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[11] stirring

Our house is silent. The living room is dim. I feel nerves in my belly as I start. I sneak out of my bedroom, and slowly crawl to the skirt of the tree. I lay on my back and scooch underneath the tree, and look up. Admiring the sweetness of candy-colored shiny charms and icy tinsel. Hung with no plan. Accidental. I'm pulled into this world of Christmas. Fixed on the animated string of lights. The sequence of changing colors puts me in a trance. Without blink, the tiny lanterns fade out of focus and become spots in my distance. My eyes are heavy. I get up. I scan the entire tree. Red, green, yellow, and blue bulbs twinkle around the tree branches and uncover shiny plastic ornaments. Firm hollow plastic types and bendy plastic types. Fragile in low quality. The flashes of light show the age on our cheap ornaments, spotlighting scratches and chipped details. Painted carelessly, smelly. Frozen smiles and wide-eyed plastic faces with smeared lips and eyes. I favor the ornaments with a cut out containing an object in the middle. I stare at the one with Santa. He glows in the center of his gazebo from the soft reflections off the metallic geometric panels surrounding him. I touch his rosy cheeks and feel the ridges of his beard, studying the raised cheeks and bubbly expression. Forever jolly.

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