Monday, November 21, 2016

How I Ruined Christmas By Knocking Over The Tree.

*I grew up an only child. It made me independent, and bossy. It's no surprise I enjoyed telling my parent's what to do. I loved Christmas and decorating the tree. In October, I would be begging my mom to let me put it up.

    “Not yet!” she would yell at me as I pestered her while trying on my Halloween costume.

   Early November I would still be asking her, ”mom, when can I put up the tree?” 
“I said not yet, stop bothering me,” her cigarette ashes falling in the pot, a little extra flavor for that cheeseburger Hamburger Helper.

   It would yell and pout. I wanted to put up that damn tree. I was 8-years-old; my life depended on it.

   “Can’t we put up the tree now? Mom, please!” I said as she hacked three large sized slices of Pumpkin pie on plates. I stared as whipped milk and sugar made love on the pie. Seconds later an eruption went over the crust like snow down a mountain. It was a calorie landslide and man, was I skiing.


   “Please, mom?”

   “I said no!”


   “God damn it, Hudson, do we have to get your hearing checked? No!”

   Finally, by December 1st, I wore her down when I kept interrupting her TV experience, “Charles In Charge”.
Go get the freaking lights already.”

   I thanked her with a giggle and ran until I got to the hall closet, throwing things about until I found lights and bulbs begging for my attention. I bundled all the little boxes in my hands and ran into the living room, the closet left behind looked like a tornado had been through it.

   “We have to set up the tree first and then we can decorate.” my mom said, a white box hitting the floor with a thud and green fakery peaking out of the top.
When I become a rich actor one day I will have my maids and butlers set up my tree and it won’t be a fake misshapen green thing like this either, no. It will be a real tree, from a forest or mountain, big, green and beautiful. There will be smell of pine and not the smell of an old person when I stand it up. It will be so tall it will hit the ceiling and I will have to stand on a damn ladder to decorate the thing. Regular bulbs from K-mart will not do for my tree, oh no. Faberge eggs will adorn it only, thank you very much, with real 14-no 18 carat gold ribbons. People will “oh” and “ah” as they come by my window, looking at my tree in amazement. I would not care to notice the gawkers as I come out on my balcony and act surprised that everyone was there.
As my mom put up the tree I watched her bitch and moan. Plastic limbs being pushed and shoved like some sale-whore shopping for bargains on Black Friday. Finally it was erect, green and tall.

   Would this year be different? Would I get my Farrah Fawcett-Majors doll that I requested? I would be so happy if they surprised me with the gold lame’ outfit set as well, which was sold separately. I know Farrah would look great in it, plus it would fit my Cher, Toni Tennille and Diana Ross dolls.
My father was disgusted with my mom for buying me a Cher doll.

“That boy needs to be into sports and…dirt. Boy things.”

   I prayed his attitude would not defer her from making future gender defying purchases. Damn them all to hell if I got another truck.

   “You can’t braid a truck’s hair!” I wanted to shout at my Father.
I did enjoy The G.I Joe doll but soon lost interest because I could not style his plastic hair. For some reason he always laid around Barbie’s dream house, muscular and naked on her plastic bed, waiting for her like a good man should.

   My mom was great at giving me what I wanted and my father was great at complaining that I was not acting like a boy, a real boy. What was I to him anyway, freaking Pinocchio?
   Now it was time to decorate. Bulbs thrown on different branches; cross eyed angels hung by their backs; tinsel, in all its tacky silver glory. The tree slumped with decorations-maybe too many decorations.
   My dad walked into the living room, eating cereal out of a box in his underwear.

   “Looks like a fairy threw up in here!” He said before leaving.

   Finally, I was almost finished and mom wanted to start dinner but the star was left to be put on the tree and I couldn’t wait for her. I followed her into the kitchen.

   “C’mon mom, I want to finish it,” I said.

   “I have to slave over the stove,” she barked, tearing open 3 boxes of Swanson’s Salisbury steak TV dinner. I walked hard on the floor until I made it back into the living room.

   I sat there, pouting, looking at the wonderful tree with its glittering sheen and assortment of gold, red, silver and green. The big silver star sat in its crumpled box, waiting to shine as the pimp of the tree.
Damn my mother, I thought, what does she know? She wears white after Labor day. I guess I will just sit here and stare at the four walls until she gets ready to help me. Only if I was on my own and had a funky apartment; I could do anything that I wanted to do and not rely on other people telling where and when I had to do something; I could eat a jar of Fluff for dinner if I so desired.

   “I hate being a child. I can’t wait to be a grown-up and be on my own.” I said out loud to the tree.

On my tiptoes I went over to the star’s box and opened it quietly, cord hitting the floor. I moved a sofa chair over to the left of the tree and climbed on the chair with the star. After a few minutes of adjustments I made the star sit comfortably; like a nympho on top of a sailor. It was happy. It was gorgeous. It lasted one minute as the tree fell over to the right.

   Bulbs broke in tiny little pieces; the floor a twisted mess of glitter and glass; wings of angels separated by force. Poor Mrs. Claus looked like a gang of hostile teenagers from South Central Los Angeles had jacked her up.

   There Santa was, face down but still smiling with a candy cane up his north pole.

“What the hell—Hudson!” my mom bellowed, her thick legs making sounds on the floor. She tried to pick up the tree but it soon fell on top of her.
   "OH Lord!"

   “I tried to put the star on,” I answered, trying to hold up the tree so she could roll out from under it. When my mom got to her feet she was a mess of glitter and pieces of broken glass.

   “You ruined Christmas!”

   “Please, I’m not a child, there is no Santa Claus.” I said, trying to hold my smirk.

   “Whoever told you that is a spoiled sport!” she said, anger rising like water in a teakettle.
*Taken from There's A Bastard A Bastard Born Every Minute by Hudson Taylor copyright 2016

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