Christmas is very important to me. It’s the holiday my mom goes all out for. It means happiness. It means peace. It means my family all coming over at once, and fighting over the avocado in our salads, or the last roll, or the best and most crispy yucca bits. It’s the smell of the lechon, the Christmas pig, that we pick up from the Cuban bakery. With his head, and his fuzzy snout, and everything!

I worry that, as we get older, Christmas won’t be the same. My cousins and I, we don’t number as many as my mother and her siblings. We don’t have the same history of growing up, the same stories to tell. They had one world. Here, we each have our own lives. I hope that we can do it justice when our parents are not here to tell off color jokes and launch presents across the room while shouting at the recipient, “Heads up; that’s from Tio!”

So I decorated my studio for Christmas. I have a little fiber optic tree, a couple of strings of LED lights, and some old fashioned bubble lights. And a fiber optic gazebo, which you see above. My mom gave me that! It came with The Smith’s. Of course, I didn’t forget to hang my stocking over the fire place. It’s very festive.

I’ve had the little tree for a few years. I bought it before Adam and I lived together, when he was on his own in a Christmas-cheer-free apartment. Although I lived at home, I spent a lot of time in his place, and not having Christmas around made me sad. So I forced him to go to Rite-Aid with me after I saw a circular advertising the tree on special, for thirty dollars. I must say he wasn’t particularly enthused about the idea. But he went, and we bought it, and it sat in its little fiber optic yuletide glow on his bar anyway, just to make me happy.

It came out one year we lived together. The year that P.B. the Mouse, god rest his soul, came into my life.

Begin P.B. Tangent
For those who don’t know the story and don’t care to read the whole thing, P.B. was a mouse who got into some trouble with me. At first, I wanted to rid my home of him without injuring the little guy. Then he pissed me off. Then he got his leg caught in a trap, and stuck with it hanging outside his mousehole. Then Adam freed him. Knowing he was injured (little drops of mouse blood!) I crushed some aspirin and put it in a soda cap with water to alleviate his pain. I also put out a snack for him. Then he died, and stank up my fucking house. Now I hate and fear mice. And, occasionally, I think I still smell him in my mind.
End P.B. Tangent

The rest of the time, the tree was in storage, forgotten in the laundry room. By last Christmas, I’d already moved back to my mom’s place while I was looking for a new job. Today I picked up The Christmas Box from Adam. Unpacking that box was pretty sad, actually. And the tree is pretty sad to look at, because I think of the first year we had it, and how happy we were. Maybe next year it will make me smile.

As you can see, for a lot of reasons, this time of year is very meaningful for me. My emotions are all over the place. Every year, more Christmas past. Every year, further from home, further from being a little girl putting together her Barbie Dream House with mom in the living room.

Man! I need some egg nog. Make it a double.