The holiday festivities have officially begun. The Staff Sergeant and I swapped gifts last night, and this afternoon I carried him to the airport and with a quick kiss and “goodbye” he was headed home. I drove away and turned south to undertake my homeward journey, as well. I noticed the unusual volume of traffic, those kindred travelers also lured by tradition/obligation [and the promise of gifts], the sinking sun and the glowing blaze of whatever lies beyond the downward curve of the horizon…and the silhouettes of rolling hills lost in the shadows of such fiery effects.
I wondered if they [travelers] had families that felt like family. If they anticipated Christmas as Christmas had always been, or if maybe this year would be different for them also. I considered the ways my parents might try to overcompensate for the awkwardness of this first jostled season…and then let myself momentarily dwell on the reality of the thing.
I’m here now. I made it safely to Mom’s lake house. The water has been drained for Winter, leaving her lake-front property to boast only the undesirable view of a swampy, mud hole. Her man-friend is amiable as usual, making it impossible to dislike him on any justifiable grounds, and to perplex my unreasonable feelings even more, he gifted me with money – in a larger than appropriate sum. What do you do with that? Much less, how does one respond? He’s asleep upstairs “on the couch,” and I’m too worn down by the cacophony of holiday madness to really care.
Backing up, I don’t want to let last night’s lack of Christmas insanity to go undocumented: I received another pair of shoes that I had fancied but decided to bypass for at least a third time since first spotting them. They are small athletic-inspired shoes, the kind you’d wear beneath a pair of jeans with a cozy hoodie on a casual and comfortable day. In addition to footwear, I received the newest Post-Secret book to stand in for Cindy Sherman's Complete Untitled Film Stills that is en route amid the many other holiday gifts employing warehouses and delivery trucks across the nation. And he wrote me something...an account of his 22nd birthday. [He's an incredible writer, and this was my favorite gift of all.]