late 2003, or maybe early 2004, before all the trouble began. another unremarkable night at the bar with my lover. the neighborhood she was living in was gentrifying rapidly, & we were at the last bar within walking distance that wasn’t completely overrun with yuppies just yet. i was an unemployed college student on winter break, no money & nowhere to go but her freezing punk house. luckily, we were crazy in love with each other & she had a good job at the cable company & her housemates were mostly my best friends, so it was all good.
i don’t remember a single thing about the bar. i do remember that we got really drunk, on her dime, and walked home holding hands. maybe we were singing, but probably just talking. i remember having a good conversation with an edge of sadness. & then we saw a huge pile of trash and stopped to pick through it.
christmas had happened really recently, and this particular trash pile had a fake tree that was thrown out fully decorated, as if the people who owned it said, “ehhh, i’m tired of this!” and tossed it right into the trash. i plucked the gleaming metal balls off and began hanging them at various places in my outfit–hat, buttonhole, scarf. and then my lover unwound the bright sparkly hanging from the tree (what is that called? it’s not quite tinsel–i don’t know) and wrapped it around me. we walked home giggling.
when we got home, a. was in the living room on the computer and c. was milling about. i opened the door and yelled, “I’M A CHRISTMAS TREE!” and they got it. completely unquestioningly got it. that was all i wanted. a. said something about how she was glad she had a life where drunk housemates came home dressed like christmas trees, i agreed, and then we all went to bed.