December 25th, Tuesday
Okay, not gonna lie. Maybe there IS something to this law of attraction stuff. I know, I said that before, but hear me out.
Last night, after Dad and I spent the evening trying not to think about Mom and Jocelyn or past Christmas eves when we were a real family, I went to bed and tried to conjure up some snow. I felt that, I don't know, maybe a white Christmas might put a little magic into the air, you know? So, I imagined looking out the window and seeing a blanket of white. Then I saw myself going outside in my sweatpants and boots and putting my face to the sky. I could feel the cold flakes landing on my face, and on my tongue, and the air was kind of icy and blue. And then I went to sleep, only to wake up to...you guessed it...old man winter, right outside. And I'm not just talking flurries, either. I'm talking a bona fide blizzard! Like, a foot of the stuff!
Dad was already up, and I think he was almost as excited about the snow as I was. So, we made hot mochas (that's hot chocolate and coffee mixed together) and sat by the window and just watched it coming down.
I wasn't really expecting Christmas to be like our old Christmases, but Dad managed to rig up a tree of sorts sometime in the night – a bunch of fir boughs that he'd tied together and set inside a green ceramic planter. Then he strung it up with white mini-lights and strands of cranberries. Very old school, but I think the effect is quite charming. We don't have any ornaments. I guess Mom took them, but that's OK by me, because I don't really want to have to think about how we would bring them out every year and hang our favourites. Dad's favourite was always a wooden hand-painted trout with crazy looking eyes. Mom's was this tiny red cardinal glued to a pinecone, and mine was this little woodsman elf dude in a plaid jacket, carrying a bundle of sticks on his shoulder. I even gave him a name. Warren. Don't ask me why. I guess Warren and the bird, and the trout are all buried in a box somewhere right now, because I very much doubt that Mom and Jocelyn are having a traditional Christmas in their tree yurt, or whatever it is they're staying in, in Costa Rica.
Anyway, I thought our tree was kind of awesome, and told Dad it was the best "tree" we've ever had, and he looked kind of sad for a moment and then hugged me pretty hard. It kind of freaked me out, because, like I said before, Dad has never been particularly emotionally demonstrative, but it felt pretty good.
As for presents, well, I gave Dad some a tin of Dubbin that I found at the general store (for his workboots), as well as a pair of work socks. Everyone knows that getting socks for Christmas is the worst present ever, but my dad is not like most people. He acted like I had given him a Lamborghini or something and kept going on about how the comfort of one's feet can make or break your day.
And now comes the mind-blowing part. My present. In past Christmases, Mom did all the gift buying for both of them, so I usually got clothes and an iTunes or Playstation card. Stuff like that. Not this year.
Along with some some little things--licorice, Axe deodorant, a toque, and new backpack, Dad gave me a rare hardcover edition of Rascal, that book about the raccoon that was written by a man called Sterling North. It was my absolute favourite book when I was little, and then the neighbour's dog tore it up when I was twelve and I never bothered to get another copy, because, well, I was reading other stuff by then. But holding the book in my hands and looking at that familiar illustration on the cover gave me a giant lump in my throat, because Dad used to read it aloud to me over and over, and do all these different voices for the different characters, and I had forgotten how much I had loved the story.
Then, when I went outside to get wood for the fire, there were raccoon tracks all over the deck in the snow, which I thought was pretty cool, because of the book and all. I hope those little rascals are holed up somewhere safe while the storm blows. Maybe I'll put out some sweet potatoes for them before I go to bed.
And although this Christmas is not at all like any of our other Christmases, it is turning out to be pretty okay. Not because of the snow or the tree or the Rascal book, (although those things are really nice), but because I feel like Garcia Island is kind of starting to feel like home.
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