The Inklings: Chapter 39

To read the story from the beginning go here.

When Syafika woke up on Christmas morning she could feel the heat of the sun coming through the closed blinds and wasn’t sure if it was because she’d slept in or because it was going to be a very hot day. It was actually both.

“Its 10am on Christmas morning” realized Syafika when she turned over and looked at her clock. “Will Vincent come for Christmas lunch?” she wondered. Before their fight Vincent and Syafika had agreed that he would come to her place for Christmas and that she would go to his parent’s place on Boxing Day. Perhaps that firm agreement would be enough of an excuse for Vincent to end his display of anger. Syafika felt hopeful but didn’t want to feel that way. She preferred to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.

The thing that was actually making Syafika most anxious about whether Vincent came to lunch or not was that she hadn’t told her parents about their fight, and so she hadn’t warned them that Vincent might not come for Christmas lunch. If Vincent didn’t turn up Syafika’s parents would not only be disappointed, but Syafika would have to put up with them demanding to know why he didn’t come. Syafika hadn’t envisaged her first romance ending with her being dumped. When Syafika’s daydream romances did end it involved her making a passionate break-up speech about how incredibly unfairly she’d been treated.

Syafika put on a nicer outfit than she would have chosen if she was sure that she’d only be spending the day with her family, and then she went to see what her parents were up to.

Rose and Festus had actually been up to a lot. Preparations for Christmas lunch were well underway. Festus had moved the barbeque to the shady driveway and was lighting it, Syafika could smell something roasting in the oven and Rose was making three types of salad. “Three types of salad, at once!” thought Syafika and wondered how it was that her mother managed to always do such a nice Christmas lunch when on other days she usually had trouble boiling eggs or making toast.

The dining table had been decorated with vases of red bougainvillea flowers and set with the best cutlery, plates and glasses. Syafika was imagining who would sit where when she realized that there were only five places laid.

“Mum, why are only five places laid at the table?” Syafika asked.

“Vincent called this morning and said he wouldn’t be coming” answered Rose.

Syafika’s face became very hot with embarrassment. She also felt intense disappointment and realized that she had expected Vincent to come. As the shock subsided Syafika began to feel angry that Vincent and her mother had conspired and made her look like a fool.

Syafika marched into the back garden and sat down to stew, but didn’t stay long because it was very hot and she was very hungry. She sheepishly went back into the kitchen to make some tea, but avoided making eye contact with her mother. Syafika didn’t offer her mother a cup of tea either, although she knew Rose would be dying for one.

While the tea was drawing Syafika opened the packed-full fridge and poked around, looking for something tasty for breakfast that wouldn’t ruin her appetite for lunch.

“Careful!” complained Festus when he came inside and saw Syafika investigating the precariously positioned stacks of food in the fridge. He’d spent quite a bit of time the night before getting everything to fit.

“How can the fridge be so full and not have something good for breakfast in it?” Syafika complained back.

“Have cereal like you have everyday” suggested Rose.

“You can’t have cereal for breakfast on Christmas Day!” said Syafika and she scanned the fridge shelves once more before slowly closing the door.

Syafika took a handful of salted nuts from a bowl on the dining table, and went back to the back yard, slopping some tea on the floor on the way.

“It’s going to be a crap day” Syafika said to herself as she sat down on the very hot iron bench. She slumped and chewed with her mouth open. She didn’t care if she wasn’t being elegant. She thought she may as well be a grumpy slob because nobody loved her even when she tried her best to be lovely. Then Syafika remembered the delicious lunch her parents were making and couldn’t help feeling a bit more positive. “I may as well try to enjoy the one day of the year that Mum makes an effort in the kitchen” thought Syafika.

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