Transition

The holidays, in scenes:

We host a Star Wars-themed Christmas party, and I bake and bake and bake, and our friends come over and howl with laughter over the notoriously bad Star Wars Christmas Special we torture them with. The house is full of happy sounds–talking, laughing, eating. The Christmas tree glows. Our friends compete for the title of Best Wookie Impersonator. At the end of the night, we are exhausted but happy.

The week leading up to Christmas is a blur of present wrapping and suitcase packing and house cleaning. We drive to Florida on Christmas Eve and launch ourselves immediately into present-unwrapping and eating. Lots of eating. My mom makes a chocolate-pecan pie, and I eat so much I feel sick. It’s one of the best Christmases ever. On Christmas morning, we open presents with the Bonds, and it’s the first time in years that we all wake up there on Christmas morning. We are all making the most of it. Whatever it is. We snap pictures and cuddle with the new gray cat and then we eat more.

And after Christmas, everything falls apart. We get news we didn’t want –not the worst possible news, but perhaps the second-worst. We yell and cry. We spend the rest of the week in a state of shock and confusion, going through motions. We visit a friend whose wife has left. We can’t believe it either. We celebrate New Year’s with strangers. We stare off at nothing.

But, still, we manage to find moments of lightness: eating a lovely meal for Jesse’s parents’ anniversary, walking by the river with my parents and watching a dolphin swim by, spending time with my grandmother. Already, the time has grown fuzzy, and the memories feel years old.

We come home. I am in transition, lodged between the holidays and the semester, one over and one not yet begun. My syllabi and schedules are done. The decorations are all put away, and our house feels sparse and empty–but clean. I am looking forward to the year and not looking forward to the year. It is what it is. I repeat this to myself, and–somehow–it does not feel like a lie.

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