I woke up Christmas morning at five o’clock in the morning. There was no alarm. No light shining through the window into my eye. No noise in the house. No reason at all for me to wake up, but I was wide awake. It’s Christmas, I thought. It’s Christmas… and I’m happy. I threw off the covers and shuffled towards the kitchen.
Teddy was also up, and already in the living room with his coffee and newspaper. Upon seeing me awake, and coherent, this early, his little mouth dropped open. He was stunned into silence, though.
“Merry Christmas, Teddy.” This was probably the first time in ten years I’ve wished someone a merry Christmas without an inner smirk. I poured myself some coffee, and decided that today would be a day to remember with fondness, and I would do everything to make it that way. I moved to the couch, taking a spot beside Teddy and stealing the comics page. (Teddy really only reads the sports and business sections. He says that comics are frivolous and that the jokes today aren’t nearly as funny as they were when he was a cub.)
“Despite our arrangement,” I said, “I wish I’d gotten you a present. Maybe She and I will follow through on our talk about taking you to Build-a-Bear and getting you some new clothes.”
Teddy shrugged. Our arrangement is the same one I make with all of my friends. Don’t buy me presents, and I won’t buy you presents. If you see something you want, buy it and call it a gift from me. I’ll do likewise, and that way we both get something we want, and neither has the stress of shopping and guessing.
“I also wish I’d gotten Her a present,” I said, then took another long sip of coffee. “But I’d want Her to pick the trumpet out herself. I wouldn’t be comfortable buying an instrument for someone else without them picking it.”
Teddy rolled his eyes at me. I think he was pretending to be sick of me talking about Her so much, but I know he’s just as crazy about her.
“All right, Teddy,” I grinned. “It’s time for me to make a memory. Hold down the fort for me, and I’ll see you tonight. I’ll probably be bringing Her back here with me, so don’t make a mess.”
Teddy looked offended that I’d suggest the possibility, but just last weekend he had gotten incredibly drunk during the Bengals game (He’s a huge Cincinnati fan. I had to keep flipping it back and forth between that and the Bears game.) and ended up face down on the couch in a puddle of drool, with two empty beers discarded beside him. She ended up finding him like that when she popped over. He was fairly embarrassed about the situation.
I took a shower, put on some semi-clean clothes, and drove out to the parents’ house. I got there just before seven o’clock, and all the windows were dark. I let myself in through the back door, and tiptoed to their room. After a quick listen just to make sure they weren’t having Christmas sex (EEEEEW!), I busted in and started yelling.
“It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas! Wake up! Santa came!!!” This was the first time in my entire life that I’ve woken up before my parents on Christmas morning. I wanted to give them at least one experience that most parents have.
“Coffee!” Mom growled at me! “Make us coffee!”
For the sake of brevity, because I still have the entire rest of the day to get through and I hate typing up Virginia-Belle-length novels, I will say that my presents were exactly what I’d asked for this year. It was pretty awesome. I also took the time to apologize to my parents for any previous Christmas that I lessened the enjoyment of because of my grumpiness.
We drove out to my aunt’s house and celebrated out there with my cousins. Alex, my little tomboy cousin, and I ended up playing in the yard most of the day. It’s amazing how chasing a five-year-old around in the yard makes you forget that it’s 33 degrees (Just over 0 Celsisus, Len) outside. I had a GREAT time out there.
After that, we went by to see my grandpa. Another aunt and cousin were there, and everyone sat around and talked to each other, while ignoring Granddaddy. Granted, I think that he was sleepy, but I just felt like it was the most incredibly rude thing I’ve ever witnessed. He looked well, but he also looks like a man who has lost the will to bother anymore.
Once I was back home, I checked on Teddy just to make sure he hadn’t had any she-bears over and made a mess, and then I was off to pick up Strutter for a little get-together at Phloxen’s place. I was still riding the high from the previous day, when she told me that she’d ended things with that other guy. On the drive over to Phloxen’s, Strutter tells me she’s feeling cranky. It was expected, really, considering that she’d just ended a relationship. I offered to back off and give her time to get over it, and she didn’t want to do that. So I decided to stick it out and endure the crankiness.
After a couple of hours jamming out some Rock Band songs, the crankiness was replaced with snuggling on the couch and watching a movie, which was soon replaced with her grabbing my hand and telling everyone we were leaving, which was followed by lots of smooching back at my place, and a conversation I hadn’t expected to have. A conversation that I was going to put off for a month or so. A conversation that ended up giving me the best present of the day.
Stuckey has an “official” girlfriend.