My hands smell like clementines right now, and it’s strange because I would hope the scent would send me to some beach somewhere–all blue sky and warm water–where, some day not so long ago between sunrise and sunset, I ate citrus by the bucketful. Instead, I think about the sticky Bath & Body lotions of seventh grade, of strolling the mall, of the perpetual longing to know who might be smoking a cigarette at the food court, of dousing my hands in peachy lotion, chewing another stick of gum.
I’ve been trying to remember how I felt last Christmas. I must have been sad, at least a little. I mean, after all, in ways my body was still “expecting” a baby in January, a baby that had miscarried so late just a few months before, and yet, when I look at last year’s pictures, they’re not so different from this year’s. Cody and I sit in the same seats at my mother’s house for Christmas Eve dinner, our plates are piled high: ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, asparagus for good measure. We are smiling.
Eva is next to the tree. Santa has been there–of course, Santa has been there, with his pink piano or his dress-up box. He has eaten the cookies we left out for him and drunk the milk, and, in Eva’s stocking, are wind-up toys and bubbles, and in mine are the panties and the Starbucks card I’ve come to expect after creeping down my mother’s stairs to see, as I say over and over to Eva, if “Santa came.”
There are other pictures too. From childhood. Joe with a robot, me and my ballerina doll, Dave, fat-cheeked, Kenny and a reindeer. They all seem so incomplete. And even though I know that, in ways, they’re all I have, that without them, I might not even remember I had ever owned a ballerina doll, might not even be able to recall how when I pressed down on her crown she’d spin and spin until I was dizzy with laughter, sometimes it still feels so partial.
Maybe that’s why I bother with this blog at all: to try to remember in a richer, fuller way than the Facebook world allows. To say: Today, two days after Christmas, in a house where everyone but me is still sleeping, I am nostalgic for what has passed and what has not passed; I am grateful and anxious; my heart is spinning and spinning, and the air is thick with the scent of clementines. That’s all. Not much more than this: Tuesday. December 27, 2011. I am ready for coffee (my in-law’s sugar shaker forever charming) and hoping that, before I make it to the bottom of the cup, the people I love will wake and join me in the bright gray light of the breakfast nook.