She woke up on December 26th, and it was Christmas Day. That is, it should have been December 26th when she woke up, but instead it was Christmas again. The exact same Christmas that she had lived the day before.
A lot of people would be thrilled for Christmas Day to get stuck in a Bill Murray Groundhog Day loop. She would normally be one of those people, but this particular Christmas was one she had been happy to be done with.
They weren’t traveling to see family this year, so it was just the two of them. He promised the day would be special. Based on the hints it was pretty obvious he planned to propose on Christmas. Well, it had seemed pretty obvious to her, but that’s not what happened.
She anxiously sat though the multi-course breakfast he got up early to prepare. It was delicious, but she desperately wanted to get to the gifts.
When it was finally time to unwap presents she wasn’t sure which box to open first. They were both much bigger than a ring box. She decided to start with the one that was size of a shirt box.
It was a shirt.
Well, a sweater. Definitely not a ring.
The next box was much larger, but it was full of crumpled paper. She dug through it getting more and more excited until she finally came to
Not a ring.
She spent the rest of the day waiting for the big reveal. Lunchtime? Watching a movie? Looking at Christmas lights? Dinner? Dessert? But there was no ring and no proposal.
She went to bed feeling grumpy, disappointed, and stupid. She was happy the day was over.
But it wasn’t.
Here she was again watching him make his signature french toast and maple-glazed bacon. Here she was opening a sweater. Here she was digging through paper to reveal a book. Here she was not being surprised about not getting a big surprise.
On that second Christmas she was visibly annoyed. He often asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she grumbled.
On the third Christmas she was opening bitchy. That Christmas night ended in a fight.
On the fourth Christmas she was so rude that the fighting started at breakfast. She said horrible things. He stormed out and left.
But there he was back the next morning cheerfully making breakfast again. She laughed at the absurdity.
“What are you laughing about?”
But she was delirious and emotionally drained. She kept laughing at odd moments throughout the day. That made him laugh, which made her laugh more. For real. Because she started having fun.
When she woke up on the sixth Christmas she stopped thinking about what wouldn’t happen and instead enjoyed what would.
For the first time, she savored her wonderful breakfast.
For the first time she looked, really looked, at the sweater. It was lovely. Just her style. And the book was something she had really wanted.
For the first time she truly paid attention as he opened the gifts she had gotten him. He liked them. That made her happy.
For the first time in six versions of this Christmas she realized that it actually was a very good Christmas, mostly because of this man who loves her and who did wonderful things for her all day.
She kissed him.
He kissed her back.
Eventually they fell asleep in each others’ arms in the light of the Christmas tree.
And that’s where she woke up. Not in bed as she had on too many December 25ths but on the floor by the Christmas tree as she only had done on this very first December 26th.
December 26th was a wonderful day.
As was December 27th and December 28th and December 29th and December 30th.
And then on December 31st, New Year’s Eve, he asked her to marry him.
After her tearful “yes,” he told her that he had really wanted to propose on Christmas, but the ring hadn’t been ready.
She kissed him and said this was much better. Because it was.
* * * * *
- A new coworker and an empty office on Christmas Eve
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- The holiday spirit flowed through me
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