S01, Episode 2: Christmas
Is he The One?
The one who might just be The One.
OK. I have to be straight with you. I hate romance. And what the hell is The One anyway?
I've always thought it sounds like an unmentionable below the belt buckle 'condition' possibly with some festering and pustules. The sort of thing one's elderly aunt will say in bosom heaving, disparaging terms about an acquaintance.
‘You know according to Mrs Smith, he has The One.’ Whilst rolling her eyes suggestively toward the crotch area.
Look the truth is I've been married before and was hardly the blushing bride on our wedding night. I wasn't always a mother and house goddess, much to the surprise of my darling children. Hey, it was the 90's...sex, clubs and appalling alcho-pops. Maybe that's why this business about soul mates and one person made-just-for-you hasn't seemed kosher to me.
It turns out that marrying someone out of context doesn't always end in happiness.
My ex and I married in a madcap ceremony in South Africa. I mean crazy with a capital C. We tied the knot in downtown Jo'burg, at the time the murder capital of the world. Escorted by our friends who were 'packing heat' for fear of robbery. The ceremony was interrupted by goats wandering in, people selling trinkets and someone getting arrested in the hallway. Not only that but the registrar had to keep taking off his prosthetic arm due to the heat.
With that auspicious start, we had 5 years of wedded...something. Travelling or being on holiday with someone doesn't prepare you for how they will perform in 'normal' life. We weren't very good at normal. We did manage to produce two brilliant daughters: Lily and Daisy. Inevitably the marriage broke down - maybe that's why I'm not into the romance stuff.
Or, I could blame Mother. Insanely independent and the most un-romantic woman the world has ever produced. Kind of weird though as my grandparents had the most amazing love story, ditto my aunt and uncle. Mother ever was the rebel and her influence certainly rubbed off.
The problem is Ross might just be The One.
Here he is at my door in my hour of need, with life-saving wine and a Christmas tree, of course.
He is smiling and my knees go weak - oh god, I'm living in a rom-com.
‘Mummy! Looks it's a biggg tree!’ exclaims the wide-eyed Daisy.
And big it is, dwarfing her tiny 6-year-old frame. She tries to hug it and then she tries to hug Ross, holder of the tree.
‘Ow! Too many pickles.’
Ross manoeuvres the beast into the tiny sitting room and together we position it, pickles and all. Not a bad job considering we are reliant on 10-year-old Lily shining the light from an iPhone to guide us.
‘Lily! At the tree, please!’
‘Lily! We can't see...!’
‘Lily...get it out of your face. No, no you are NOT a ghost!’
Now, I don't want you to imagine I need a man to solve my problems. Even one as good as Ross. Besides he's far too big to fit into the tiny electric cupboard and wrestle the ancient fuses back into action. Plus I was already formulating an artistically created Christmas tree from gathered driftwood. The local beach storms offered some fabulous specimens that would have made a unique treeish decoration.
But even I am ready to admit after a frazzled few days it is a wonderful respite to have some support. It helps when that support happens to be gorgeous, tall and kind. Oh damn, I'm getting weak at the knees again.
‘Mum! I have a question...’ Lily always has a question.
‘Yes, what?!' I begin to realise how chaotic the whole place looks - my cobwebbed hair included.
‘Could a wolf take on a Tyrannosaurs Rex?’ Wolves are the current obsession. ‘Ahwoooooooo!’
‘Erm, possibly.’ It is wise to be vague to cut off further questions. ‘Let's get this place sorted, shall we?’
‘Ahwoooooo.....Roar!’ A fierce wolf vs dino battle ensues. I sigh.
‘Mummy, can I pretty the tree?’ Daisy begs.
‘After we get the place tidy, darling.’
I go in search of boxes with decorations, sort the piles of laundry and attempt to cook dinner. Only to return to wolf costumes festooned across the floor and glitter everywhere, including all over Ross. Oh boy, I hope he likes kids.
I need to give you some background, I suppose. Ross hasn’t just appeared with magical Christmas trees, wine and sexiness. He did exist before. Long time before.
We met back in the '90s. You know that insane decade where we convinced ourselves that we could take drugs responsibly, party for twenty-four hours straight and still hold down a job?
We were introduced by a mutual friend and all Hell. Broke. Loose.
It was one of those Taylor-Burton explosions. Everyone around had to take cover. The main challenge was we were at very different points in where we were going and what we wanted. I was starting my own art business - he was starting a university degree. I wanted to get the hell out of Aberdeen - he had just come back to Aberdeen.
I wanted white, he wanted black at almost every turn. And yet.
There was this 'thing'. We couldn't be in the same room without the fireworks. We were drawn to each other. It didn't matter what was happening around us all we could see was each other. This carried on for a few years causing a large degree of carnage, regrettably hurting a few folks along the way.
Until I couldn't take it anymore. I ran away to London.
And that was that.
Fast forward 20 years to a brief Facebook conversation, followed by a series of messages and a realisation that we were still very much in love. We decided to give it a proper go but I lived 500 miles away.
I'd move back to Aberdeen. And it was going to be wonderful...because this time, I had sold myself on being organised, relaxed and in control. Sort of.
When I began planning this move and imagined a blissful scene of us decorating the tree, singing and having a fairytale Christmas. Well, it might have come true. The kids race up to bed with stockings in hand, I wonder if the whole neighbourhood can hear the excited shrieking! Tucking the girls into bed with each demanding hugs and kisses from Ross my heart does a small flip. I didn't realise I wanted love not only for myself but for the kids, too.
Ross and I collapse with wine and chat. I could have made a magical Christmas Eve but it has definitely been more fun as a team.
I look around the room, in the low candlelight and chaos of boxes, it looks like the beginnings of a home. Ross smiles at me, still a little sparkly from all the glitter, yeah, he might be The One.
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