What is a blog in December without a cheery holiday post from a Christmas past?
My blog. Sorry.
I have spent the last several days attempting to conjure up even one sliver of a Christmas memory to smile and roll my eyes at. The bike I always wanted. The puppy in the bow-tied box. The impossible-to-find-toy found under our tree. The antics of out-laws and in-laws. Something. Anything. Nothing.
I can't remember a Christmas in my past; I just know that I have never enjoyed the holidays. The closest I come is in remembering a school party, candy canes, and trashy gifts.
I hate getting notes sent home from the teacher. Whatever is detailed, asked for, or is changing; those things will be ignored. My face red with shame, I will stand and explain to my teacher why the note was not followed and why I am unsigned, empty handed, or out of new guidelines. My parents are too busy to care or too unimpressed with me to help a kid be a productive member of a second grade class.
I am sitting in the carpool line and pinned to my shirt is a note on green paper asking for my contribution to the class Christmas party. Filled in the blank with curly teacher writing are the words candy canes. I like to eat paper and I would have been better off eating this note. I would be less hungry and my mother would have one less item to concern her hatred with.
Walking to the car, I pulled the note off the pin and crammed it in my uniform jumper pocket. I waited for the seemingly right time to ask... after my sister had presented her own classroom party request and had it approved. What better time?
I ran to my room to rescue that green note from a certain death in the washing machine. I took it to my mother and showed her my own request. Quickly she glanced and returned the note to its original creases. I received a conditional "yes".
Behave, keep your room clean, have good manners, don't talk back... these were the conditions pressed upon my behavior in order to receive my candy cane contribution.
The night before the party came and went. That morning, I asked my mother where my Christmas party requirements were and informed me that they were in my bag. Once at school, I opened my bag to find a smaller bag. Inside was one, single peppermint.
One fucking mint to share with my class.
Humiliated, I am sitting at my desk when I hear the morning announcements. The younger kids are having their parties first. There is my one chance. I twist and fret until the younger parties are finished. I ask to go to the restroom and slip into the other wing of the school. Happy kids are leaving hand in hand with their hurried parents. The classrooms are black as I step into each one to forage for my treats.
Digging through cold cups of hot chocolate, sticky red frosting, and squeezed small juice boxes, I find my treasures. Discarded candy canes. I carefully wipe each one off and will the broken ones whole again. I carefully stuff them in my pockets and repeat this process until I have twenty precious canes to share with my friends.
I race back to my own classroom but not before I peer into my sister's room. And there she is. My mother. Smiling, laughing, and enjoying my sister's Christmas party. I hate her at this specific moment.
I return to my seat only to linger a few minutes behind when the recess bell rings. With everyone gone, I retrieve the rescued candies from my pockets and place them on the table with all the other green notes fulfilled.
She didn't come to my party. She never said a word to me. I never said a word to her.
Hanging On No More
19 hours ago