“Come on, come on! Get in the car... What are you wearing? You can’t wear that... What is she doing?”
“She’s doing her hair”, I say to my father.
“She needs to hurry up, we’re going to be late!”
“That’s what you said last year, but that won’t make her any faster”
“Get in the car already!”
Seeing the veins in my father’s neck pop, I decide it would be wise to do as he says. I join my siblings, who are just as anxious as my father, in the car. Momentarily, my mother comes scurrying out the front door with my father right behind her. My siblings’ faces light up at the prospect of finally pulling out of the driveway. My father backs out of the driveway rather dangerously, and I quickly find myself grateful that I’m wearing a seatbelt. After ten minutes on the road, I find it no longer necessary to clutch the back of my mother’s seat. Turning around to see how my siblings have fared, I chuckle to find the colour returning to their faces.
“You’re one to laugh”, my brother says “I can still see the marks your nails left in the back of Mom’s seat”. I consider saying something to defend my honor, but the thought of my father getting agitated behind the wheel is enough to keep my lips sewn together.
I grind my teeth and keep my fingers crossed that my father doesn’t go over eighty five on the freeway the entire drive. Eventually, we arrive at my grandmother’s house. I step outside the car and stretch my legs slowly. I stroll up to the door, taking in the warm air, the golden sky, and the sun peeking over the horizon. As I take a step inside my grandmother’s house, I’m warmly greeted by a Christmas fragrance. The scents of apple pie, Douglas-fir, and a roast turkey dance about the house to the Christmas songs playing on the stereo. My siblings and I quickly gorge ourselves on the buffet before us. Once I’m in a sleepy, yet happy, haze and comfortably full, my father tells my siblings and I that it is time to open presents. My sister’s eyes get as big as bowling balls, and she shrieks with delight. Everyone at my grandmother’s Christmas eve party gathers in her living room. Once everyone has received their gifts, we all begin to tear off the wrapping paper. I see my sister tearing her presents open so viciously that the air around her is littered with confetti. Even though I got exactly what I asked for, every present I open is a thrill. Soon enough though, the thrills are over, and we’re all cleaning up the aftermath.
One by one, all of my relatives depart saying their thanks and wishing us all a merry Christmas. My siblings, once content with all the food and gifts they received, are now growing exponentially impatient. I find myself checking the clock every two minutes. My father just continues to talk and talk and talk. He’s not even having a riveting conversation, it’s just pointless small talk that he is needlessly dragging out. From the glossy look in my mother’s eyes it is apparent that even she thinks it’s time to go.Yet my father goes on and on about this subject or the next, the endless conversation is killing us all. My younger brother, anxious that we might not get home before Santa comes, chews his nail down to his cuticle.
“Daddy, when are we leaving?”, my little sister asks.
“Soon”, he replies mechanically. Great, so he yells at all of us before we leave, nearly kills us getting here, and now he refuses to leave even though everyone all our other relatives left over an hour ago. My mother notices my frustration and beckons me over. She hugs me and says,”Look at your father”. I turn around to look at him. Although he is engaged in pointless small talk, he is utterly absorbed in the conversation. His beaming smile stretching from ear to ear seems to brighten the room. When I look at my grandparents, I see that they too are equally absorbed. They’re simply glad to be in each other’s company. I have been selfish. I only wanted to come to my grandmother’s Christmas eve party to eat her food and get my presents and then leave. I missed the whole purpose she has the party every year.
At 10:30 we pile ourselves and our gifts into the car in a rush. My father plans on making the ninety minute drive home only an hour to beat Santa. Just before we leave, I ask him, ” Why do you always stay so late?”
“Every year I want the same thing, and every year I get it. You know, someday you’ll drive more than an hour and a half to see your mom and me. Hopefully, you’ll also want to stay for so long”, he says before his lead foot pins the gas pedal to the floor.
Nicolas "Nico" George '16