Sprawled across the couch, I watch you saunter across the orderliness of our living room, the balled fur at the edge of the Christmas hat that I forced you to buy at the supermarket two days ago wiggling with every unnaturally long stride you take. You look rather endearing tonight, even though your favourite striped-t-shirt-paired-with-boxer-shorts-that-barely-cover-your-rotund-buttocks attire renders you highly underdressed for the occasion.
You walk, wearing the Christmas hat, toward the Christmas tree, with your Christmas spirit illuminating the atmosphere more blazingly than the Christmas lights, and you twiddle with the Christmas ornaments – the Christmas baubles must be aligned and co-ordinated according to their colors in just the right sequence for it to feel like Christmas, after all, mustn’t they? You asked me if the tree required any more of your attention, and I shook my head with a smile on my face. You are so silly, I said to you. You are so silly, I thought to myself, to wish that you were a tree.
My parents never narrated to me stories about Santa Claus and his elves, and how they took care of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, before bedtime. They never told me about the significance of mistletoes, of silver stars, of beautifully-wrapped presents festooned with perfectly-shaped bows, or of little flakes of snow gathering on the sill of the window. Candy canes held no festive meaning, other than the fact that being presented with a swirly red-and-white stick in the shape of Grandma’s constant companion as a child because I finished my homework in advance was a reason to celebrate in itself. As I grew up and began to realize the importance of this commemoration, I would silently curse my parents for not having constituted a graphic imagery of this day into the mind of a little girl who wanted to grow up to weave descriptions of important things as graphically as possible.
Tonight, as you find me gazing at you, spread-eagled upon this lumpy couch, and I find you tinkering in the liquor cabinet, seeking an impeccable variety of alcohol that would bring this occasion another step closer to the perfection that you are yearning to accomplish, I send an equally silent word of gratitude upward, to my parents, for not telling me what Christmas has been like for the last hundred years, or what it should be like for the next hundred. For the reason that, if I were to write a book about the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and if I were to have millions of children all over the world seated in a soundless library, reading the words that I have composed and the sentences that I have strung together, describing an ideal Christmas night, I would play this instance, and the few that are about to follow – which may or may not make an appropriate bedtime story for children – in the eye of my brain over and over and over again, without pausing for breath, until I am convinced that my fingers have done the exquisiteness of these moments complete justice.
You walk back toward the couch with two glasses filled halfway with my beloved white wine clasped in your hands, and you gesticulate for me to scoot over. The glasses pursue their place upon the glass table, and your body pursues its place into my arms. I wish this sofa was less cumbersome, though, for the rest of the night is a prospectively rickety one, and it wouldn’t bode well for either of us to flip-flop onto the floor in the middle of a chapter, or two, that shall render this book unquestionably inappropriate for the children of the world.
As you present me with an especially enticing candy stick, one that no child would want to be given as a reward for the completion of their homework, and the Christmas lights decorating the Christmas tree dance upon your face, and as you run your fingers gently through my fragile spine, I gasp. I gasp because I grasp that I have found my personal description of an idyllic Christmas night. A description replete with mistletoes and silver stars, with candy canes and fairy lights, with cheeks that glow and bodies that flow with a shared warmth; a description that trumps twenty-three preceding Christmas nights’.
And the nights of hundreds of years past.