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Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Four hundred words before bed

There is no end to the strangeness of my Christmas box. Perfect snowmen candles, scented like cinnamon (a gift from a friend with more money than I), are lost among the plastic ornaments, the thick, gnarled string of lights, the blank Christmas cards printed on cheap paper.

Inflating my Christmas tree is easy - huff puff puff et voila, fake plastic tree. Clear plastic means that the lights strung around it shine through. Little glowing globes of color light - nucleui of cheer.

I untangle my lights and sing carols in my too-low-too-high voice, which actually sounds pretty after a mug of tea and fourteen hours without dairy products. I don't remember any whole songs, so I just sing a chorus over and over. God rest ye merry gentlemen... It would be annoying to anyone else in the room. But I'm alone, and so it's just soothing.

Last night, I was curled up in my armchair, trying to kill off the monster on my back - write FADE OUT. and be happy about it. But just because the last scene is written doesn't mean the screenplay is done, and doesn't mean that I haven't finished the rest of the things I have to do. Doesn't mean I can stop.

It does mean that I can come home tonight, drink decaffeinated tea, take my time with a few remaining assignments. Slowly sketch away an hour, my pencil dancing on my little pad as I try to remember how to draw. Even get ready for the holidays, in my own way.

Cheer echoes from elsewhere. It takes me a moment to remember that I left the TV on in the other room. Comedy Central is the source of the laughter that floats from far away.

The lights are pretty as I wind them around and around - but I'm not good at this part, and the string's coils are tight, tangled. It looks like barbed wire, lining the trenches. Choking my poor little tree.

When I go home, there'll be a real tree and real carols playing on the stereo as my family and I get ready for a real holiday. I'll get eight hours of sleep almost every night, and life will make sense for a short amount of time.

In the meantime, it's after midnight, my roommate is not home, and I'm making my own Christmas as best I can.

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