Wednesday, June 19, 2019

December 24th

“But we’re all together!” my mother cries.
My older brother puts his hands
on both her shoulders.
“I know, but I need to run into the office.”
“On Christmas Eve?! That’s absurd.”
“Ma, you know my job is 24/7.
We’ve got a huge client in China
with a system crash.”
“Then they should find someone in China
to fix it,” she responds, angry folded arms.
“I always have to call China to fix my
computer or my wifi.”
But he already has his coat on,
and his wife and the baby are
ready to go too.
He starts his SUV remotely.
It is cold in the living room
for a while after he leaves.
Mom is banging things around
in the kitchen:
cupboards, pans, and the oven door.

I look at my younger sister,
her blacked-lined eyes affixed to her phone.
She blows a strand of brown hair out of her eyes.
“Mom,” she calls,
“Since Mark’s leaving, can I…?”
“Don’t you even think about leaving this house!”
Mom shouts.
“No one is leaving this house
until we go to Grandma’s tomorrow!”
“Fine! God!” my sister huffs,
retreating to her bedroom,
slamming the door.

If I were a good daughter,
I’d offer to help mom
in the kitchen,
but she is already angry,
and I never do anything right.
I lie on the couch,
gaze at the twinkling white lights
on the tree,
our childhood-made ornaments
perfectly displayed
next to collector Hallmark ornaments
and mass-made glass balls
purchased on sale at Target.
The air is perfumed by an
apple-cinnamon plug-in air freshener.
I mindlessly chew on some cashews
in a glass dish.
It is the first Christmas without Dad,
so nothing feels right,
even though this is how we’ve always been,
and it’s all totally normal.

No comments:

Post a Comment