“We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year”
The song of Christmas filled my ears as I alighted from the bus and I smiled. I looked around once more before moving to the section where I’ll get a cab to my destination and observed the surroundings.
Everywhere smelt Christmas! It was as if Santa Claus himself decided to put up some extra cologne before walking around this place in preparation for Christmas.
It wasn’t even Christmas yet and everywhere seems so loving, beautiful and cozy. I guess I made the right decision by taking this job offer for Christmas.
I mean, it was like killing two birds with a stone. I get to enjoy the spirit of Christmas in a place like this and still even earn. Even though I hesitated for a moment when my neighbor’s son who I rarely see, Declan, told me someone was needed in a castle in a town where we worked for extra work in their kitchen, I’m glad I never said no and I hope I don’t regret saying yes.
Declan informed me that he worked close to the castle and insisted that it’ll be fun being there together even though I’d known him for only just two days. He was funny and cute, making it easier to communicate with him.
Everywhere around me was magical. I gathered myself better into the coat as I was wearing and wished I’d worn a thicker sweater instead of the light, red one I’d put on in a hurry.
Why was I in a hurry?
Because it was a last minute decision to come to this town and take this job that’ll be paying for my next year’s rent before my landlord comes barging on my door and starts spewing curses like a sailor who had learnt a little bit of Spanish with pidgin English while in Africa.
He sounded like a drunken cow sometimes, almost making me throw up at the sound of his voice.
Well, the throwing up is majorly because of how nervous I get whenever he starts knocking at March to remind me that my rent will be due in December and if I refuse to reply, he’ll cut off my water for a few days.
Word of advice friend; don’t ever rent a house where you’ll have to live with your landlord.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s full of joy, nostalgia, and generosity. It deserved to be spent with family but sometimes, situations warrant for it to be spent far away from home.
A cab driver waved at me, signaling that he was available to go anywhere. I moved closer to him, dragging my luggage behind me.
“Joyeux Noel″ He said smiling brightly at me with a red Christmas hat on his head and a bright red scarf around this neck. The people around this town must love Christmas.
“Sorry I don’t speak French” I waved him off when I saw that he was trying to say something else.
Guess I’ll have to look for a different driver then.
“Neither do I” He grabbed my attention before I could look around to see if there was another cab driver available.
“Excuse me?” I asked confusingly.
“I don’t know how to speak French either ma’am. Joyeux Noel is just a way of greeting around here during Christmas sessions. It’s almost like a casual greeting reminding us all that Christmas is near″
“Ooh” I nodded in understanding, slowly taking in what he had said. I repeated the word Joyeux Noel in my head over and over, trying to smoothen it out before saying it to someone else.
“So, where do you want me to take you to ma’am?” He asked.
“Let me check” I took a second to bring out the paper that had the address of the castle from my pocket.
He collected the address from me once I held it out to him and he checked it over.
“I know where you are going to and it’s right around the corner. The castle is really popular around here. Get in while I help with your luggage”
He took the bags from me and placed them into the car while I ensured that everything was in the car before entering it.
On our way to the castle, I realized that so many houses here had Christmas trees in front of their doors with multicolored and flashing lights around it. Need I remind them that it’s just an hour to midday and it’s only December 1st. No need for all these fuss.
But who am I anyway? A stranger in their town, trying to tell them what to do.
“Joy to the world”
I was a bit startled when the loud music suddenly began playing. I almost hissed at the interruption but I guess I have to deal with this. The driver reduced the music a bit and smiled apologetically through the mirror.
I mean I love Christmas like they love Christmas but it seems this town has a whole other definition of love that I don’t know of.
The car turned at a corner, making a way towards the huge gate that I could see upfront. Christmas lights were hanging smartly around it while a snowman and a Christmas tree was right outside.
“I can’t get past this place, Miss. it was nice bringing you here” I brought out my wallet to pay him for the ride.
“It’s your first time in our town and in the spirit of Christmas, the ride is free. Joyeux Noel, young lady” the driver rejected the money and helped me to bring down my bags before driving off.
“Joyeux Noel” I smiled and replied back even though it was out of his hearing.
I pressed the button right in the wall beside the gate and it opened up for me to walk in.
Clutching my bags together, I held on tight and lifted them up, ready to walk the long distance from the gate to the castle. I had called the line Declan gave me before coming to know if the space for the extra workmanship was still available and an old man picked up and told me it was. He also instructed me to ask for a particular Nicholas when I get to the castle.
I pressed the second bell upon getting to the front of the building and an older lady who smelled of chocolate cake opened the door with a smile on her face.
“Hi” I simply said.
“Hi, young lady. How can I help you?”
“I’m here to see Nicholas” She beamed as I said those words and quickly pulled me into the house as if she had been expecting me over here.
“Go tell the Queen that the lady is here” She instructed the other girl who was also surprisingly as excited as she was.
Queen? No one told me this was a royal household. What the hell is going on here?
Minutes later a woman who was probably in her late fifties came strutting down the stairs, a smile on her face and her hands out to hug me already.
Help me lord! Not only do they drive strangers free of charge on Christmas Day in this glorious town but they also welcome maids with open hands and faces full of joy and smiles.
“We’ve been expecting you, my darling” the Queen hugged me immediately she got to my side.
“How was your trip? I hope you’re not too tired. I’m so glad to finally see you, my dear. Bella, can you see how pretty she is?” The woman asked the old lady who had opened the door for me earlier.
“She is so pretty, ma’am and I’ll say Prince Nicholas is really lucky” Bella replied smiling.
I looked around confused and everytime I tried saying something, the Queen or Bella would say something and stop me from talking.
“Get her into the room, Belle. The poor girl looks so tired after such a long journey” The Queen poured and looked at me worriedly.
“It wasn’t a long journey…” I was cut short again before I continued my statement.
“She’s such a nice girl. Get her some good food after she rest well enough” She instructed Bella.
Bella carried some of my bags while the other girl gestured for me to move.
Still confused, I looked at the queen and around the house trying to give myself a better explanation for whatever was going on around here.
“Don’t look so worried my dear, your groom would soon be here”
Say what now?
Did I just find myself in that novel called, surprise, I’m married?