Twas the night before Christmas, all was silent, all was nice until the Drummer Girl gave it some spice. Holly dropped her drum sticks onto the floor and let out a tired sigh. Her face felt patchy with the amounts of makeup that she wore was now melting away. She was here now in a place she called Home. The secrets were now unravelled, the doors all opened. Her heart ached for more.
Holly wasn’t the type to celebrate Christmas, her bandmates called her Mrs Grinch. Christmas was all about parties, people and presents. Most Christmas’ consisted of hardcore night parties and then a day of binge sleeping. The only meaning for Christmas was to do what you love right?
Holly’s phone vibrated in her pocket as she applied mascara to her short, straight lashes. One hand holding the mascara wand Holly answered the phone.
“Hey, Hols,” said a soothing voice through the receiver.
“Zoe, what’s up?”
“Well, I’m hosting a party tomorrow and I was wondering if you would like to come? Joyce, Holden and Harper are coming. I’m inviting The Sad Kitties and The White Rose as well.”
These people were all the musicians that they’d become friends with over the years in the industry, if they were coming, surely they’d want Holly to be there too.
“Okay, tell me more,” Holly mumbled while applying a glossy coat of lipgloss.
“There’s carolling, we’re baking cookies and of course eggnog, just like the old times. Oh and remember how I told you I’d turned Christian last year?” Zoe questioned.
Holly furrowed her brows and made a mumbling sound through the phone. Of course, she had remembered how her once party going, no boundary best friend had suddenly turned into an angelic saint. For almost a year now, Zoe had been provoking her to go to church but every time Holly had to dig up an excuse.
“Yes, I’m still here,” Holly replied, holding the phone away from her throbbing ears.
“So as I was saying, I’ve invited some of my church family to come to join us this year. Trust me they’re crazy party animals, we’ll enjoy them. I’ll see you there!”
And before Holly could make any excuses, Zoe cut the call. This was not how she was expecting Christmas with her band.
Holly rubbed her palms against each other, although they were covered by gloves. She was standing outside a brightly festive house, with lights and baubles hanging from bare trees and tinsel on the shoe rack. Hanging at the door was a big wooden cross, with a heart engraved in its centre, Zoe clearly was taking her religion very seriously.
Holly gasped for air as her blonde friend crushed her in her arms. Zoe smelt of peppermint cookies like she’d been baking all day which coincidentally she was. Unlike most parties she had visited, Holly felt a sense of comfort in this one. Like she was wrapped in a warm blanket and cuddled while having someone sing her a soothing lullaby. The music was on but it was not the type that made parties alive and loud but this music was something that did the same thing while being a whole new genre.
Most faces were familiar, there was Joyce who played the keyboard, she wore a long warm brown skirt with a long sleeve top, which by her standards was very wholesome as she loved showing off her tattoos, there was Harper standing with an acoustic guitar with her hair tied respectfully into a ponytail which she never did as she liked her undercut punk hairstyle and then there was Holden who wore a blue knitted sweater with a snowman on it which was the weirdest because he would never change his leather rockstar style for anyone. This was The Animated Lions, a band recognised for the personality that their members had through their significant dress up style.
On the couch was a man around her age holding a dark brown, glossy acoustic guitar, sitting around a group of people in neatly dressed Christmas clothing. Holly walked over and sat beside him as fiddled with the pitches.
“I think that needs to be turned up a little more.”
He looked up at Holly and studied her, his eyes examining Holly’s red-stained hair and her ripped jeans. He froze for a moment, sceptical maybe but she followed Holly’s orders.
“Thanks,” thanked the guy with eyes that changed from blue to green as he strummed the guitar. “I’m Matthew, I’m a youth leader.”
“A youth leader?” Holly questioned, her palms rubbing each other again beneath the fuzzy gloves.
“I’m a church leader for the youths, we’re a fun little bunch passionate about God and his works.”
“Oh uh, I’m Holly and I’m a friend and the lone drummer in The Animated Lions,” Holly replied, feeling her cheeks turn pink.
“That’s so cool, I love that you can have the best of both worlds.”
“I’m sorry? I’m not Christian, I’m just here because Zoe invited me otherwise I would’ve had other plans.”
“Oh that’s fine, I’m happy you’re here tonight though.” Yeah without actually having a choice.
Holly smiled politely as he started to strum a familiar Christmas song, Silent Night. One of the girls started singing the chorus silent night, while the rest joined in or swayed along with the tune. The night went on that way, Matthew played the guitar and occasionally sang along. His voice was smooth and although Holly wanted to join in with these carols, this life was just made for her.
At the end of all the swaying, singer and sometimes laughter Zoe escorted them to the dining room. As they entered the delicious aroma of roasted chicken filled my nose. Holly's stomach let out a horrifying roar which was heard by everybody in the room. Everyone remained silent and looked at each other for a moment then just like a Mexican wave everyone broke into laughter. Holly could feel the heat rise to my cheeks as Holly sat in front of my full plate. Matthew who sat next to me had his knife and fork in an orderly manner, what was about these people that made them so likeable?
“So you mentioned you weren’t Christian,” Matthew said, making me drop my fork. “ Here take mine.”
“Thanks. I guess your life wasn’t made for me. I mean who can live under so many rules.”
“You have a point but only religious people live under rules. I can’t live in a dictatorship.”
“Aren’t you religious?” Holly asked, furrowing my eyebrows.
“I believe in Jesus and God and The Holy Spirit but I have a relationship with them. He’s my father and my friend, he gave me choices and when I followed the right ones, he blessed me. I mean who would send their only son to this sinful earth just to die to save us, sinners?”
His words stung like salt on a wound.
“How do you so easily believe that he exists?”
“Besides all the historic facts and stuff, I have received his blessings in my life whenever I’ve asked,” he explained, sipping a can of Pepsi.
“I’ve asked and received nothing!” She argued.
Suddenly all eyes in the room were on us.
“But you believed,” he replied, sipping his soda.
The air in the room became stale, Holly couldn’t breathe with this anger arising. Holly wasn’t the angry type and always respected peoples opinions but this hit differently. Her ears were turning red as she tried to calm herself down. Somewhere in the near distant, Holly could hear a spoon drop as the room remained silent.
“Church is on Sundays 10 to 11:30, you can get the address from Zoe,” Matthew informed, breaking the silence.
A year had gone by since this occurrence, Holly had been going to Church for almost a year now. Once Mrs Grinch had now found her reason for this season. Matthew and Holly had now gained a friendship too strong to break, while Zoe had become her bible study partner. The band continued writing songs that had more meaning than just sappy love songs to now meaningful stories. Life was falling into its place, slowly but steadily because HE was in it. She had chosen him but knew that others' opinions were there regarding her choice but in the end, everyone’s decision is their own.