This is part four (of four) of this years Christmas story on Gamboling. This started four weeks ago with: You may have seen a cakewalk, but have you seen plenty of this (9)
Jenny was sitting in her kitchen and it was snowing again. It didn’t
seem to snow that often anymore at Christmas. Not actually on the day
anyway. But there was still a week to go. It was getting dark out there.
She had a box on the table which had contained her outgoing Christmas
cards. “ho ho”, she thought to herself, “they probably are more outgoing
than me”. She looked at the box and it still had one more card in it. Of
course it did. It was a card she’d bought twelve years ago, two years
after she’d left Tom, and had always meant to send to him. It had a
picture of Father Christmas doing a crossword on the front. But she
never had sent it because… It never seemed enough. And because she had
left him at Christmas it had always seemed likely that he wouldn’t
really want to hear from her. And then after a while sending had seemed
much less important.
But she had seen something in town which had made her change her mind.
She’d put it off for about a week but now, this evening, with the snow
starting she’d decided that she would send the card after all. And there
was still time.
She picked up the card and inside wrote:
Your Answer: Hyphenate
My Question: Amundsen’s forwarding address (4)
Meet me there, 7pm, Tuesday if you’re interested in catching up.
Merry Christmas even if you’re not.
She sealed it, addressed it and walked out the house. She didn’t even
bring her coat with her as the post box was just at the end of her
drive. She walked down there hearing the slow crunch of the pebbles
beneath her feet. The crunch was slightly faster on the way back as she
realised just how cold it actually was. She got back in side and tried
to shake some of the snowflakes out of her hair. But they were already
On Tuesday she got ready early, and then sat around waiting. When she
got there early she realised that it was probably a mistake. She hadn’t
even bothered to look at what the place was like when she had seen it.
She had just picked it because the name was the answer to one of her
favorite crossword clues. Or in fact because it’s name had reminded her
of the clue, and in turn it had reminded her of Tom.
The bar was okay, she supposed, but it was clearly designed for younger
clientele. They only had two kinds of wine: white and red. But actually
when she started to drink the glass of white it wasn’t as bad as she had
At five minutes past seven he arrived. And a flood of relief flowed
through her. She had been sitting there for the last five minutes
imagining him looking at the card and laughing at the thought of her
sitting in the bar alone.
He walked up to her, and looked at her glass. It was empty and she knew immediately she’d given away the fact that she’d been early. She looked up at him and he said, “red or white – that’s all they have”.
“I’ll be right back”.
As she sat there waiting for him. She wondered what they would actually end up talking about after such a long time. She’d got as far as planning on them meeting, and worrying about if it work, but had stopped short of working out what it would be that they would discuss once they got there.
He ambled back to the table.
“So you figured it out did you,” she said.
“Yeah, we’ll it’s ‘mush’ isn’t it. Although the fact that I’ve made it here lets you know that I guess.” He grinned. And then he looked a bit more serious before going on, “I can’t believe it’s been so many years and we’re still setting each other clues like this.”
“Yeah, it’s weird isn’t it”.
“Here’s one, ‘Overloaded Postman'”.
“Oooh, um how many letters…”
They both laughed at the silly joke and it lightened the atmosphere a little further.
“So,” Jenny said getting down to it, “are you doing anything for Christmas”?
“No. Not really.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well it means that I haven’t really planned anything. I’ve got some food sorted out – sort of.”
“Ah,” she said.
“What about you?” he looked up and made eye contact for the first time in a few moments.
“Well I’ve got all the food sorted out but I haven’t got anyone to share it with.”
“You know you really hurt me before.”
“And I’ve not really dealt with that.”
“Okay. If you don’t want to come that’s fine.”
“No,” he said, “I’d love to come but…”
“What is it?”
“Well, if I come you have to promise me that you don’t ever do that again. It’s now or never for committing to me.”
“I can do that, I’ve always loved you since the moment we first met. I was just confused I think. I won’t hurt you again.”
Tom sat there thinking for a moment and then finally said, “Pixel”.
“What’s that?”, Jenny asked.
“That’s what this is as a clue. A ‘Point of resolution (5)’.”
“It is, but Tom.”
“No more games now. This has got to be real this time.”