The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 5
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 1
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 2
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 3
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 4
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 5
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 6
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 7
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 8
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 9
- The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 10
She needed to get a Christmas tree and it was only two days until Christmas. Her car was older, a yellow Volkswagen Polo which wasn’t pretty but it was reliable. It was a second car of her parents which they had left behind. Mostly when she drove, it was to go to the marketplace and the grocery store in the next town, and then also she drove to work.
She walked through the fresh snow to start the engine to warm the car up and scraped at the windows. It was slightly cloudy so there wouldn’t be the issue with driving with the sun shining strongly in the window. She had gone out to her garage and got the saw for cutting a tree and a sheet to wrap it in.
When she got in the car, all ready to go, she turned on the car radio on Radio 1. There was a Take That song playing, These Days it was called. She then drove a couple of villages over, the roads weren’t too bad with the new snow. She drove to where there was a Christmas tree farm. It was a farm where she had seen interesting wildlife, like owls and deer there before. The trees looked so perfect as she walked toward them, and then close up she could see their faults, missing patches here and there and deciding which was the good side. The sky had begun to clear and all the trees sparkled on the tops. Past the tree farm was the cobbled fences and then more snow-covered fields. She decided it was time to just pick one. She liked a big tree. She remembered her parents had been conservative about the size of a tree, they didn’t want one too tall.
The living room where the tree would be set up was a good height, it could handle a tall tree, she just wasn’t sure about how big the tree should be with regard to her Christmas spirit, as it ended up being a big job setting it up on her own. She selected one that was probably about six foot, cut it, and dragged it out to the front to pay the farmer and then shoved it in the back of the car, the branches and their piney smell encroaching on her space in the front. She imagined there might be small spiders and things in the tree too, but there was nothing she could do about that.
Getting a Christmas tree meant she would have to dig out the decorations from the top bedroom closet.
That evening after she got the tree set up, she went upstairs with the flashlight and dug out the boxes that were marked as Christmas decorations. There was always an order of course, first the lights, linking the star on top. Then the bulbs, then the handmade decorations and some of them that were bought, then the tinsel on top. There were small boxes with all the decoration hooks and they were all hooked together and needed to be separated. Then when it was all pulled out of the boxes, the boxes sat there, the tissue paper empty, waiting for the bobbles to be put back into them after the holiday was over, in the bright slanty sunlight of January.
When the tree was decorated, she then liked to turn the lights out and then sit and look at the tree. She didn’t know what she would do for presents under it. Sometimes she exchanged the odd gift with Carol and a couple of others at the pub. She would probably go to the pub for Christmas Dinner. They usually had a choice of ham or turkey and Christmas pudding and everyone got blathered. She didn’t know what she was doing this year. Things seemed so up in the air.
She had bought a bottle of wine from the off license earlier on, thinking she would drink it while she decorated the tree, and she did.
She hadn’t had much dinner, hadn’t cooked anything and hadn’t gone to the pub. She just didn’t feel like it. She realized Darrell would probably be there but she didn’t want to intrude on his space if he was avoiding her.
She had nibbled at some crackers and a couple of black olives, there were a few left in the jar. She preferred the green ones, but there were black ones in the fridge so that’s what she would eat. It ended up she drank most of the bottle, and then felt like she needed some fresh air. She put her coat and boots on and wandered outside. She went out to the barn, and sat on a seat of hay near the door where she could look out and sat there looking up at the moon, which was just a young moon, until she was too cold to stand it and she didn’t want to fall asleep by accident and catch hypothermia. Just before she was going to get up to go in, she saw a fox running along the snow by the fence. Inside, she turned off the Christmas lights and went to sleep, with some sense of accomplishment, but also wondering why she hadn’t heard from Darrell.
That night after she fell asleep, she dreamed. It wasn’t often she remembered her dreams, but she found during times when there was a lot of emotional turmoil, she had more of them. In her dream, it was as if she lived it for real. She normally just wore shorts and a t-shirt to bed, but in this dream she got up out of bed and she was wearing a full-length nightgown. She went downstairs, but even though she didn’t turn any lights on, the stairs were light enough to see where she was going. Then she opened the door and walked out into the snow, but she didn’t feel the cold air, and she didn’t feel the snow on her feet, except for the sensation she was walking. She crossed through the stile, and then entered the forest and the path was smooth, as if the trees opened and parted for her.
The path was smooth in the way that there were no hard pointy rocks or ice or twigs disturbing her walk, and even though it was slightly uphill, the hill did not tire her, instead, it was if she gained more energy as she walked. Until the point when she got to the top of the forest and looked down at the surrounding fields and the odd cottage and the lights sparkled like diamonds, and most of all, the moon was in front of her and it was a huge full moon, as if she had a step ladder, she could crawl right on top of it and gaze out at all of England. It was then that a man appeared, it was if he was a wise man of some sort. He seemed gentle and pleasant looking. He had a book in his hand and he handed it to her. She took the book and it was then she woke up. It was Christmas Eve morning.