12:00 – Christmas Eve, and I’m moving boxes around in the night here in my apartment, trying to get myself ready for the arrival of the last of the holidays without making too much noise and disturbing my neighbors. I thought of people sleeping and anticipating what they might be doing tomorrow. I always imagine – it’s a night when many sleep poorly, anticipation agitating their thoughts, listening through the night for someone rustling the sheets as they turn over, or low creaking from bedsprings down the hall, or next door – wondering who else is awake, and who is dreaming, what will the morning bring?
I looked up at the clock just now and saw it was midnight. I thought of my childhood, as everyone around me in the surrounding buildings and lamplit rooms above me are probably doing now. And a window opened… now Santa comes. Is the chimney flue open? He has to come down, unobstructed. Where do I have a chimney in my cramped one bedroom place on the ground floor?
Who do I tell this to… moving the boxes around. I’m not wrapping new gifts for Rui, the old ones are still here. The big firetruck is on the dresser in front of the never-used television. It fell off and clattered to the floor two days ago when I walked past. I examined it a moment longer. Would it still be ok to play? Nothing broken; reinsert the little gray plastic motor. It fell out.
His joy, his smile in the morning. His curious method of looking through and considering each car in the box before deciding which one. Holding, replacing. Weighing with his hand. It’s blue. This one’s greenish. The paint scraped off the side of the bumper. Is the loose wheel still on? Slap it – it spins.
Lauren Berlant wrote, in Cruel Optimism, “it matters how much an instance of sentimental abstraction or emotional saturation costs, what labor fuels the shift from the contrete real to the soundtrack reel, and who’s in control of the meaning of the shift, the pacing of the shift, and the consequences of detaching, even for a moment, from the consensual mirage.” ¹
Outside of consensus here.
Merry Christmas Rui, Daddy’s lost heart.
1. Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism. Duke U.P., 2011. p. 35