An Imperfect Christmas by Noel Anderson

December 24th 2015 – It’s been 38 years since the full moon last appeared on Christmas Day, 1977 in fact.
The young waitress drops a fork, kicks it under a nearby table and totally breaks my train of thought. I look up from my cup and I think. The restaurant is full and the day warmish. I’m sipping coffee dressed in shorts and T-shirt, Melbourne colours of black and grey, while happy Queenslanders dressed in flowery clothing, chat over large serves of pancakes, bacon and eggs.
I flick through the Courier Mail…a terrorist arrested in Sydney, another mindless shooting in Melbourne. Is it really Christmas Eve 2015 I wonder? I’m not sure judging by the headlines so I check the date on front of the newspaper, wishing the toothache that’s troubled me since arriving at Brisbane airport days ago would bugger off. However, the toothache is not going anywhere despite the antibiotics I swallowed an hour earlier.
Back to my thoughts…
I bet everyone in this restaurant has their own idea of what makes a perfect Christmas, I casually think to myself. Christmas…a time spent with family, friends or loved ones. I think a little harder, stirring an extra sugar into my coffee as I run my tongue over my aching tooth. I’m not sure I ever really thought about Christmas in a perfect way before today, I mean what’s perfect? I’ve always been attracted to things less than perfect. I remember birthday parties I’ve had only because of what’s gone wrong, dinners that I have ruined beyond salvation, and of course blind dates that I’ve had that have turned horribly pear-shaped.
Thinking once again, it’s these imperfect events and days that have ruled my life, invaded my memories (I swear I believe this) and have made me a stronger man. You can’t enjoy a perfect Christmas without first experiencing one or two imperfect ones, right?
It’s the imperfect things that teach us valuable life lessons, help us grow and that we talk about years later… and will continue to do so until the end of time or whenever our last Christmas drink is served. R.I.P.

I shuffle in my chair, someone with bleached blonde hair orders a hot chocolate to go at the counter and my mind shifts to more thoughts of imperfection.
One imperfect Christmas I remember well was when I was living in Docklands. I got a very bad gastric bug and spent three days sitting on the toilet, all alone. The only thing I wanted (from Santa that year) as I sat there on the throne was bloody Kentucky Fried Chicken! God knows why but I had a mad craving for a juicy fried drumstick. Actually, I didn’t care what piece of chicken I ate, breast or leg, I just wanted fried chicken, badly. I sat for hours dreaming about fried chicken, and those secret herbs and spices. Once I was feeling better, I bolted from my flat, over the Yarra River, headed straight to the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop in Crown Casino and ordered the biggest bucket of chicken pieces I could buy. Colonel Sanders would be proud of me, I thought. I found a nice place out in the sun and I spent Boxing Day by the Yarra River snuggled up close to my bucket of finger-licking-good chicken, stuffing my face and hopelessly daydreaming. It turned out to be a Christmas I’d never forget! Why? Well, because it was imperfect. You just can’t plan days like that!

I close the newspaper, pay for my meal and make my way to my sister’s house, listening to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas on my iPhone. As I walk up the driveway I think… this will be the first full moon in 38 years, fancy that! I open the front door and I think again…I should go inside and write something special about Christmas…and fried chicken.

About the author – Noel Anderson is putting the finishing touches on his feature film script Sammy & Dave and recently adapted Henry James’s classic ‘The Turn of the Screw’ into a full length play, simply called ‘Ghost Story‘. Noel has directed over 50 theatrical productions. Checkout Noel’s Podcast ‘Email To My 17-Year-Old Self‘ on Podbean and iTunes, and on YouTube – Noel Anderson’s 15 Minutes of Fame.