The Grinch

(A Christmas Tale, Cape Town – 24/12/2017)

I don’t like Christmas. Or lets put it this way, it makes me apprehensive. And the truth is that Christmas always disappoints me. Although if we are really accurate, then we should say it never does: everytime is as deceiving as I expect. Maybe I should look it that way. Christmas always deliver the drama that is inbuilt in it.

Last Christmas I stayed away from a family one. It was going to be a fun one. I was on a sabbatical, in sunny Cape Town and with no duties of any kind.

One of my Cape Town friends, Legolas, invited me to the Christmas Eve dinner party he was organising. I met Legolas when we were teaming together in the Fellowship of the Ring, but that is another story and movie.

Twelve people were attending to the dinner. Like in the last supper. Twelve gay men. What a contrast to the standard family dinner.

– ‘Yes, it was going to be fun’ – I thought.  Lighthearted silly witty funky time in opposition to the heaviness that I always have in my family Christmas celebration. I do love my family but their heaviness is sometimes bit of too much.

One day before the dinner, I went out with Legolas for a sundowner. ‘A warm up for tomorrow’– I thought – ‘So I can meet some of the attendees, which will make tomorrow’s easier’. Because, believe or not, I am bit shy. Although I manage it better as I get old.

I had few drinks with Legolas and the people he introduced to me on that evening, but I went home early. I know myself and if I have a heavy night, the next day I am grumpy and, therefore, not very social.

Those who know me might say at this point that I am always grumpy…. but I can be way way grumpier. As well again, this is another condition I am managing better as I get older.

The next morning I did few bits and bots. Read my book, took a bit of sun and bought some wine and chocolates for the dinner. Phoned my family to wish them a great evening and I got myself prepared. Legolas texted me to check with me that I was going to be in time.

What happened over the next hours would certainly make an unforgettable Christmas.

I arrived to Legolas’ place in time. But we were six people only. Good! It is good not to be the last person joining. So I started to chat with the people. But soon I realised that I was the last person to arrive. Apparently the missing people dropped or never confirmed. That was weird, but still six people could be a good bunch. Actually more manageable than twelve. So there was a good side to it.

There was some table food and snacks, just to get started, I assumed. But before anyone would make an attempt to get seated, one of the guys presented his excuses and told everyone he was going home.

Apparently the gang from the night before had a long night. So he was tired. And, same as me, he wasn’t a very sociable guy when tired.

That was odd. We were down to five.

Few minutes later down the line, the host went to the toilet. But after several min he did not get back. That was even more odd. As he was not responding to our calls we decided to look for him….. When we went to check on him, we found a sweet Christmas scene.

Our host was peacefully sleeping at his bed. The long night the day before made him feel unwell/tired. So, like in the tale, our host was sleeping peacefully. But, unlike the tale, prince charming would not wake him up with a kiss.

We were down to four.

The four remaining people: an israeli/dutch couple, a friend of Legolas and myself tried to continue the momentum and live to the Christmas spirit. But the air became weird at that point and soon the couple decided to leave. I don’t know at which point they agreed such thing… perhaps a look into the eyes of the other was sufficient to do it.

So the couple left. We were down to two.

At this point it was clear that the evening would not bounce back. So Legolas’ friend and I started to clear the place. Thank god there was no table set or a meal cooked. Just the finger food and snacks. So we managed to clear everything and left for the gay bar, which by the way, was empty.

It was certainly a rather different celebration for Christmas Eve.

Next morning, noise in the house woke me up. Although the house was empty the previous day, the following one was full of people. And the kitchen was cramped with my other two housemates cooking a big meal.

Apparently they were organising a big Christmas meal for them and their friends. I was not informed about that, so I immediately understood I was not part of the plan. I embraced my dignity mode, to ensure they would not invite me because embarrassment or obligation.

I pretended I had plans for the day and I got out of the house as quickly as I could. Left the house with no plan or place to go. But the good thing about being in Cape Town during Christmas is that I could go to the beach.

And that was what I did. Spent the whole day at the beach in the most unconventional way I ever spent Christmas. Sunbathing in my swimwear.

I wanted an unforgettable Christmas and that is what I had. That is for sure. Careful what you wish for, they say……

Needless to say I was grumpy most of that day. But I already said I am a grumpy man.

Merry Christmas everyone.