I can’t remember if there was a tree, just that it was Christmas morning and the apartment had no furniture except for a sofa and metal folding chair in the living room. We probably weren’t supposed to be there but I don’t think there was another option. Hot silos of Dunkins sat on the counter next to a pack of smokes, a Bic and ashes which had aimed for the bone dry kitchen sink. No water. No lights. No heat. Like camping, with walls.
Half a dozen kids, which included myself (despite the fact that I am not a goat), were corralled in an empty room upstairs under a frosted window on unfamiliar blankets. It was cold and the carpets smelled like strangers; half of which I called family.
The thing is, I love them. The ones I knew. The ones whose past I was allowed to inhabit. The ones who didn’t piss on me in the middle of the night leaving me to wonder for too many years whether or not it was intentional or an accident. The ones I call brothers and sister today.
She’d bought us all Hanes sweatsuits. I miss her sometimes. Mine was navy blue. The tops and matching bottoms were soft, clean, warm, fuzzy on the insides, which was welcomed and yet, I couldn’t recognize my self or my skin. It was better to stay out of it. Severed from so many details, we wandered around the emptiness trying to figure out how to fill expectant vacancies we hadn’t been asked to bear. The other gift was from my mother’s boyfriend who eventually became my stepfather; music. Music is my father. Music is my stepfather. Music is my sun, moon and stars. Rattle and Hum. I think you’ll really like it kiddo.
I wasn’t fancy but I did have a cd Walkman. Is there any better feeling than peeling the plastic flesh off fresh sound? I didn’t want to be wherever I was and that disc, with its silvery, circular rainbows, transported me from capitalism’s imposter rituals for a holy day, to regulating rhythms. Fragments of lyrics saying things I could cling to.
I laid there under the frozen window panes in the navy blue sweatsuit on blankets that smelled like strangers, waiting for love to rescue to me.
Sometimes I forget this happened until I’m brushing my teeth before bed and a song shows up outta nowhere and I’m like, hey, remember that weird f$&ing Xmas? Did that even happen? Yea. Huh. Damn that was a good album. And it is. And we are. And I Am.
Oh, ps: I’m not codependent anymore. But this is still a nice song.