Christmas is a day of food, family and fun. It is just a day though. Any other day could be celebrated in the same way.

It’s Christmas Day and I’m crying. I can’t remember the last time I cried on Christmas, actually no, that’s a lie. I can remember being told off when I was ten years old after inquiring whether the beach towel Grandad had gotten me had been purchased at The Warehouse. Looking back I realise how this could have been construed, like I was calling him cheap or something.

But I was actually just curious because it was much nicer than the ones dad had bought for my cousins. Anyway today I’m not crying over a towel. Now sixteen years later, I’ve been told off because of how and who I spent my time with on Christmas day.

“You okay boo?” Jordan rubs my back.

“Yeah” I say, but I’m not. “It’s just so fucking hard, every fucking year, everyone wants me to spend the whole bloody day with them and I can’t. “

“They don’t expect you to…”

“But they do. I know they just love me and want to spend time with them but I can’t do it. It’s hard enough looking at everyone’s disappointed faces when we leave.”

“Come here.” He hugs me.

“Seriously though, the self-righteous look on Robyn’s face.”

“She doesn’t get it.”

“They said it was going to run late! How was I supposed to know it was going to be done by two?”

“I think they’re just disappointed you didn’t make it.”

“Why does it matter though? It wasn’t my family. I just wanted to hang with Dad, Rob, Mike and Simone. Chill out, eat some food, and maybe get a little drunk. Why can’t we just do that now?”

“I know.”

“They’re mad at me for not being there, I’m fucking here now, maybe stop sulking and enjoy my fucking company…”

“Stevie.” Dad’s voice calls from the house.

“What?”

“We’re heading over to Mike’s you wanna come?”

“Okay,” then to Jordan “We didn’t come here to hang out with just us did we?”

Jordan shakes his head and I get up and start reapplying makeup on my blotchy puffy face.

“We can’t win, can we boo?” I ask.

“Nope.”

“Seriously, this is exactly the shit that makes me just want to stay in Wellington next year. Let’s see them bitch and moan then.”

This was the final section of the ‘Guilt’ installments, so thank you to anyone reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, even though I end on a bitter note I can assure you that everything worked itself out after awhile. I actually wrote this piece for a travel writing assignment (not super travel-ey but oh well). I know a lot of people who struggle at Christmas time and thought my experiences might be relatable. With Christmas looming and everyone making plans to see family, I can say with a certain amount of relief that I have decided to stay in Wellington for Christmas instead of going “home”. Let me know if you can relate, I would love to hear your experiences.

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