I'll Be Home
December 15th, 2003
I'll be home for Christmas
My family moved around a lot when I was little. And by "a lot," I mean "Army brats being amazed at how often we went somewhere new." When I was three, my sister was born and my parents gave up their apartment and we spent the next three years living in a van, going cross-country at my father's whim. I spent my fourth birthday in Kansas, my fifth halfway up Mt. St. Helen's, and my sixth in the Okefenokee swamp. After that, when we settled a little bit so I could go to school, we still moved at least once a year, sometimes more often.
You can plan on me
But we always came home for Christmas at my Gran's. Even if Santa was coming down the muffler somewhere on I-95, we'd manage to be in her living room by lunchtime on The Day.
Please have snow, and mistletoe
Until one year, we didn't. I was...fifteen? We were living in El Paso, and Ma hated it so much. There was nothing to do, no one to see, nowhere to go. (Everyone hates El Paso. Even the proudest Texans think it sucks.) And it was hot, and we didn't even have a tree (which we always did, even when we were in the van, a teeny weeny little dashboard tree). And we weren't going home.
And presents on the tree
And we were in the mall, Ma, and my sister, and I, in a Kay-bee Toys, actually, and Frank Sinatra came on over the Public Address, singing. And she broke down, right there among the Legos. Sat in the middle of the aisle and bawled her eyes out.
Christmas Eve will find me
And we didn't know what to do. Everything was so bad, and, okay, it had been for a long time, but we could always go home at Christmastime and things would be okay, except, oh, no, we \\weren't\\ this year, and Emmy and I were absolutely furious about it, and the worst part was, it wasn't because there wasn't any money, because there was more than there had ever been before, \\ever\\, and we could have even flown home if we wanted to, that's how much more there was than usual, but \\no,\\ he didn't \\feel\\ like it.
Where the lovelight gleams
And that's when it was all really over, I think. It took us another eleven months to get him out of the house, and we spent one more Christmas down there, because that year there really wasn't any money, even though we would have all give up presents entirely to manage to get home, but we were seriously having trouble feeding ourselves. But that year was better, even, because there was a real reason for not making it back, and because we knew that we'd be going back entirely in a little while. But the year we weren't allowed to go back? That's when they were through. And we haven't missed a year since then. I'm poor as hell, and I don't know how I'm going to manage it this year, but I'm getting home. I may have to cajole my friend's friend who lives nearby into giving me a ride home, I may have to take my chances on the Chinatown Bus. But I'm getting home this year. Somehow.
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
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