Se­cret Story

Ellen, 32, thought she’d have just a lit­tle fes­tive fun

that's life (Australia) - - Contents -

This time next week we’ll be on the plane!’ I smiled to my boyfriend, Jonathan, 34, as we un­loaded the Christ­mas presents we’d just brought from the car.

‘Are you ner­vous? My nan’s pretty scary after a few wines!’ he teased.

I did have a few but­ter­flies about spend­ing the hol­i­days with his fam­ily. I still hadn’t met them. Dat­ing for 10 months, we lived in­ter­state from his par­ents, his four sis­ters and their kids. They al­ways got to­gether in Mel­bourne for a Christ­mas Day feast and fam­ily time.

When Jonathan had asked me to join them, I’d been thrilled and we booked early morn­ing flights for the Satur­day be­fore Christ­mas.

Then an email came around about my work Christ­mas party.

‘That’s the night be­fore we fly!’ I groaned to my col­league Siob­han.

We al­ways started on the drinks in the af­ter­noon, cleared a space in the of­fice for a dance floor, and par­tied into the night on free booze.

When the day came, I had a plan – match ev­ery drink with a glass of wa­ter, and stop drink­ing at 7pm.

Stick­ing to my plan, I felt a bit smug. Still, I was feel­ing a bit left out. ‘You’re sober!’ Siob­han said tipsily. ‘Have a shot with me!’ she added, hand­ing me some tequila.

It wasn’t my 7pm dead­line yet, and it was Christ­mas.

Down­ing it with Siob­han on the count of three, we headed to the dance floor.

‘I used to do the splits at school dances!’ she said.

Then, she sud­denly dropped to the floor as a crowd cheered her on.

‘Come on Ellen!’ she cried.

‘I haven’t done that for years!’ I laughed. Could I…? Drop­ping to the floor, I was a few inches off the ground when I felt a sear­ing jolt at the back of my thigh. ‘Owww!’ I screamed. Some­thing had snapped. Try­ing to stand, I was in agony. Car­ry­ing me out to a couch, my work­mates mes­saged Jonathan while Siob­han waited with me. Oh God, what about the flight? I pan­icked.

Jonathan ar­rived to run me to Emer­gency.

‘What hap­pened?’ he said. By now the back of my leg was pur­ple and I could hardly move it. There was no way I was go­ing to Mel­bourne.

‘I fell over,’ I mut­tered.

‘You said you’d take it steady,’ he said, an­noyed. ‘Some­one fell and took me out with them,’ I lied.

Then Siob­han piped up. ‘I did the splits and skid­ded into her, I’m sorry.’

Thank you, I smiled at her silently.

Ar­riv­ing at Emer­gency, it turned out I’d torn my ham­string.

Un­able to walk for a week, not only did I miss my flight but Jonathan had to stay

I felt a sear­ing jolt at the back of my thigh… ‘Owww! I screamed’

be­hind to look after me. Re­book­ing flights be­tween Christ­mas and New Year cost us a for­tune.

‘We’ve missed Christ­mas!’ I said tear­fully. ‘I’m so sorry.’

‘You weren’t the one think­ing you could do the splits!’ Jonathan said, giv­ing me a hug. ‘Don’t worry.’

Four years later, we’re now mar­ried. But I’ve never told him the truth about why we missed Christ­mas. If he found out, I’d def­i­nitely be on his naughty list!

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