As i stepped out of my room this morning i was reminded of Christmas; how when i was little i would always wake up before my mother to that strange stillness of the outside world, house staffed only by the tree awaiting me expectantly with gifts below.
Here, of course, it is the opposite — i wake up late to emerge into the stillness of all of my roommates gone to class or to work, and there is nothing waiting for me at all in their absence. It still feels like Christmas morning, though, so silent up here in the attic, especially with the glow of the lights Gina and i strung across the ceiling last December.
Once when i was little i woke up before my mother and, upon descending our creaky wooden stairs into the still air of our parlor, opened all of my gifts without waiting for her. I simply didn’t understand why she would care to see me open them — she knew what was inside them all already.
When she finally came down the stairs I couldn’t seem to do anything to stop her from crying, and all I kept saying was “i’ll put them back … you can take them back,” not understanding that what she was upset about wasn’t missing the act of me opening them, but my thrill at doing so.
I always feel like i’m one Christmas behind because of that year, stuck somehow out of synch — a year away from my family and friends as they open their gifts. I always react as hugely as i can to gifts i am given, and give to others with vigor, hoping that somehow my excitement will bridge the divide.
Maybe this is why my still apartment can remind me of Christmas, whereas mall Santas and candy canes and blow-up lawn ornaments and holiday sales only remind me of spoiled children who don’t get what Christmas is supposed to be about, just what it has become.