Enthusiasm
January 11, 2010

December 24th
December 24, 2009

The next day on the bus to my folks’ place, I see a pair of gumboots across the aisle. They’re cranberry red with a pattern of black spades and belong to a beautiful woman with auburn curls.

Before I can stop myself I say, “I like your boots.”

She looks up as a soft smile forms on her face and begins to speak.

December 23rd
December 23, 2009

The next night we stroll the neighbourhood looking for elaborate Christmas light displays. The best one is not far from my home: an explosion of red and white on a lawn that features two palm trees, a fountain with a Christmas tree in the middle, a Santa with a Marlin catch, and Baby Jesus presiding over the whole show.

In kneel down in the soft glow. Klink stands on her hind legs and licks my forehead. It’s her traditional goodbye.

“You’re going to miss me, aren’t you?” she says.

“Yeah.”

“Well, not too much I hope.” She pauses, searching for words. “You know, you’re thoughtful, but you need more than an imaginary friend sweetie.” And with that she turns and walks away. A street light burns out and she disappears.

I sigh. “I know.”

December 22nd
December 22, 2009

I am buzzing as I let her in. “What is it? What is it?”

“Hmphmm.”

The gift is still in her mouth. She spits it on the floor, coughs, and says, “Be patient.”

“I’ve been patient all day.”

“Yeah yeah.”

We settle in. She sits by the fire while I stand at the opposite side of the room. The package rests between us. I wait until she warms.

“Ok,” she says.

I tear the gift open in a hurry, shredding paper the way my dog does when he knows there’s a bone inside.

It’s a plush mouse.

“To remember me by!”

“Very funny,” but I can’t help but smile.

December 21st
December 21, 2009

When I wake the next morning she’s gone, but it’s too early in the week—I know she’ll return.

I spend a lazy day on my own: reading, wrapping presents, working on the annual Christmas puzzle, eating too many baked goods. My house is calm and quiet. I light a fire, make tea. I wait for her return, constantly glancing out the window as I flip pages of a novel. And for once it happens just as I imagine: she comes strolling down the street with a parcel between her cheek and jowl, arriving right on time like Christmas morn.