Christmas Day

25 December

After presents (an a sneeky visit to the internet in the Exec Lounge, and a phone call to Mum in Devon), we went back to GoateeSister’s flat. Goatee’s mother and father had spent the morning there, and her kids (even the baby) seemed already hyped up on sugar and Santa.

We were forgoing the huge Christmas lunch, and a buffet was being put out instead. We all had some nibbles while the kids played, then it was time for more presents. Once again, I felt like a right prat getting gifts from people, when all I did was put my name to the presents that Goatee bought. I got some lovely lotions, a nice pair of earrings, and a beautiful book on Klimt (this was handy for our new joke, ‘Would you like to see my Klimt’ and ‘Kiss my Klimt’). The older Austrians were speaking to me in very broken English, and I tried to use some of my GCSE French in hopes that it was enough like Italian. Unfortunately, this made things even more confusing.

Goatee spent the morning doting on his grandson, so in the afternoon when I suggested that we go for a walk, I was none too surprised when Goatee offered to take the little boy out with us. GoateeSon and his wife were happy to have an afternoon alone, so Grandson went into the pram and we were off into the city.

The weird thing about Christmas in Vienna is the number of people out on the streets in the afternoon. I was gobsmacked. Okay, we’re not talking Boxing Day on Oxford Street crowds, but Christmas Day in London is a ghost town. In Vienna all the transport was running, most museums and tourist attractions were open, and all the cafes and restaurants were heaving. I mentioned this to Goatee, and he reminded me that the Viennese make Christmas Eve their big celebration, and by Christmas afternoon ‘they’re sick of family.’ I told him that the same applies in England, but since transport is down there’s not much we can do about it.

I also noticed that we were one of the only prams out and about. Tons of kids, but all were walking and the babies were being carried in those little sling type things. At five years old, the little boy was certainly old enough to walk, but it was so much easier taking him about in a pram.

It was so much colder on Christmas day, that the idea of wandering about Vienna was losing its appeal. We ducked into a café for a coffee and hot chocolate. Goatee ignored me, talking to his Grandson in German, pointing to things, and playing children’s games on the iPhone with him. Honestly, I didn’t mind getting ignored. It was really sweet to see the two together. I think Goatee regrets not being in his son’s life, but it also seemed like one of those unavoidable situations. How do you cope with a son who lives on the other side of the world? I guess you just go the best you can.

It started getting dark, so we head back. The walk home was amazing, as the lights in Vienna are to be marvled.

That evening, those staying in the hotel came to hangout in our penthouse. Goatee had several bottles of wine ordered, and we all sat about chatting. There was a bit of a murmer about others wishing they’d picked a ‘better’ hotel, but Goatee argued that he got points for staying in this one. GoateeFather said, ‘Fine for you. You got the last Penthouse going.’

I spent a good bit of time talking to Goatee’s mum. She’s very posh and at first she was quite steely towards me, but she quickly warmed up. She told me all about their house in France, and why they decided to move their after her husband retired. They still have ‘property’ in Scotland, but she said they rarely go back. They’ve settled into the quiet life of a French village.

At one point, GoateeBrother inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. He said something about Goatee’s most recent birthday, last October. I was at MNM at the time, and wondered why I didn’t know Goatee had had a birthday. It turns out his birthday is on 8 October; the very day he took me out for lunch on MNM expenses.

I don’t know what to make of this. He spent his birthday with me, someone who he barely knew, instead of friends and family. Did he have feelings for me even back then? Or, was he just lonely?

I spoke more to GoateeSon and his wife. They asked what I planned on doing after my placement. I only half mentioned an interest in travelling, thinking more that I wanted to go to the US, when they jumped on my comment. They said that I should definitely come to Australia, and then head over to New Zealand. They could give me fun places to stay and that I could even get a young person’s working visa.

Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to ask something that had been on my mind. Goatee is so warm to his Grandson, but Goatee and his Son seem very distant. I asked why he’d come all this way for Christmas? I’m sure he and his wife had family closer to home — even if it was New Zealand (they live and work in Sydney). GoateeSon said that he’s always been close to his British Grandparents. They were the ones that would fly him out for summers (our winters), often spending more time in France with his Grandparents than in Britain with his father. It wasn’t until GoateeSon left University, that he and his father started spending more time together. GoateeSon said, ‘I think it took Dad a long time to grow up. We both hit adulthood at the same time maybe. We’re more like acquaintances now with similar friends, than family.’

After everyone left, I bundled up in a coat and duvet and went out onto the balcony. It was all very surrealistic, but at the same time felt right. Goatee came over and kissed me on the neck. He tried to pull the duvet from around me, and slid his hand under my coat, and down the back of my skirt and tights. He grabbed my ass and I knew what he wanted on that balcony. I pulled away slightly; it was too cold for an exhibitionist display. We had sex in the bed, and it was nice.

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