The Modern Nativity

Mary had only known Jozef for 6 months, they hooked up one Wednesday evening after both swiping right on tinder earlier that day. Mary was in the doctor’s surgery waiting  for a letter confirming her whiplash injury entitled her to renew her disability claim, and Jozef was taking a comfort break from a 4 hour session of Grand Theft Auto on the X Box.

They met in Olly’s bar in Hemel Hempstead as it was happy hour  from 8 -11pm. After 12 Jaeger Bombs each, they realised it was love at first sight. Shortly after their date, Mary passed out on the cab journey home ,so Jozef made do with a large chicken kebab and cheesy chips in place of a night of passion.

Over the next 6 months they grew closer. Jozef stayed over 3 nights a week (he would have stayed more often,  but as Mary was in social housing, she was careful not to risk losing her housing benefit). Staying at Jozef’s was more difficult, he shared a house with 7 other men- not an ideal set-up, but his uncle had offered him a fantastic opportunity in his car-wash business near the magic roundabout and he was struggling to find work in Poland.

One Tuesday morning, Mary received a friend  request on Facebook, from Angel Gabriel. Mary didn’t usually accept requests from randoms but this guy looked  awfully like a Spanish barman she had spent the night with in Kavos, back in the summer. (She usually holidays in Yarmouth, but thanks to the pay-out from Injury Lawyers 4 U, she treated the girls to a fortnight in Greece).

Lo and behold, Angel wasn’t the Spanish guy from Kavos, but the Health Care assistant from the doctors surgery in Warners End. Angel had been trying to reach her mobile to discuss the results of her recent smear test, but since trading her iPhone 5 in at CeX for the latest model, Mary’s sim was blocked and she hadn’t managed to get to Bovingdon market to get it unlocked.

Angel tells Mary that she is with child,  it will be the son of God, and she is  already 7 and a half months pregnant. (God had really wanted a virgin , however realised that in 21st century Hemel Hempstead this would have been unrealistic if not impossible).

Absolutely flabbergasted by this revelation, Mary began to cry.- It’s true that over recent months Mary had started to put on weight, but she’d put that down to over-indulging in Dominoes ‘2 for 1 Tuesdays’ and the plethora of cheap chocolate she had stocked up on when the new Aldi opened. With little over a month to prepare for the birth of her baby, Mary sobs uncontrollably. Angel tries to comfort her, assuring her that everything will be alright. “It could be worse- Sonia Jackson didn’t know  she was pregnant until she gave birth on Dot Cotton’s sofa”, he explained.

Later that evening Mary told Jozef the news that she was pregnant through ‘immaculate conception’ and that he wasn’t the father. Jozef was angry and even considered taking Mary onto Jeremy Kyle to take a lie-detector test. After further consideration he realised that meant they could be granted a flat of their own  so he decided to stick by his woman.

A week later, Jozef proposed to Mary in Chiquitos and hid the engagement ring inside her enchilada . As he couldn’t afford a diamond ring- he managed to set up a crowd-funding page and raised £65 for a cubic zircon ring instead. Mary was overjoyed and instantly accepted and they agreed to raise the son of God together.

With little funds, and ccjs preventing both from obtaining credit, Mary and Jozef trawled through Schpock and ‘Free and Cheap in Hemel Hempstead’ and managed to acquire second hand clothes and a cot, all from the kindness of strangers. The money that Jozef saved from replacing fags with an e-cigarette allowed them to stock up on nappies,  and there was always the food bank if things got too tight.

The Angel Gabriel warned that they must keep the immaculate conception a secret, but Mary was an ‘over-sharer’ and one freudian slip on instagram and she had given the game away. News spread far and wide and the couple were invited onto Alan Carr’s chatty man, The One Show and even a special edition of ‘Benefits Britain’. The line of questioning was all very similar. “Is he really the son of god?’, “Will he save humanity?”, “Will he be having the MMR vaccine?”

On Christmas Eve, Mary was busy nesting and finding homes for all the gifts they had been sent by various charities and celebrity sponsors, when she suddenly realised they had no pickled onions for boxing day, so she summoned Jozef immediately.  Rather than walk to Aldi in Grovehill, Mary suggested they take Jozefs car to Tesco as they had a good deal on  Prossecco, and it was double club-card points on Christmas Eve.

In a quick turn of events, on the way to Tesco, Mary’s waters broke so they headed to the hospital. At Hemel Hempstead General, they were turned away…the A&E department had closed down along with the maternity wing a number of years ago so they headed to Watford.  Stupidly, Jozef had not put any petrol in the  Nissan Micra so as soon as they hit the dual carriageway towards the M1, the car gave an almighty splutter and came to a stop outside the Holiday Inn Express. Mary had always wanted a water birth, and with no time to waste, Mary checked out the hotel on trip advisor. After discovering it had 3 stars, she booked a room with a double bathtub via the app.

Since learning of her pregnancy, Mary had watched all the available episodes of ‘One Born every minute’  on catch up, so was clear on what to expect. Later that evening,without gas and air nor epidural, Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who they named Jesus (after the mexican waiter at chiquitos where Jozef proposed). Jozef updated his followers throughout the birth via Snapchat and updates on Twitter.

Shortly after the baby was born, Mary and Jozef were visited by three wise men bearing gifts. (The Hotel Manager, a Fitness Instructor from the hotel spa and the Night Porter). The first brought a packet of B&H Gold, the second a Toblerone, and the third a large poinsettia. They quickly made their apologies for their hasty choice in gifts, but understandably it was late on Christmas Eve and the only thing open was the Shell Garage.

Mary had been through quite an ordeal, having only found out she was pregnant a short while before and then forced to give birth in a hotel bath to the Messiah, and so a few days later, it came to pass that she was suffering with post-natal depression.

At her 1st session of cognitive behavioural therapy, her counsellor helped her to explore her feelings and come to terms with her troubles.

The couple were now very much in the spotlight with a wave of media attention and the odd troll on social media, which only contributed to Mary’s symptoms. Mary and Jozef were now reality star celebrities.  Not only did Mary have a newborn baby to look after, but she also had to carry the burden of raising the son of God- all while trying to lose the baby weight as quickly as Rochelle from the Saturdays did.

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