Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Ghost of Christmas Present is on my ass, and I don't know what I've done to deserve the persecution. After the frantic buying of presents, the days of frantic packing at work because we're moving offices, on top of trying to get all my work done to get ready for the long holiday, I'm actually enjoying myself at the office Christmas party strategically planned the day before we get up at the crack of ass to take a jet plane up to the far northern reaches of Sweden. I'm on my, oh, fifth beer or so, thinking about whether to dance a little before I leave, when the husband calls.

"The Christmas tree has fallen, and all the ornaments are smashed and the water has ruined the dining room floor," he tells me. "I just got home." It's 10:30 p.m., how could he have just gotten home? He was supposed to have been finished hours ago.

I'm leaving now, I told him. And so I left, thinking to myself on the No. 4 bus that he was just joking.

But no, when I get home, it's all shards of colored glass and pine needles, it's after 11:00, we haven't even wrapped the presents, done the laundry or packed.

A sadness settled deep into my chest, but I didn't say anything.

Now, it's 6:45 a.m., I've got a headache and in about 15 minutes we leave for a place even darker than here to celebrate, and I'm silently begging the Ghost to be gentle, because I'm feeling about as fragile as one of those ancient ornaments lying in the trash bin under the kitchen sink right now.

So, well, Merry Christmas, eh?

The Swedish word for the day, which usually pops up this time of year, is Jul. It means Christmas.

- by Francis S.

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