Christmas Trees and Heartbreak

Part of Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers. Join us!

A Christmas tree is not just
a Christmas tree
It’s
all
the Christmas trees

It’s my childhood trees —
A blur of colored lights
favorite ornaments that spark imagination

It’s that one time my parents got
a short tree
a short tree!
and put it on a table
I
was
heartbroken

A Christmas tree is my grandma’s trees
always in the same corner of her big house
wrapped with big lights
as we all gathered
well before we all
scattered

It’s my dance class trees-
full of magical ornaments
We’d take turns
dance up to the tree,
choose an ornament to dance as
the ballerina was easy,
but have you ever danced
like a candy cane would dance?
those ornaments, that tree, that studio, that teacher —
those memories live in a tainted haze now
this tends to happen
when 35 years later your dance teacher’s daughter has an affair with your husband
Still.
I do love the memory of that last dance
class before Christmas

It’s been awhile since I’ve
danced
as an ornament – but
I’ve unpacked them a lot
in a flood of memories
Mostly good —

Last year I packed away the 2 snow people in a hot cocoa packet from the year I was married
But I still thought about it when we decorated this year

Lights
make the tree
anyway
Like clothes make the man
Lights and memories

A Christmas tree is
little kids
clip, clip, clipping the tree wrapping off
branches falling
the brittle Christmas tree
poking us as we spun lights off
and needles covered our 100 year-old wood floors
bare branches by the curb
shoving a tree out the window
Well past January
My youngest sobbing, screaming,
“I want Christmas! It’s not over!”
Heartbroken

My tree is artificial now
pre-lit
pieces snapped together by teenagers
The bottom lights broken
by the new kitten
But it shines
like
all the trees

I sit by the tree
in the soft glow of
all the Christmas trees,
lights, ornaments, memories
and the thoughts of heartbreak too

1 thought on “Christmas Trees and Heartbreak

  1. Oh my, this speaks to me. The ornaments we got when the kids were young and our family was whole…. You are making new memories – a bit bittersweet, but precious nonetheless.

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