His birthday is the day after Christmas Day, so two days from now. I will not see him, and I will not see him for New Year’s Eve.
You know, they say who you spend New Year’s with is who you’ll spend the rest of the year with. It looks like this Christmas there is no serendipity in my black leather gloves. There is no glow in the snow that falls; there is no twinkle in stars above my head. I suck down the last drop of naked chardonnay, trying to fall to the bottom of a whole other world.
I climb into my family’s hot tub in the dark and watch the lights of the water turn over and over again. Bubbles float from underneath my legs and I watch my pale skin reflect red then blue then green. I sink down and drop my head beneath the surface. The heat licks my skin and the soft hair on my neck rises. It is snowing outside, but I am safe inside this hot motion. The song “Colorado Girl” plays from my phone over and over again. With every pluck of the guitar and note of his voice, I am taken away to his arms.
“The promise in her smile
Shames the mountains tall
She bring the sun to shining
Tell the rain to fall”
I rise up to the surface and heave a great breath. He sent me the song a few days ago; he said that I might like it and that I should have a happy Christmas. I wished him a wonderful birthday. He is a shy boy with not much to say to me, and I am wrapped around his artist’s fingers like a black, leather glove. An advertisement on my phone breaks my spell, and I am torn from him. I look around the lonely dark room and think of my sleeping family on the floor above me. The house is filled the color of coal, surrounded by silent woods and quiet suburban homes. The Christmas tree in the living room glistens with snowflakes and candles and red ribbons tied around its branches. I have become much of a cynic this year, but still I am in love with a decorated pine tree welcomed into a home.
I cover myself in a robe, and tiptoe outside. Snow clings to my wet hair and eyelashes as I look above me. Earlier I ran around the block and thought I saw my first shooting star. And so I wished that I may see the boy I am in love with, I may share some serendipity. My sister said, instead, that it was a meteor shower. Stars shone above me, forever surrounding our humble little planet. I often take myself away from here, and I rise to the top of the atmosphere like bubbles and watch the earth tilt and move about the sky. It takes away my troubles; it gives me reason to believe that my thoughts are minuscule when the world still turns like a loyal Christmas top.
I do not know what this holiday means any longer. I have always felt more partial, however, to this night. To Christmas Eve, over Christmas Day. It is the twenty-forth of December that tickles me. After everyone has gone to bed, after the stockings are hung and the candles lit. If there is any serendipity for this celebration, there is on this night. Last year there were the mountains, those Rocky Mountains looking over me as I danced across Denver. There are no more mountains tall, but an earthy side at ground level. Long trees that change and sway around me, the luscious, humid fog of Michigan’s peninsula. I close my eyes and begin to shiver, but I do not go inside. I sing, instead.
“Silent Night. Holy Night. All is calm, all is bright.”
There are no shooting stars, there are no meteor showers. I then climb inside as I realize I am chattering. I drop my robe and run across the house, past the Christmas tree, and practically dive into the hot tub once again. I am weightless. The lights still turn from red to blue to green. My body floats to the surface and twirls ever so slightly across the surface. When I begin to think too much, I sink and splash my arms as I cannot breathe. I try again, straightening my back and closing my eyes. I wish to float again. For only a moment I do, and then I collapse inside the water as I must be trying too hard. I pull back my hair from my face and blink water from my eyes.
I am about to climb out and fill a large glass with more wine, but then I hear something. I wrap myself in my damp robe, and tiptoe across the tile floor. I peer around the corner, where a man is leaning over the Christmas tree, placing presents beneath the brazen branches. This man is not in red, he does not have a white beard, nor does he have a large belly. My daddy is playing Santa, as he does every year since I was a little girl. He fills the space beneath the tree with clumsily wrapped presents, with his big old engineer handwriting on them in black permanent marker. He shakes his hand in pain as a tree needle pricks him, and then he carries on. He fills the four stockings hung up on the mantle, and he moves across the carpet in his big old slippers. He stops at my late mother’s stocking, and he strokes the angel embroidered on it. My father does not shed a tear, my father does not frown. He smiles back at the angel, and fills her stocking with goodies, as he always does. He takes one bite of a cookie, throws it back on the plate, and tosses the rest in the trash. My father has never been one for treats. His children are grown now, worrying about things like shy guys and chardonnay, and his wife has been passed for several years now. Tears swell and drip down my face like the rest of the water droplets I am covered in. My father is the first person I ever did fall in love with, and my father is the man I model the men in my life after. I thank God that he is the man that he is.
My father clumsily sneaks back up the stairs, and I am left peaking around the corner, on this silent Christmas Eve.
I whisper to the tilted earth, the showers of meteors, the bubbles that rise to the top, and to all that may wish for serendipity on a night such as this,