Geoffrey did not want an Action Man for Christmas. He did not want an Optimus Prime, a Leeds United football shirt or a remote-controlled helicopter. For, as he sat cross-legged on his bed watching the snow idly drift past the window, all Geoffrey really wanted was to see his father again.
And while the good boys and girls of Yorkshire were sound asleep in their beds, Geoffrey recalled his letter to Santa Claus, written earlier in the week.
“Dear Santa,” it began. “I know you’re busy, but…”
“You should talk to that boy’s mother,” she sneered through shrivelled lips. “A boy shouldn’t grow up without his father.”
Richard watched his mother cram another cigarette into her mouth.
“When was the last time you spoke to her?” she exhaled in a cloud of pale grey smoke.
“So, he called last week?” Samantha asked over her wine glass.
Alison shrugged, picking at the roll of tape. “I can’t find the end of this damn thing,” she replied.
Samantha sighed, staring up at the corner of the room.
“You know, I thought about divorcing Shaun once,” she admitted, before reaching into her handbag for a box of cigarettes.
“Do you mind if…?” she gestured.
“Go ahead and give my presents to some other kid,” Geoffrey whispered. “I’ll be ok.”
“It’s not going to be ok,” Richard yelled. “She won’t even return my calls.”
She watched as the pale grey smoke packed itself into the corners of the living room.
“Will the smell wake him up?” asked Samantha.
Alison shook her head, before taking the football shirt out from the bag.
Outside, the snowflakes began to fall faster from the sky.
“No. He’ll be asleep by now.”
“And they’re both there when I wake up.”
“What do you think I should do?”
“Pick up the phone.”