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