the flood of emotions had drained her. The tears subsided but the mother-daughter duo remained in their embrace. There was an unspoken understanding between them, one that only a mother can have with her child. She understood the pain. Walking inside the house, she felt something inside her settle. She was finally at peace. She was finally home, for Christmas.
It was indeed a Merry Christmas.
Author: Anika Priyaranjan Editor: Hirday Lakhwani