Angel of Kindness

by Joanne Rawson

Megan Shepard was not looking forward to Christmas. Now divorced, all she had to look forward to was spending Christmas in Derbyshire, with her sixty four year old, bisexual, hippie mother, and a scrawny little sapling tree, overdressed with cheap decorations from the pound shop. However, her friends had other ideas, like taking her to Pinkie's Night Club, their old stomping ground as teenagers. This brought back memories of rah-rah skirts, fishnets, and legwarmers dancing to Madonna, until the DJ played The Power of Love, whereupon Richie King would take her hand and lead her to the dance floor.

Seeing Richie leaning against the bar in his unforgettable Danny Zucko pose, she knows the right thing to do would be to walk in the opposite direction, yet finds herself walking straight to him, and taking the advice of her unconventional mother. Swept off her feet to the winter wonderland of Manchester's Christmas Market, romantic walks in the snow of the Derbyshire Peak District, and fireside dinners, she has to wonder if Richie really changed, or has he something to hide?


Switching on the coffee machine, I waited until the dark brown liquid slowly trickled into the jug, before looking out of my mother’s kitchen window. All the other houses on this quiet Derbyshire cul-de-sac had turned into an explosion of life and colour, with decorated windows, ready for the forthcoming Christmas festivities. Customarily, by now my house in Leightonstone East London would be fully dressed with lights, tinsel, and foliage. A large tree chosen with great care and attention would take pride of place in the living room. The house would smell of cinnamon and spices from endless nights after arriving home from my job at the advertising agency, I would play corny Christmas songs filling me full of Christmas cheer and spirit, while cooking puddings, mince pies and biscuits that we would still be eating well into the New Year. I haven’t a clue why. It wasn’t as if we had a house full of children, in fact, children had never been on my agenda; well, hardly surprising, if you knew my background.

My mother, Lois, had me while she was studying art in Paris. She returned home to Derbyshire just long enough to pop me out and leave me with my grandparents, then fled back to her ménage a trios—a sculptor and his artist wife, my mother’s lesbian lover. Three years later, she returned only to scamper away again, after eighteen months, to live in a commune. So the whole cycle started again, until my grandparents grew old and my mother was forced to return to Derbyshire.

Looking at the garden, there was no plastic Santa Claus, no lights in the conifer tree, not even a wreath hung on the door. Instead of the large spectacular tree, hidden in the corner of mum’s living room, skulked a scrawny little sapling that still looked overdressed with cheap decorations from the pound shop; this Christmas, everything looked bare, unimaginative, and dowdy, a mirror image as to how my life felt at this moment in time. Here I was, Megan Shepherd, forty- six, spending Christmas with her sixty-four year old, bisexual mother.

Come on! Surely, my feelings were justified. For sixteen years, I thought I had had the perfect marriage to Ian, a history lecturer at the local college. How wrong I had been.

"Angel of Kindness" by Joanne Rawson


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Holiday - Christmas

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