The tree is lit, the house decorated, choral music fills the silent spaces. This Christmas she’s alone, her son at the in-laws sharing their bounty, and her ancient dog, who hung on out of pure stubbornness, could hold on no longer.
Her ex-husband made polite overtures, Christmas dinner shared with his new wife and family, but although they had a pleasant-enough relationship, she knows there are worse things than being alone. Except now, with Christmas Eve and the holiday looming empty and large, she isn’t so certain.
She isn’t dramatic or emotional, not normally. That had been an issue, before, but ageing, is changing her, making her susceptible to tearing over injustice and hate and Hallmark commercials. She sips pinot noir to anesthetize, but it’s not working this evening, numbness doesn’t consume.
Thirty years of memories cascade through her mind like moments caught on film, playing over and over, reminding her of all of the dreams she once had, all of the goals, the desires, the hopes. The years mock her. All of the instances she could have said, “I love you,” but chose self-protection instead, which culminates here.
Perhaps she could start with a phone call to her estranged brother, an apology, a step, a reminder of when they were children, of laughter and shared secrets; forget the broken promises, the grudges, the mistakes. For holding on so tightly to misery has permitted permeation.
Perhaps she could discover a new dream before it’s too late.