Three tall glasses of fruity wine, handfuls of liquor candy, individually tooth-picked appetizers of varying size and consistency, commemorative mugs full of warm apple cider, cinnamon-sprinkled eggnog and hot chocolate with name-brand miniature marshmallows; steam rising from all liquids and bodies as the dimly lit living room (an offshoot of multicolored lights and reflective bulbs) spins around the point.
“So this is Christmas.”
Bullshit conversations about newer technologies with family and friends; lonely businessmen and their secondary wives sloshed by their own accord; their eyes bloodshot from elongated camera flashes and white smoke seeping out of red lipstick marked cigarettes.
The family beagle joyously dry humping several exposed legs; chocolate-chip-cookie stained faces giggling over the sight. The green-eyed feline strutting across the mantle, past lopsided portraits of past celebrations (both comic and tragic) contemplatively judging each and every set of rosy cheeks; exaggerating over mundane details.
Late arrivals entering through the wreath-decked door, offering up their robin-breasted winter coats and viciously searching for a corkscrew and a corner to suspiciously tuck themselves away in.
Mischievous teenagers getting high from thinly-rolled joints in the backyard and porch, before returning to the heated fold of the basement, spinning empty bottles and opening their mouths to other foreign substances. They repeat the same callow reiterations over and over again in the back of their cloudy minds as sweaty palms and foreheads become interspersed through developing alcoholic diffusion.
Meanwhile, the confused and highly misguided faces returning from adventurous semesters out of state with widely noticeable bloodshot eyes and seeping dye in their hair, attempt to convince themselves and everyone else in the family that it’s all okay, and that the rising strangeness not only in their less than level bodies but also in their dehydrated hearts is absolutely normal. It’s only the specials, and the questions; the last looks, conversations and finally a return to the reality of sensible destructiveness that keeps each and every one of them going as the seconds festively tick at a warped rate.
Upstairs the degrees of clarity start to bend and contrast like those of their spoiling offspring; patiently awaiting the proper tinfoil and refrigerated resurrection. Those with schedules are all convinced that it’s just their heads not their hearts subscribing to this yearly dosage of self-indulgence, and in this evolved fashion, everything will feel reliably sound by Christmas morning.
Crumbled sheets of tissue paper and bubble wrap, scattered on the living room floor as choirs of white-winged sophisticates preach harmonious lessons of commercialized value. They freely discuss the true meanings, while we all sit and wonder what to expect in the days to come.
Leftovers and ways to kill time with the same flushed expressions, cups and shallow decorations before its time to sentimentally look back and joyously sing out:
“We Upstanding Sons and Daughters
Saints and Sinners, Drunks and Martyrs
Find our Lovers under Covers
So Hungover Christmas Morning!”