Merry Christmas to Us

What happens when you try to go away for Christmas? 

(Obviously I’m neither Leslie or Frankie…)

Leslie Sinclair’s didn’t have anyone. His parents both died when he was young and having moved around to countless relatives, he had run away as soon as he turned 16.

Somehow Leslie made it through school, and even managed to go to university. There, he met his future wife.

Frankie’s childhood was the exact opposite of her husband’s. Her parents were, at the moment, comfortably nestled in their beachfront condo in Miami. Her oldest brother and his family moved into the house where she grew up.

“Darling, what should we do for Christmas?” Frankie dared to start th conversation neither of them were looking forward to.

“You know I can’t handle another Christmas at your brother’s again this year. All I hear about is the newest car or the brand new tv. Let’s do something different.” Leslie looked up from the morning paper and put it on the table beside his bowl of cereal. “Why don’t we go somewhere instead? How about somewhere warm.” He looked over at his wife who was dishing up fruit salad for them both.

“I suppose we could but they’d all be so disappointed. Don’t you enjoy any part of the holidays?” She turned around and looked at him.

“You know I do, Sweetheart. But I think I’ll enjoy spending time with you when it’s just the two of us.”

Frankie walked over to the table and placed the bowl in front of him. “Eat up.” I have to get to work. I’ll see you tonight.”

Leslie stood at the counter and finished his breakfast. He could hear his wife getting ready to head out. As she was putting on her shoes and coat, he wandered out of the hallways. “Leave the holiday to me, Frankie. I promise we’ll have Christmas with your brothers.”

Frankie walked over to where Leslie was standing, propped up against the door frame. She gave him a quick kiss goodbye then sighed. “Okay. Let’s go somewhere for Christmas. We’ll spend New Years with them.” She picked up her purse then opened the door. “Merry Christmas, Les!”

Leslie watched his wife pick her way down the icy walkway. Once she was safely in the car and on her way, he closed the door and walked to the back of the house to his office.

The door went by quickly and Leslie was just clicking the purchase button for airline tickets when Frankie came through the door. “Did you have a good day?” He called to her as she took hr coat off.

“It was slow day. Unusual for this time of year, which isn’t bad but I’m hoping it’s not going to be worse tomorrow.” She set the grocery bags on the kitchen counter. Leslie came out to the kitchen with the pages he printed out. “It’s an early Christmas present.” He handed her the itinerary and couldn’t help smiling as he watched her surprise turn into excitement.

“We’re going to the islands for Christmas? Really? We’ll be spending Christmas Day on a tropical beach somewhere?” Her eyes sparkled with happiness. “Oh, Mr. Sinclair. Thanks you.”

Leslie smiled as the excitement changed into a smouldering stare. “Thank you.” She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a lingering kiss. “I shouldn’t be this excited about not spending it with the family but strangely I’m not.”

The next few weeks seemed to drag for them. The promise of an escape from the routine Christmas celebration kept them going.

As the day drew nearer, Frankie started feeling more and more guilty. She didn’t say anything but Leslie knew she wasn’t ready to leave for the holidays.

He never said a word but he’d leave little messages and pictures to remind her of the great vacation waiting for them. He knew she was finally coming around to the idea and she found a present on the bed one night.

Opening it she found a beautiful new emerald green bikini. When she tried it on, the last few doubts and pangs of guilt evaporated.

Leslie knew she was finally fully won over that night when he walked into the bedroom and Frankie was busily packing the suitcase.

“Darling, we still have 4 days.” He laughed as he watched her pack.

“I know but I can’t wait. Besides, what if I need to do some laundry?”

“Honey, all you need is your swimsuit, a few dresses and a pair of sandals. The swimsuit might not even be absolutely necessary.”

She laughed but refused to listen to Leslie’s packing recommendations.

That night heavy clouds rolled in and they woke up to the dismal sight of thick grey clouds that were just brimming with snow. They couldn’t believe their luck. “If only it’ll hold off until after we leave” Frankie moaned.

“Don’t worry, it will.” Leslie kept reassuring her and true to his word, somehow the snow held off. They headed off to the airport early Saturday morning with their fingers crossed that their flight was on time.

After checking in and getting through security, they had just enough time for a coffee before boarding.

As they settled into their seats, Frankie sighed and let the stress and tension from the holidays slide off her. “You were right. This was a really good idea.” She slipped her hand in Leslie’s and closed her eyes.

The flight was a little rough for a while but once they passed the storm it was uneventful for next hour. The plane hit some turbulence and it became so violent the captain come on the intercom and announced they were going to have to divert to Miami until further notice.

No one on the flight protested; they all just wanted to land safely somewhere.

Once the plane had landed and Frankie and Leslie had disembarked, they stood around deciding what to do. “Should we continue on? They don’t know how long we may be stuck here.” Leslie looked at his wife, waiting for her to make a decision.

“Why don’t we go to the ticket counter to see what the airline is going to do.” They headed over and spoke with an airline representative.

After learning the next available flight for them wouldn’t be until Christmas Eve, Leslie excused himself and made a call. Returning to the desk, he told the representative to change their tickets.

Frankie looked at her husband and he told her they’d be spending Christmas with her parents. She laughed and gave him a hug and they headed out to the baggage carousel.

After collecting their bags, they got a taxi and headed out to her parents’. “At least we packed appropriately. At least they don’t live in Wisconsin.” Leslie laughed. Frankie’s ability to always find the silver lining is what originally made him fall in love with her.

As they pulled up to the condo, Frankie’s parents came over to the cab to greet them. Frankie’s Dad helped Leslie with the bags as Frankie and her mother caught up.

 

Once they were settled into the guest room, Frankie and Leslie joined her parents in the living room and with a glass of spiked eggnog in hand and a tray of appetizers in the oven, they were ready to enjoy Christmas in Miami.

© Sandra O’Driscoll 2012

 

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