I vacuum the living room and put back to rights furniture I had moved around to make room for the tree. Each inhale of the machine seems to suck up the chaos and clutter of the holiday.
The dust on my empty shelves smells like pine tree and incense.
The soft towel in my hand plows through, scattering the scent like ferry dust to color the air around me.
Boxing away memories is thirsty work.
I curl up on my big purple couch the salesmen called eggplant and sip my diet pop. My aching back pulses a soothing warmth that spreads down over my tailbone sliding liquidly into my feet.
I study the living room with a contented eye; it's sparkling emptiness a type of rebirth. The unadorned shelves speak of promises, they are full to bursting with "what If's" and for this moment there is no room for nick-knacks.
I chase away Christmas with my favorite scented candle and wrap myself up in dreams yet unfulfilled; chasing away ghosts with the bare bones of my home.
When a few days saunter past me and the spell of December wanes, I will unpack my treasured things and line them up on their shelves.
Each piece a separate story, waiting to be told. All the old will be new again, absence making them fond, and I will begin again, as another year moves on.
But for now I enjoy the quiet hush before the storm, the empty room a cradle just awaiting it's child. It is in moments like this that my soul exhales and smiles.
Kendell, evidently done saving the planet from war, plops down next to me on the couch, "Mom, I have hair on my privates."
I look at him and he looks right back as if we were discussing his favorite cartoon; He's totally engaged.
"Well, that's pretty normal" I manage to reply without breaking expression.
"Yeah, well I don't like it" he says while scowling down at his lap.
"No one does kiddo. It's just part of growing up."
"Yeah, well, I better not get any on my chest!"
I reply deadpan, "Well, since I don't, you've got at least a 50/50 chance."
Mail man walks in to deliver the mail.
Co-worker: "...and she likes to play with dangly things."
I choke out a laugh as the mail man's stride to the door develops a huge hitch.
Looking over at my co-worker, I totally lose my battle with the laughter snorting out my nose.
Mail man: "I'm not even going to ask", he says as he beats a hasty retreat out the office door.
"Mom, do me a favor while you're out?"
"What do you need buddy?"
"How about you pick up a guy tonight."
"um, thanks for the permission bud."
I'm a recovering single mother trying desperately to see humor in my day to day toil while simultaneously avoiding reality as much as humanly possible.