We open our hearts but once a year
To spread a preconceived notion of Christmas cheer
We fill up ourselves with good deeds and food
To patch bandages over the atrocious moods
That we have the other 364 days of the year
Nothing says I love you like expensive gifts
And the fact that now debt is the only thing that fits
Secret Santa swaps with 15 dollar limits
Are the perfect way to impress a co-worker you dislike in 5 minutes
Horde your money to spend it all for 1 day
Sing songs about helping the world and those in need
‘Cause now boxing day sales involve black belts in karate
Take your Christmas spirit and spread it from winter to summer
Because being a decent human being needs to be passed on to others
Emerge from your wrapping paper and think
In the spirit of Christmas, I decided I needed to write something that encompasses the holiday spirit! Nobody loves Christmas as much as Spring does in this new piece. Enjoy.
(Warning, there is some foul language.)
The tree was glistening, the lights flashing in an organized rhythm. Blue. Green. Red. Blue. Green. Red. The stockings were hung on the fireplace mantel, arranged by age and size. Mom. Dad. Hunter. And me, Spring. The milk and cookies were placed on the traditional Christmas plate my grandmother had given us when we were just babies. It looked like a Christmas magazine spread.
It was perfect, a flawless family holiday. Oh how I’d been wanting one for so many years. Ever since Hunter moved away for college and Mom and Dad started fighting, it hadn’t been like this. Each year I would call, stop by, hope that the decorations would be hung, that my mom would ask me to come over and bake her special Christmas cookies. Each year that I was denied, that my Mom said she was too busy, that there was no point and that I should have fun with my friends, a part of me would crack.
My brother was too busy with his college buddies and drinking to even answer my calls, my family had fallen apart. My father was always in his study, a strong glass of whiskey beside him, while he chatted with other women online. They thought I didn’t know about all their indiscretions, but I did.
But this year was going to be different. I decided I’d hang the decorations myself. Exactly how mom used to do. I baked the cookies in my mother’s oven, making sure they were just right. I poured just the right amount of milk for Santa. The presents were carefully placed under the twinkling lights. Everything was perfect.
I took in my masterpiece once more before a moan behind me broke my concentration.
“Mm, ahh!” My mother calls from behind her duct tape. Her blue eyes frantically searching mine. Her blonde hair pressed against her cheek from the sweat beading down her temples. I kneel in front of her and push the hair behind her ear. Her breaths are coming in pants as she tries to communicate with me. I shake my head at her, it’s not time yet. It isn’t midnight, it isn’t Christmas yet.
Movement to the left of Mother. My father, wiggling his hands, attempting to free the zip ties I’d placed on them. I know it must hurt, I don’t want to hurt them. I just want to be a family again. This is the only way. Mother looks into father’s eyes, tears falling from both. I think this is the first real emotion they’ve shown one another in years.
Lastly, my brother, Hunter. The brother I haven’t spoken to in almost six months. A brother who posts photos of himself with different girls every night, drinks and drugs in his system. Ignoring what was happening to our family. Ignoring his sister as she spiraled into loneliness. The duct tape I placed on him is barely allowing him to breathe. Bright green ecstasy pills I shoved into his mouth, telling him to not swallow. He needs to learn constraint. To abstain from the evilness of drugs.
I look up at the ticking clock, only eight more minutes til Christmas. A giddiness builds inside me. I look back to my family, who are all panting, sweating and eyeing me like I’m crazy. Frankly, I’m the one sane one in this family. I grip the kitchen knife harder in my hand, wishing time would move by faster. I look out the window, the snowflakes falling in the lights reminding me of when I was a child and would stay up to watch the white blanket covering our small town.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I say, to no one really. Whimpers escape my mother. “Christmas is the most joyous season, wouldn’t you agree?”
My mother shuts her eyes tightly, her chin falling. I leap over to her, grabbing her chin and pulling her face to mine. “Wouldn’t you agree, Mother?” I ask politely. She nods frantically. Sobbing behind her gag.
I nod back, giving her my best smile. I walk into the kitchen and check on my punch, a family recipe. I take the large ladle and make sure all the pills I’d put in it earlier are dissolved. Almost there, perfect.
A crashing sounds sends me into the living room. Hunter has somehow escaped his duct taped hands, and is now pulling the tape off his mouth.
“You crazy bitch!” He spits at me. I take a deep breath and hold the knife up for protection as he comes towards me.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Jesus Christ, Spring!”
“I had to!” I sob, holding the knife out farther, halting his movements. Mom and Dad are now frantically trying to escape, eyes darting between their two children. “You don’t understand. Our family was falling apart!” I cry, a tear escaping my eye as well.
Hunter takes another step towards me and I slash the knife in front of him, he jumps back, his hands out in a soothing gesture. “Okay, just…let’s just put the knife down, Spring. Okay? We’ll put the knife down, let Mom and Dad out, and we can celebrate Christmas.” His head turns towards the clock. “Only four minutes left, right?”
I check, he’s right. Only four minutes. Maybe Hunter is right, maybe everyone is ready to celebrate Christmas. “O-okay.” I stutter.
Hunter lays his hand out, palm up in front of him. “Just, pass the knife over, okay?”
