I met Orna, through the glorious joys of Twitter. We’re now in a writing group together and though she’s a little busy these days with a tiny bundle she’s been blessed with, Orna still managed to add a story to the collection which I’m delighted about.
Inspired by recent events I’ll wager… 🙂
The Countdown by Orna Richella
It had all crept up on her. Weeks ago this Saturday had seemed so far away. Kerry had tried to be prepared and spent hours planning what had to be done and how she could do it all. She had written detailed to-do lists. There were even lists of lists as she organized the lists by time and type. The reality was that much on those lists still had to be done as she had been so sick and exhausted. Then the worry about the tasks undone had begun to creep into the dark hours, stealing her sleep and leaving her shattered every morning. It shouldn’t matter so much, but she wanted it all to be perfect, she felt she would be a failure if she could not manage all she had planned given the time she had had to prepare.
The meal plans were written for every day, but she had yet to do the shopping. The letters needed to be finished and put in the post. The laundry was washed but waiting to be ironed so she could dress the bed in the guest room. The cleaning….if only she had the energy to finish the cleaning. The in-laws were due the weekend after so everything needed to be sorted now. Before. Normally she had all her presents bought and wrapped weeks before. That half sorted list now particularly grated on her nerves. It reminded her of how she was not even able to do her own normal.
Every year Christmas seemed to creep up on her a little bit more but she was always able to pull something special out of the bag with a bit of physical effort and a late night shopping/wrapping/decorating session. This year was different. This year she needed it to be special. Perfect. Because this was the first time she would be the ringmaster. Everyone was coming to her home for the big day to be there for this most special of Christmases. She stared at the alarm clock, the digital dial counting down in fluorescent green numbers and felt the panic rise and the sense of dread at letting everyone down and not coping. It was here. Saturday had come. In a couple of hours she would be checked in and wouldn’t be coming home until it was all done. The bag was packed and by the door. She could hear Mark snoring gently beside her so relaxed. None of this depended on him.
Slowly the light crept under the blind, sharp and sparkling on the frost-filmed world outside. As the room awoke from the gloom Kerry said a quiet prayer for help and the strength to get through it all. Calm settled around her unexpectedly as she thought of the first Christmas. The story of a family beginning in the most unremarkable yet amazing way. The true reason for all the celebrations hit home to her and she realized all would be fine. By tomorrow at latest all the unfinished lists and tasks would be meaningless as she would be holding her very own miracle. Because this Christmas would be the best ever…because it was all about the birth of a child.
Follow Orna Richella on Twitter @ornarichella