Tuesday, December 24, 2013

They said there’d be snow on Christmas

December 22, 1983

I guess this is the closest I’ll get to a white Christmas: snow at four o’clock in the morning that is scheduled to turn to rain.
So here I sit in the middle of Willowbrook Mall parking lot, my car slowly being devoured by snow; feeling lingering tenderness at having Anne to share this holiday with.
But I also feel a twinge of jealousy seeing my ex-girlfriend seeking to hook up with Pauly, my best friend, and wishing it was me she sought out with her return – when Pauly only feigns interest, and doesn’t want things to go as far as she does. She wants true love with a real artist, and she isn’t likely to get either with him, and he knows it, and goes along with it for the ride, just as he always does, in the end, ending up where he started while leaving women like her along the back tracks of his life.
He can’t afford to admit he is vulnerable to the same intense feelings I was when I was with her.
She wants to belong to some institution of higher knowledge, an academy of art and science, to which he would not accept membership even if it was offered – the old Groucho Marx idea that he wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have him as a member.
So he’ll let her tag along until she becomes a drag.
Perhaps he’s wiser than I was, seeing no more future there than with any of the other tag-alongs he let tag along over the years.
He knows when to keep his distance, especially when she is determined to conquer him.
Maybe she’ll succeed this time, able to play off his vanity so that even he – especially being as lonely as he clearly is – comes in out of the cold.
I think this while I sit out in the cold in the middle of Christmas madness, as I watch the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future float by along the walk, each carrying shopping bags from Bamberger’s. And I keep thinking that sometimes on nights like this, it’s better not to be alone, regardless of the debt in woe that must be paid when Christmas is over.
And I keep staring through the snow-covered windshield for some star of guidance that the heavy clouds won’t reveal, and wonder will the snow turn to rain after all, or keep on snowing.

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