’Tis the season to be jollyDecember 24, 2022
“Lucky fish,” I think watching the plane speck in the sky. My friend’s kids are jetting in from all four corners of the earth to be with him for Christmas.
But the one sitting with me on my stoep is not that lucky. Being a moffie – that term we used growing up for our small-town hairdressers, he laughingly reminds me – his family have turned their backs on him decades ago.
The one sister that embraced his gayness died years ago; the other one’s husband is vehemently against the pink brigade, so he spends Christmas all alone. Or he did at least last year, when I decided not to have a long Christmas table filled with broken wings. And the year before when Covid forced us to become hermits.
“Ag, doll, it’s not that bad,” he tells me after the fourth beer. “It’s life and I’ve made peace with it.”
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He flappingly tells me about the chicken he’s stuffing this year; the table on his small Hillbrow balcony that he stitched “a fabulous” new Christmas cloth for; the crystal champagne glass he takes out every year.
He tears up when he gets to his mom’s silverware that nice Sis “stole” for him when they packed Mom up, but I blame the fourth beer. I shouldn’t blame the booze: it’s the season to be jolly, but the tears flow easily for most, especially now.
We blame “a tough year” for our thin nerves, but methinks it’s because we peep into our overfilled Christmas stockings and take stock.
We unpack the death of that special friend you didn’t have time to properly mourn yet; we unwrap the memory of special people who crossed our paths and drifted away – and we get melancholy. Because taking stock makes life real.
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We realise how much we have lost and how little we’ve gained in just a year. So I’m stopping the tears and will set a place for my moffie at my Christmas table – right next to the place Daughter won’t fill this year – whether he pitches or not.
The invitation is out there and he’ll know he is wanted. And that’s my wish for you: tell someone you’re setting an extra place at your feast. You never know who may just need it. Have a wonderful Christmas.