It wouldn’t be Christmas without

Two weeks of cleaning, rubbing, wiping, dusting, disinfecting, washing, spraying windows, curtains, carpets, rugs, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, faucets, tiles, tables, closets, refrigerator under it, on it, inside it, on the side.

Queues at Lidl, Penny, Basu, Horia, Casandra, Kime, T&A for sweets, beer, orange, butter, milk, eggs, bread, chicken, grapes, fizzy drinks, pickled cabbage, crackers, peanuts, sour cream, vanilla, sugar, powdered sugar, nuts, Turkish delight, cottage cheese.

Baking cakes, sponges, cookie sheets, burned a few, spoil some eggs, don’t follow the recipe, change recipe, bored with the recipe, gave up master-chef, heated oven, too heated oven, open window, unidentified object out of the window, unknown composition down the toilet, other incriminating proves in the trash. Albinița (honey cake) and Sneakers were a hit. Lemon tart a shame on my 3 star apron. Almond and nut cookies, French dough cookies with cocoa glaze another hit.

Dreaming: big Christmas tree, lushes branches, rich in green, easy on the wallet, tastefully decorated, new candles and globes, golden tinsel, star on top; eco tree, still with its roots on, ready for replanting, offered to replant it, choose beneficiary, pick the spot in the garden, seal the deal. “I’ll give you nice Christmas tree to replant, you’ll give me free barbecues in your garden”.

Reality: Found cut top and a branch from a huge Christmas tree. Seller did not want to negotiate. Bitch. 10 lei. String them together to look like they belong. Insert them into a glass bowl, pour sand and small pebbles to stabilize it, piled up with old globes and hay hand-made stuff; no tinsel, no star on top; no lights, the plug is too far; small hand size presents under it. Oh, Christmas tree…

Family reunions: uncle with something on board, always with something on board, without a head on his shoulders, a filter or a muzzle on, tells me I’m ugly or at least uglier than the last time he saw me. “It’s the haircut”, I hear someone whispering in my ear. There’s ‘presents’ for me: a lot of sympathy. For never quite making it, for not having a family, for not having kids, for not having money, for not having a purpose, for not having a life. They talk about me, at me and through me, with me right there. I’m invisible. Invisible people don’t speak. Fuck me then!

I’m no longer their favorite topic. Pandora’s box just opened: inheritance, land, house, gardens, garage, what, how much and when did the parents give anything to their children, spouses no one liked in the family, mother in law that never wanted you, mother that never loved you… Show is on! Dead people are risen from the dead and questioned, living ones are invisible or not worth to mention. Family requiem over. We don’t finish off with carols in this family. We’re using our inner voice. Mine is not quite caroling, but saints and jizez are involved.

Caroling. A lot of uninvited people, cause at carols you don’t sent out invitations. I lock the gate and secure the door. No jumping over allowed. For the two invited guests, there is wine and cookies. I test my new cakes on their virgin throats. No one vomits. I invite the gypsy in. Gypsy carols make my heart cry: they’re sad and of mourning, their roughed voices scratching my soul and hypothalamus. I give them money, cake and chocolate. They don’t like the chocolate. Money like. Sorry, not rich yet. Next year. Allow small kids in. They sing nice, new carol I never heard off. Money, cookies and soda. They’re shy, cute and intoxicate me with their childishness. When it gets dark, I jump in bed, grab a pillow, pull a blanket over and let my Christmas begin: r e a d! Kadare Ismail is up this year. Last Christmas was spent with Strout, Olive Kitteridge. Kadare’s General of the dead army rulz! Late at night two more wannabe carol singers. Their cigarette voices were not made for singing. I let them in before my neighbor chase them off with a broom or throws an ice bucket on them. We play scrabble. I lose.

Christmas messages and well wishes: “May the light of Christmas hit you, peace come down on you, quiet come over you, the joy of spending time with your loved ones enter your heart, open yourself to Jesus, let carols sing in your heart and the smell of goodies guide you to heaven”. Yep, I took the wrong turn, cause condolences keep coming via my phone, facebook page, tv, internet radio. I’m surrounded. I can hear myself cursing, which means I am not dead and it’s not my birthday either. One did get through: “Hello, Maria? Happy new year, Merry Christmas and whatever you want! Ok. Bye!”

Frankie!!! I cannot handle any of this without him. I must hear ol’ blue eyes in my ear, with his swinging, sweet, warm, melting, voice singing White Christmas while I’m searching for my hide out hibernation spot. Frankie knows me inside out. He gets to me even when I’m far out into the woods or wilderness. Me and Frankie. Anytime. Anywhere. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, the sublime, the ultimate: Frank Sinatra!

It wouldn’t be Christmas without snow.

The rest is relative.


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