Comfort and Joy by India Knight

By India Knight

If Bridget Jones had ex-husbands, 3 teenagers, and invited her whole nuclear family over for Christmas... it truly is December 23, and Clara Dunphy is working round Oxford highway like a bird with its head bring to an end attempting to decide up "a few final- minute bits and bobs." regardless of the rush, the twice-divorced mom of 3 loves Christmas and consistently desires to make it excellent. A problem even within the better of occasions, yet relatively while "family" capacity a longer community of in-laws, out-laws, ex-stepfathers, and hangers-on, totaling 16. Is the insanity of Christmas well worth it? Clara is a witty, blackly humorous everywoman who will win over an individual who has ever longed to close out the vacations with "a titanic martini . . . and a few olives."

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I’m grateful. It’s very busy in here,’ the man says. ’ ‘No, thank you. I think I’d better …’ I look up properly for the first time. ’ He is raising his eyebrows, and smiling. It feels like about twenty minutes go by, in slow motion. I am looking at the man. He is looking at me. Nobody is speaking. I can hear the old ladies laughing, though they sound very far away. ’ he repeats. I realize that, for the second time today, my mouth is slightly open. I snap it shut, only to open it again. ‘I, er.

They have armchairs in there, and I plonk myself down on one. Am I drunk? Surely not from one cocktail and a quarter. Other hand: maybe I’ve got completely the wrong end of the stick. Maybe this man is smiling and looking at me like that because he feels sorry for me, all alone in a bar two days before Christmas, clutching my scrappy little piece of paper and wittering on about pigeons, with a face so red it looks like it’s been boiled. His heart goes out to my speech impediment. He’s just being kind.

Because, why? Some people go on for ever, happy as two happy clams at the bottom of the happy sea, for decades and decades until death do them part, and even then they probably fly around heaven chastely kissing each other and having joint hobbies. I see them in Sainsbury’s sometimes, ancient old couples holding hands. They make me want to cry. I’m not just saying that: they literally make my eyes fill with tears. Sometimes I follow them around for a couple of aisles, until I can’t bear it any more.

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