Kate Ennals – Christmas Eve at the Neighbours


Christmas Eve at the Neighbours

by Kate Ennals

We unclasp the gate, walk up the garden path.
We see a silver tree in the window.
It flashes and sparkles.

Inside six children race about.
they charge between the low lit kitchen
and the flickering blue light of the lounge
to paw at a pile of presents.
We poke our heads round the door
to say hello to Vince
where he lies sprawled, watching TV.
Six santi socks hang in a row
on the back of the leather settee
he raises a glass.
Mary pours a G&T
In the orderly kitchen
where not a dish is out of place.
She shows us eight Christmas dinners neatly plated:
two slices of turkey, two scoops of cream potatoes,
brussel sprouts, green beans, stuffing,
congealed gravy splashed accross the top.
“I cooked it all today” she says with pride.
“Do you eat on Christmas Eve?”
“No. I’ll stick it in the micro wave
tomorrow. It leaves me free to have a few.”

Imagaine, Christmas day with no hot oven,
no peeling, no lists with things to do,
no rows about carving.

As we sip our drink
We hear a slap and Vince roar
“Go to bed or there’ll be no Santa!”
We pretend we haven’t heard.
We clink our glasses,
We take our leave.

The children clatter up the stairs.
near midnight as we stuff stockings,
Three doors up
We hear her screams.



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