I’ll Be Home for Xmas

 

I swept the stuff and the shit and the sayings [that were given but not asked for] under the mat.

I got stuck at the mirror all morning, from the first second after my second helping of breakfast was consumed, through noon, when it stopped being cute [to have an imaginary friend] and became something not unlike schizophrenia.

She wants you to put on a nice outfit, do your hair up right, take out the trash.

There’s a good side of me that recognizes the significance in having a room and a body to live in, fortunately. And so, I keep my corners clear. Before settling here, at the only cafe counter in town where there are coasters not carousels of condiments and paper nappies, I swept the stuff and the shit and the sayings [that were given but not asked for] under the mat. And I dressed up. If, any minute now, a stranger should sidle up beside me, the barista might rightly testify that I was asking for it. Imagine a girl [young adult woman] alone but for her leather notebook and inky pen, on Xmas Eve, and try not to assume that she’d be receptive to spitting on anything [from semantics to semiotics].

She wants you to make a public display of affection, a show of your agency, and strip off all the layers that you did not lay yourself.

Once, a dog ate my history, and so I had to rewrite it…

My self and I are neither “hanging out” nor halfway to the altar. This is a [the first official] date, the one that we will use to measure the depth and scale of our love. She has been asking me [to come] out for two decades, but there have been good excuses and better reasons to skirt her invitations. Once, a dog ate my history, and so I had to rewrite it, on the opening night of some subversive flick that could have [coincidentally] changed our course [mine and his] sooner. As for the other times, I was busy. She would call [again and again] just to say “It’s me!” and it was all I could do to tu-tu-tu-tu, seeming less harsh a tone than the truth.

She wants you to stop playing, cut the chords, and listen for the old bray of your heart.

I am home.

What is home if not where one goes looking for love?

Six months ago, the greatest love of my life moved to Reno, Nevada, but I [being reluctant to follow a woman] did not go. Instead, I put her down as my plus-one to holiday parties in Salt Lake City, Utah; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Edmonton, Kentucky; and Charlestown, New Hampshire, knowing that she could not afford to travel. She said, “I do not have a plane, or a train, or an automobile, but there’s a bicycle on Craigslist for $40.” And so, I have met her here — for a cup of coffee, and a two-wheeled tour of the Biggest Little City in the world. What is home if not where one goes looking for love?

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