“The three men you loved…
what did they have in common?” he asked helpfully.
“Boyish enthusiasm.” I didn’t have to think long.
“Figure out what that’s a signifier for and pursue that other thing instead.
You keep dating boys.
They keep hurting you.
It’s not their fault. They’re not men.”
My friend and I bonded over our love of Christmas.
At the age of 45, he bought the church a tree 15 feet tall.
As a child he slept under the tree in the living room every Christmas eve.
Every Christmas morning, he knocked it over when he woke up in excitement.
I have never indicated to my parents that I do not believe in Santa.
My mother says, “She’s not stupid.
When kids stop believing in Santa,
Santa stops visiting.”
Santa still visits my home.
Since I turned 15, Santa also visits my parents.
Where is that line between childlike joy
I want to sleep under Christmas trees
and hear the hooves of reindeer on the rooftop.
I want to marvel at the mystery of a globe traversed and chimneys, igloos, condos all scaled
by an ancient man with very unhealthy BMI.
But I do not want a world of princes raised to be charming,
I picture sometimes the shepherds,
dirty, with calloused feet,
perhaps not yet married, daunted by an infant
but wide-eyed with amazement at the miracle that is all babies, nonetheless.
Timid, unsure, delighted,
unable to resist their mouths forming “O”s of delight
when the baby sneezed or screwed up its miniscule fists.
And then they return to their responsibilities.
They return to their flocks,
having managed childlike awe
and grown-up responsibility
in the course
of one night.