I’ll Be Home for Christmas

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 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 and carousels of condiments.  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 young adult woman alone, but for her leather notebook and inky pen, on Christmas Eve, and try not to assume that she’d be receptive to spitting— on semantics or 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 our first official date, the one that we will use to set expectations, to measure the depth and scale of commitment. You have been asking me to come out for two decades, but there have been OK excuses to skirt the invitation. Like, once a dog ate my history, and so I had to rewrite it; on the opening night of some subversive flick that would have changed my course forever. As for the others, I was busy. When she called just to say “It’s me!” I let the line go tu-tu-tu-tu, seeming less harsh 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 being reluctant to follow a woman, I 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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