He flew through me in desperation. A million miles away in the throes of this cursed death.
I let his wings beat at my body again and again. I barely felt a trace.
It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit at a shopping mall in the middle of the suburbs. We tried, but I wasn’t kidding myself. My son only wanted to go to the Game Stop and Footlocker, one to actually buy a DS game he’d been dying to play for two years.
I watched the same stores — 90 percent of them geared toward young girls — and the same harried consumers pass by. That is, when I wasn’t watching the show in the jam-packed parking lot, as the tow truck and the security guards got a ton of business and the drivers honked their horns, itching for a fight. If I built a time machine and traveled to any mall in this country, nothing would change, not in a million years.
Every year, I try to go where nobody else is. Away from the malls, especially on Black Friday. I just don’t understand the point of these sales. Stand in line just to get in. For what? Inflated prices stores claim to reduce just for this one special day?
Every year, as the recession worsens, the push for mindless greedy consumerism increases—and most of us answer the call. Are we programmable robots or humans with a soul?
Go on Twitter and Facebook. A lot of people are rebelling against the appropriation of the holidays for money. Yet, nothing’s changed. I go to the mall and the place is jammed. I’m going to the mall. I should stay my ass home. But I have a child who wanted to go.
We cheapen Thanksgiving and Christmas. We make holidays out of a desperation: Valentine’s Day.
This is the time I want off the planet. I wait, I hibernate until I get a brief respite after New Year’s and before Feb. 14, then nothing until Easter. I can’t wait until I am able to tune all of you out entirely, no matter what the day is.
I know you’re hiding. Waiting it out. Looking out the window, hoping for enough sun so the world will wake up and greet you.
It’s hard living in the Northwest. Except for a few sunny summer days, we live in the shadow of rain, which keeps the world away.
On the holidays, I am always swept by acute loneliness. It’s the same feeling I used to get as a child when my parents called me in for dinner a whole hour before the rest of the neighborhood. When I rushed through eating to get back out, all my friends were inside for their dinner, then bed. I used to hate my parents for refusing to accommodate the rest of the world and eat when everyone else ate.
Only now, it’s more than friends. It’s the world. It’s the families living on the streets or one bill away from homelessness. It’s the divorced, the single moms, the child whose entire family was killed in a freak car accident, the foster child, the orphan, me.
I have a family of three, me, my husband and our son. We don’t have much extended family. The relatives are scattered across the country, we’re not close to any of them, and traveling — they’d never come visit us — costs way too much money. It’s not about numbers. I’m thankful for the family I have. It could be worse. I could have no one, like many of you out there hiding, waiting it out, pretending it’s just an ordinary day like any other. I know.
I’ve never loved the holidays. I’ve always been envious of people, like my husband, who find the joy in Thanksgiving and Christmas, the turkey, the tree, the lights. The holidays hurt me, deeply.
I’m not sure if it’s a remnant from a past life where I had nobody and nothing, and was burned at the stake for daring to be different from a village of puritans who worshiped at the Lord’s altar with their hypocrisy and their tragic, borrowed pagan rituals made clean by the blood of Christ.
I’m not sure if I feel guilty for even acknowledging these stupid holidays we’re supposed to acknowledge because consumerism tells us to, while millions sleep on hard, cold stone without a warm meal for months.
The closest I can come to explaining this aversion is watching friends, acquaintances and strangers on the Internet post about their hoidays, surrounded by their closest. I click on photos of them with their extended families, way more than our three, cousins, uncles, aunts, and their nearest and dearest friends they’ve chosen to invite every year to a variety of holiday-related activities — even if some of them are duds at parties, just sitting there waiting to eat and cause more grief after a few drinks. These people I watch outside through their smudged windows, they don’t care if Uncle Ralph or the wife of a best friend is a pain in the ass at the dinner table. They always invite them, because these are the cherished chosen.
It never occurs to these people I know to invite me over. It’s never occurred to them wherever I’ve lived, not just in the NW. When I lived in Hawaii with my mom, even she abandoned me to attend her boyfriend’s or friend’s Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. She never bothered to ask if I might want to join, leaving me alone in her apartment watching TV and trying to pretend this turkey TV dinner was good enough, and fuck everyone I didn’t need their goddamned Thanksgiving it was a load of bullshit.
Today on someone else’s Facebook, I saw a photo of boys playing football at a park. Some of those boys play on the same soccer team as my son. Apparently, based on the replies, it’s a tradition around this time. James wasn’t invited. We’re not in the club. We’ll never be in the club.
Friends we’ve known for years who proclaim their love and devotion loudly never invite us over for their Thanksgiving. They just see fit to post about it, showing the chosen few they do always make sure to invite.
We’ve only been invited to a very few parties on the holidays, usually with ulterior motives, rarely just for our company.
Do you know how that makes me feel?
Like the holidays suck ass, that’s how.
1 bag bread cube croutons
Rendered turkey giblet/neck stock
1 can chicken broth
2 stalks celery
2-3 cloves garlic
When preparing the turkey, remove the giblets and neck, put in a separate saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for awhile until ready to make dressing, about an hour before turkey’s ready to come out.
Saute chopped celery and onions, with minced garlic until transluscent. Add bag of dry bread cubes and seasoning packet, or thyme and sage, then salt and pepper. Stir to heat through before adding a can of Swanson chicken broth and/or the giblet/neck stock, stir, let heat through. Turn off heat, add beaten egg quickly. It doesn’t matter if the egg turns into scrambled eggs. Pour dressing into a baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes covered, then a few minutes uncovered until tops are crispy.
It feels like my birthday. One year more and I’m dead. The world around me in its b/w stills and fonts, barely a flicker of the light I used to know from far away and over the sea, turns the switch off, leaving me to lock up.
Every November until there is no more.
I’ll say goodbye to friends, turn on the television, and wait for sunset.