“Tis the season to get trollied,” Christine sang as she picked up two bottles of bourbon from the shelf.
Lily let out a giggle. “Even if you are not the one who will be drinking those.”
“I never said it was the season for me to get trollied,” Christine replied. “Or sang it.”
Lily was helping Christine finish her Christmas shopping. Christine loved Christmas. It wasn’t really a religious time for her. In years gone by it had been more so. She had nearly two decades of Midnight and Christmas morning services under her belt, along with advent candle lighting and the occasional nativity play. She was always the angel, never the Mary.
Those days were long gone now but Christmas remained a special time for her. It was about family and the chance to spoil the people she loved. It was a feel-good time for her, even with the slight disappointment that it never snowed where they lived.
This year Lily would be joining Christine and her family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“There might be a few drinks tonight,” Christine continued. “But not many. No one wants to be hungover on the one morning of the year guaranteed to have the kids up early.”
Lily smiled and selected a bottle of port. “That I can believe.”
The two paid for their purchases, Christine the only one of the two to get ID’ed. Then, they headed to the car and once the bottles were in the car boot, Christine leaned against the side of the car. From this spot in the carpark, she had a clear view through to one of the decorated Christmas trees that the city council had erected. Giant fake poinsettia flowers and silver stars were the most prominent ornaments on it and not for the first time, Christine wondered how they’d look if they were part of her own decorating.
“Today has been really nice, Lily,” Christine said looking over at her friend. “Things have been so busy lately and I’ve missed being able to spend time with you. You know how glad I am that you came into my life.”
Lily slung her arm around Christine and gave her a squeeze. “And I love you, too.”
“I didn’t, I mean, that, I didn’t say that,” Christine stammered, blushing.
“And why not? I know that’s what you meant and feel, so why not say it?”
“Because, I mean, I love my husband and I don’t want to. I mean I’m bi but I don’t want you to think…”
Lily laughed and bopped Christine on the nose. “Sometimes I forget how much this world had worn you down. Love is not always romantic, nor sexual. How do you feel?”
Christine smiled shyly. “I mean, I have thought about it, the connection and emotion. It’s more than just a normal friendship, we have a real bond.”
“Friendship love is a real thing, Christine. It is as equally important and life-altering as romantic love. Among my people, the ending of friendship love is treated the same as the ending of a romantic relationship. I always find it sad how in this place, friendship love is viewed as less. It’s so often neglected in place of romantic love. And so often the intimacy of it is made sexual or inappropriate, especially among men.”
Lily looked so sad as she spoke, and Christine moved to embrace and comfort her. Christine understood what Lily was saying, and she knew that she was as guilty as the next person of doing that. It gave her a lot to think about as they headed home and the afternoon’s festivities started.
Later that night once everyone was in bed, Christine was inspired by the earlier conversation with Lily. She sat out in the lounge and wrote up a new Christmas card for Lily. When she was done, she put it in the tree for Lily to open once everyone was up.
Christine was often pretty terrible at expressing herself verbally and in person, but she could always write what she meant. And in this case, she meant every word.
I love you
Your name has its own little space in my heart now
You mean so much to me
Your presence brings me happiness
I want to share my time
I want to make you happy
I want to be part of your journey
To walk beside you
To support you
I want to help you have all the good things that you deserve
And it makes me so happy that you think I deserve them too
For better or worse I am territorial
I will protect you
Like my own
I will never stand by while anything or anyone hurt you
Not even yourself
And I will be heartbroken should I lose you from my life
I want you in my life
I’ve come to need you in my life
I love you, my friend
And I cannot thank the Gods enough for bringing you into my life
Forever and always