Adjusting to a new holiday routine

What I’m most interested in and what gets most of my mental and emotional energy I can’t write about. I suppose I could write about the concerns of my heart and soul, no matter what. I could in theory, but in practice I can’t. The others involved are too dear to me, and I know going in that sooner or later I’m gonna say the wrong thing and be sorry about it.

I haven’t had much success with writing about my primary relationship at all, no matter what the relationship was like or who was implicated, and so it goes. My current special friend was alarmed at being discussed—although in a distant paragraph—in the same essay as my experience of other bodies’ fluids, long ago and far away, but still. So as not to conjure up in anyone’s mind an image of the object of my affection engaged in any of the acts I require, I’ll avoid mentioning her in any sensual context whatsoever. That ought to do it. Don’t even think about it.

And at the same time I miss Janice. I don’t remember last year’s holidays. For me, they didn’t happen, so this Christmas is a little like the first one without her. I don’t know where we’ll end up on the day, maybe at a movie.

I’ve thought of something I won’t miss about Janice not being here for Christmas—the gift-opening ritual. I know it’s all optional and yet having grown up in the “open it when you want and thank the giver as you see fit” school of gift-receipt and -opening, I felt most comfortable adhering to its sense of personal responsibility and decorum.

I was appalled at my first Christmas with Janice and Jai, my stepson. At a congenial time, we gathered at the tree with Janice’s Aunt Boots and friends and doled out the gifts one at a time. The recipient would open and show each present like show-and-tell.

Although not as barbaric as the practice of a grab-bag, where one may claim another’s choice of gift, opening everybody’s stuff publicly like that felt unseemly and made me wince, something that hardly ever happens. It felt like nothing so much as a competition to give or get the best present or to be the most grateful. Nobody said that. It’s the story I made up, my explanation and commentary.

I didn’t have any Christmas traditions of my own, and I soon adjusted. For many years, I had a tradition, and I don’t anymore. Maybe now it could be seeing a movie.