I grip it tightly once, before letting it go in his hand.
He takes a step back, towards Mom and Dad. “I’m just going to let them go, okay? Just so we can be together.”
Together. That is a nice word. Soon, we’ll be together forever.
“Oh, thank god.” My mothers voice rushes out, pulling Hunter to her and gripping his cheeks as she cries.
“Jesus.” My father mutters, pulling them both into his body. Protecting them, from me. Don’t they see, they don’t need to be scared of me. We’re a family. I take a step towards them, wanting to be a part of it all. They hesitate, but allow me into their fold.
After a moment of bonding, they all let go. I can tell they are shaking and unsure what to do.
I look at the clock one more time. One minute, perfect. It’s time for punch and Christmas.
“I’m going to get us some punch. Then we can sit by the fire and open presents, just like we used to, right Momma?” I say.
She nods. “Right.”
I quickly head into the kitchen, pouring ladle fulls of punch into the crystal goblets we’d always used. All the pills are dissolved, they won’t even taste it. Soon, every day will be like Christmas.
“Here.” I say, passing everybody their own glass. My mothers sloshes in her nervousness.
“Spring…I, maybe we should talk about what’s happening here?” My father asks.
Anger rushes into me. “NO! No. We’re going to celebrate Christmas like a family, like tradition!”
“Okay…okay, but after. After we need to…”
“Not now.” I snap. “It’s time. Let’s count down?”
“Ten. Nine. Eight.” Dad starts.
“We all sip on zero.”
“Seven. Six. Five.” Hunter.
“Four. Three. Two.” Mom.
December brings with it the end of a year, and I woke up this morning feeling an overwhelming urge to reveal who Turner Collins really are, to put an end to the secret. My best friend and I began writing together three years ago, but writing under the pseudonym a year and a half ago, back when we started this blog. We were new at the whole writing thing and we wanted to post without judgement. Sharing our work with you, our blog followers, has boosted our confidence in both ourselves, and the things we create. With your support, we took the plunge and self-published a novel.
At this point in our journey, we feel secrecy will only hold us back. We want to grow and move forward in an effort to be able to connect with you all in a more personal way. So with all that being said, we would like to introduce you to the girls behind Turner Collins.
Hello, my name is Tracey and I make up the Turner part of Turner Collins. I’m 23 and live in Calgary, Alberta. I am responsible for the Jacob pieces that you find on the blog as well as many of the short stories. Okay, and maybe a poem or two, however they don’t hold a candle to the resident poetry buff, Collins. I have been writing since I was able to hold a pen. When I was younger, I went through something very traumatic that I dealt with through writing. It started as journalistic pieces, well, as journalistic as a ten year old could get. Talking about the world and current events, learning as much as I could. Once I got into high school it turned into fleshed out novels and stories. Characters have always come naturally to me, they talk to me until I finally get them out into the world.
Other than writing, I have been doing photography since I was fifteen years old and received my first camera. I am an avid movie buff and read a book daily. I am no good at art, but I love looking at it. Music is a huge part of my life and it aids in most of my writing. There is a soundtrack for each piece and book that we’ve ever written on my IPhone.
In 2012, I started a job where I met my best friend and writing partner, Christina. One day, I decided to throw an idea her way: “Why don’t we write a book together?” By the end of that day, we had an entire novel plotted and ready to write. Five finished books and many, many story ideas later, here we are. Collins and I are both big fans of lists, so here is one with points about me.
-I enjoy museums and historical sights
-I have tattoos as well as piercings and plan to get more
-Some of my favorite movies are: Moulin Rouge, The Outsiders, and Life (The movie about James Dean)
-It’s my life mission to see all my favorite bands
-I want to travel
-I was a theater kid and did a bit of acting. As well as written and directed plays.
Hello, my name is Christina, and I make up the Collins part of Turner Collins. I’m 22 and live in Calgary, Alberta. I’m responsible for most of the poetry you find on this blog. I’ve always written, but it wasn’t until high school that I really began recording my feelings. I developed horrendous anxiety that made every day a painful struggle. The only way I found to cope was with pen and paper. Shortly after high school ended I began a new job, where I met my best friend and writing partner. The rest as they say is history.
Surprisingly there is more to me than writing, I’m also an avid photographer, macro and portraiture being my favourite things to capture. I paint a ton, generally watercolor or another medium I like to call ‘organic painting.’
I could go on and write paragraphs upon paragraphs, but let’s be honest, bullet points are the best. Here’s a few facts to get to know me really quick:
– I’m a huge history buff
– My top three favourite movies are: The Warriors, Logan’s Run, and Raising Arizona
– I could spend days inside antique shops
– I impulsively get it in my head that I must learn something new and follow through. Last year it was juggling, this year it’s ukulele.
– Indie music and k-pop are and will forever be my obsessions
– I’m the descriptive type, adding enough description to Turner’s dialogue to drive her nuts!
– As you can tell by the number of bullets I chose to include, my favourite number is 7
Now that that big reveal is out of the way, we’re excited to go forward and share ourselves with all of you. In putting faces to the name, we hope to connect with you all on another level. We all feel, hurt, experience joy, fall, get back up. Our hope is that our work resonates with at least one person.