Saturday, December 10, 2005

Watch Over Me

watch over me

Tonight was Christmas party #two, on the heels of #one at which I wore a fancy dress and did not win the center piece.

Part one, the wind blew fierce. Blustered me from the classroom where I held my breath till my lungs burned with the anxiety of final exams, exhaled panting and flushed. I was never flappable till now, damn this fierce wind.

From school into traffic, into the nick of my time into my dress, drippingwet hair, make up in the dome light, heater blasting till my curls are springy and dry. The only shoes I have to match my dress are summer shoes, open toe platform sandals that I hiked down dusty river banks in. I am an indelible yet faint aroma of blackberries and warm lazy currents and campfire. I am haunted by my shoes.

The party has no impact on me. I am vague yet polite. Eventually everyone has circulated past the host bar enough that fancy no longer matters. I sneak out to the car and change my clothes. I never go anywhere in a fancy dress without a secret stash of pants. The party is on a sprawling estate and in some cluster of buildings I find a restaurant where a dear friend of mine works. I have not seen her for more then six months. We hug and hold hands and promise to call and then the wind blows me back to the banquet hall where no one is the wiser. Me, and my inpants confidence. I drink more wine and have a headache in the morning.

watch over me.

Though I have little to do with the religious traditions that have brought her through the millennia, I have always had a thing for Mary. I think she would have liked me, and been nice to me, fed me soup and told me everything will be alright. This term has carved a yawning chasm in my chest cavity. I could really use some of that kindness.

Christmas Party #two I cannot convince you it is what it is. An enormous mansion, a full size sleigh on the porch, two tiers of balcony, solid hardwood beams with servants quarters and secret servant stairwells and simply sagging under the weight of Christmas decorations. A minimum of two full size Christmas trees per room, every nook and cranny and flat space filled with Christmas antiques and creepy Christmas dolls, movie set decorations, Christmas records, statues, dishes, games, knick-knacks, books... year-round even. The collection is easily worth a million dollars. I didn't take pictures, I didn't take pictures last year. Now the house is sold, the new owners mingling with the guests and the collection will be sold bit by bit.

The snack table was vigorous and the bar was open. I sat under the upside-down Christmas tree, baleful in the glow, shouldered through the crowd, till I finally settled in to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas in the maids quarters. There is a certain point where opulence becomes prohibitive... awesome, but ultimately useless.

Welcome, the frenzy! Happy Holidays!

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