Eventually I realised it was sort of the CFO's and my Christmas tune, Messiah (if a whole oratorio can be a "tune", which clearly it can't). In our first year in London together, when I was at law school and he was studying at Imperial College, I joined the St Paul's Cathedral chorus. Choral singing sounds terribly middle aged, but I always did it at school, and then at Oxford, and I like it, so there. It's very absorbing. I'd still do it if I wasn't chronically lazy.
Anyway, one night a week - Tuesday, maybe? - I would walk eastwards from our flat near Tottenham Court Road, finding my way haltingly at first using an A-Z all the way along Holborn viaduct, Cheapside and down to a church somewhere down near the Old Bailey where the rehearsals were held, walking along in the cold in the light of the orange street lamps around these parts of the City that were still just names from Rumpole of the Bailey, and my history papers to me, places where the Wesleys preached, where Milton was born and Chaucer lived. My first introduction to the City, and to those EC postcodes I grew to love. It's an extraordinary part of London if you have even a glancing interest in history; overwhelming if you fetishise it and the places things happened.
That Christmas we sang the Messiah in St Pauls and the CFO came to watch with my dad. My dad still viewed him at that point with the intense and slightly menacing suspicion fathers of girls naturally radiate towards men in their orbit, though this phase passed quickly and his approval was wholehearted once the CFO revealed himself to be a hard-headed spreadsheet wizard and mathematical ninja, fond of 60% proof eaux de vie and massively intolerant of stupidity. It was wonderful to sing there, strange and moving even for me, the most confirmed of atheists. They both tolerated it with relative forebearance and probably a hipflask (it's long, Messiah). Afterwards we had champagne and small sandwiches in the Savoy, which was all glittery and bustling with pre-Christmas, post-theatre drinkers in their finery. You can never reproach my father for lacking a sense of occasion, it's one of the things I most admire about him. I expect he pressed a twenty into my hand for us to get a taxi home afterwards, because he always did. He still does sometimes, and I'm thirty six.
After that, every year the CFO - a man in most respects not over-endowed with a sense of occasion - put Messiah on to decorate the Christmas tree. It was a Thing. I don't think I realised I missed it, didn't listen to it, last year for the first time in 13 years until I watched that video. That's why it made me cry. It's odd, the things that unarm you when you aren't expecting it; important to remember how it felt. That intense contentment, the rightness of it, criticising his arrangement of the fairy lights, and moving baubles around. And Handel.
So. Messiah. We can both keep it, I suppose, if we want, but will we? We're sharing out the decorations tomorrow, and I'm buying a tree on Saturday for the boys to decorate (with Pokémon, probably, eschewing my tasteful birds and sparkly bits and pieces). I don't know. Maybe it should stay where it was; a thing we had together. It's still beautiful though.
(I should stop there, but I feel duty bound to tell you that having written this, rather sadly, I cheered up massively watching this, which is one of my favourite Messiah choruses, set to PICTURES OF SHEEP. Magnificently stupid.)