She spoke of home in hushed whispers,
far away eyes caught on a memory of Christmas sparkles,
flashes of multi-coloured hues,
framed by snow that resembled icing
from a perfect story-book gingerbread house.
She spoke of warming chilled hands on mismatched mugs of
mulled wine, redolent with heady scents of cinnamon and
anise, sensuously entwined with underlying fragrances of
pine, roast potatoes, ham glazed with ginger marmalade, and
fruit mince generously soaked in brandy from a dusty bottle.
She spoke of hand-sewn stockings hanging from
a mantelpiece supporting an assorted collection of
cards stuffed with well wishes, above a fireplace
that crackled and popped with an authenticity conveying
warmth and tradition.
She spoke of balls of crumpled wrapping paper,
torn edges in greens, gold and crimson, interspersed with
discarded lengths of clumsily curling ribbon,
that told their own tale of thoughtfulness, of preparation,
of satisfaction and excitement.
She spoke of home and a scene
and yet I knew I’d seen it before in
a hundred movies and on
a thousand greeting cards so unsuitable
for my own holiday season.