I thought this relationship would be different, less prickly. I was wrong. Christmas Tree and I started out like most couples do, enamored with each other in a twinkly-lights-sort-of-way. I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on Christmas Tree, I just knew he was The One: tall, regal, quiet. Some might’ve interpreted his quietness as stupidity—but I knew he was just shy. And I prefer shy over fake.
Our marriage lasted less than six weeks, which is equivalent to a decade in Hollywood Years. Too bad we live 3000 miles away from Tinsel Town.
When we first moved into together, things progressed quickly. “You turn me on,” he said in that dreamy husky voice of his. “Excuse me?” I responded, thinking he was a little forward for my taste. He cleared his throat, “I said, you need to turn on my lights.”
And that’s who he really was deep down: demanding. The first day it was his lights, the next day he had me running to the kitchen to get him more bottled water because he was “thirsty.” We all know thirsty is code for lazy. And I often found him acting drunk, leaning to one side, threatening to fall down.
Wait, there’s more. He was a mess. Sure, when we met and he was in the snow hanging with all his friends, he seemed robust and “outdoorsy”; I didn’t necessarily notice the trail of needles behind him. Anyone else would’ve thought, “Who leaves a trail of needles? Druggies, that’s who,”—but what can I say? I was blinded by love.
I couldn't get enough of him. I would walk past him just so I could inhale his scent. He smelled like childhood dreams.
In the initial haze of love, I was surrounded by close family members and went through the ritual of putting the angel on the top of Christmas Tree—that’s when things became official. He was Mine. Well-meaning friends came by later to meet Christmas Tree and they all said the right things, Oh, that tree is perfect for you, and Wow, you are so lucky, and How did you fit Christmas Tree through the door?
Sure, there were presents, hastily wrapped presents that were all the wrong color and size. Presents that would have to be returned. Presents with no gift receipt that the clerk would give you a hard time about and ultimately call a manager and then tell you they weren't originally purchased there or if they were that they were now 70% off. They were the type of presents that were bought on sale in a hurry with an expired coupon.
I woke up on December 26th with a cruel hangover that tasted like Pine-Sol and stale shortbread cookies, and a startling realization that shook me to my core: It. Was. Over. I was no longer in a festive mood.
Christmas Tree could not take the hint. Christmas Tree just moped around through New Year’s while trying to hijack that holiday as well. Every time I went in the living room and saw him standing in the corner weeping silently to himself while wearing New Year's confetti, I just cringed. “Oh, you’re still here?” I asked. “I’m not leaving,” he insisted with as much enthusiasm as a wet mop, which is exactly what he could’ve used to clean up all those discarded needles and wilted streamers that lay around him. “And you can’t make me.”
I didn’t want to argue with him. I simply pretended he wasn’t there. Things went on like this for days, both of us refusing to speak.
This morning I looked out the front window and saw a whole army of neighborhood Christmas Trees littering the curb, more holiday divorces up and down our street.
It made me sad. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t just end things with Christmas Tree the way I had been planning. It would be too cruel.
I'll wait 'til Valentine’s Day to kick him out.
(“My Only Valentine”)