The car slowed down and stopped. Angela put the car into neutral and I sighed. I was home. After all that had happened, I had made it back to my wife. I looked at my house and then turned to Angela, the woman who had been brave enough to help me. ‘I can’t thank you enough,’ I said. ‘If it hadn’t been for you…’
‘I’m only glad I could help,’ she replied, giving me a broad* smile. ‘Now off you go and don’t keep your wife waiting any longer.’
I nodded. Stepping out, the icy air stung my face. ‘Merry Christmas,’ I said, my breath surrounding me in white clouds.
‘Merry Christmas,’ she replied.
I closed the door and a moment later, the car moved away, its tires crunching through the ice on a puddle. But its red tail lights receded* quickly, and when I raised a hand and waved, it was too late: Angela’s car swung right at the bottom of the street and was gone.
Wary of slipping, I trod carefully up my driveway and was suddenly aware of snowflakes tumbling* past me. I stopped and stared into the looming* sky. The delicate flakes tumbled out of it and met with my skin. Sunrise was hours away, but to the east, a paler darkness was forming. I looked at my watch, and looked at it again. At some point during the night it had stopped. I guessed the time might be around five – early, but I knew Helen would be up. She must be frantic*. What was I going to tell her?
I stopped and looked in my front window. It was bow-shaped and its centre sat our Christmas tree, its lights glowing amongst the baubles* and pine needles*. I stared at it. I couldn’t see them, but I knew that at the base of the tree, there were gifts wrapped in bows, waiting to be opened. The life I had – a loving wife, a comfortable home, an unborn child – was now just a turn of the key away. I had come so close to losing it all, but I hadn’t.
Standing on that step and listening to my wife coming down the stairs, I began to cry.
I was grateful beyond words.
broad* – wide
receded* – grew more distant, became further away
looming* – overhanging, threatening
frantic*– very distressed, upset
baubles*- spherical decorations
pine needles* – the leaves of a pine tree