A special Friday treat as the 12 Days of Creepfest creeps on... don't forget you can enter to WIN a bunch of great e-books! Check here for the details and rules: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html
Emotions run especially high during the holidays, and I asked the wonderful Red Tash to share a 'my true love gave to me' tale. The results are very moving. Thanks for sharing with us.
My true love gave to me...
The lovely and elegant Ruth Barrett has graciously invited coarse, gruesome me to submit a guest blog about an amazing Christmas gift for her readers to enjoy. I keep thinking about it. My stories are so long, and guest posts are generally lauded for brevity.
What to do?
I keep thinking of this story, but it’s not the type of thing I usually share. It’s not funny, and it’s so personal—but as they say in one of my fave Christmas flicks, “At Christmas, you tell the truth,” so why not? (First one to name that movie wins a copy of This Brilliant Darkness, by the way.)
A few years ago, I was newly divorced and deeply ensconced in a rebound relationship. She was an exciting, intelligent, mischievous woman, and I fell for her.
But we fought. She was very troubled. I was not just walking on eggshells constantly--I was walking on eggshells on top of broken glass, floating on a sea of razor blades. Every day was another drama.
Finally, something horrible happened. It didn't happen to me, and it didn't happen to her, but it happened to us. A mutual friend was brutally attacked on the eve of the holidays. It was a traumatic experience for the victim, obviously, but I watched as my then-girlfriend lost herself in our friend’s suffering. She was an angry woman, and she began to channel the anger that the victim didn’t seem to be able to process.
I could read the writing on the wall, but I didn’t know how to stop it. I hummed Christmas tunes and hoped for the best, and turned my attention to my kids.
Finally, on Christmas Eve Eve, it all blew up. More than once in my life, I have stood up to adult temper tantrums. I have out-shouted the shouters, and I have defended myself physically from attackers. This particular Christmas, though, I was a different person. While they screamed and broke things, I quietly gave up. I never raised my voice, I never got angry, I just said to my girl "You better take your friend and go." I was grateful my children were not at home.
I will never forget the look on face of the woman, as she turned and assassinated me with her eyes. I felt the adrenaline spike through my veins like instant snakebite, but I said no more.
I sat for hours next to the Christmas tree that night, surfing the internet, having some retail therapy. I kept waiting for the tears to start. I'd been through break-ups before, and it had been so awful, so wrenching, that I swore to myself I would never do that again.
It was two a.m. before I picked up the phone and called my best friend. I told him what happened. I felt like this was what I was supposed to do. Just, you know—tell someone. He was reassuring, and kind.
Even though it was early, he didn’t seem disturbed that I'd woken him in the middle of the night. He just listened. He wasn't surprised. I could hear in his voice the desire to both congratulate me and commiserate with my suffering. He'd been through his own romantic foibles that season, and he’d listened to me through all my confusion, from my divorce to my stormy rebound romance.
“Why can’t people just be content to live a boring, drama-free life?” I asked him.
We talked about how great it would be to just be able to share a life with a partner who enjoyed spending time together. Someone who didn’t have to fight all the time. Someone who wanted the same things that we wanted.
I think I knew that night that he was that person for me, although it would be months before I was willing to risk the gift of his precious friendship and confess.
I did not fall in love with my best friend that night, but I did receive his love—his true, honest friendship, which is the most important kind of love, as far as I’m concerned. It forms the basis for everything else we strive for in our relationships, in my opinion.
No, that night--Christmas Eve Eve, I fell in love with my life. A life that no one else controlled, that no one else had the final say over. I knew that night, no matter where I lived, no matter how much or how little money I had, it was far better to be alone and be at peace with my choices than to be accompanied in sorrow.
It may not be a scary, kooky, or funny story, but Ruth asked for amazing, and honestly, I think that was the most amazing Christmas I’ve ever had. Sitting alone in a quiet, peaceful house, my dog at my feet and the voice of a friend on the other end of the phone, I drifted to sleep, in heavenly peace.
Red Tash is the author of dark fantasy/paranormal thriller This Brilliant Darkness, an Amazon Top Twenty Dark Fantasy, as well as a free contemporary short entitled The Wizard Takes a Holiday. Visit http://redtash.com/ for buy links, reviews, and other cool stuff, including updates on her forthcoming YA fantasy, Troll or Derby, about a roller skating fairy who takes on a troll drug lord in a quest to free her sister from his clutches.