‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Lights And all through the house / We all had insomnia and mindlessly contemplated our mortality.

Okay, just kidding. About the mortality part. Not about the insomnia part. I’ve been in Cape Town for just over three years now and I still can’t get used to the fact that the sun sets pretty much in the middle of the night here. I’m exhausted but too wired to sleep (hint – check that your painkillers are sans caffeine before taking them).

And so I’m in front of my laptop, which is probably not the ideal place to be while I should be sleeping. But I’m overtired and feeling rather melancholy – usually a dangerous combination.

I’m currently suffering from a severe case of “This time last year, the Geologist and I…” which is pretty fucking pathetic, actually, because it’s been months and months since he dumped me and I should be over it by now. But it’s Christmas, and Christmas should mean having someone in your life.

It’s a reminder of how deeply lonely I have been over the last few years, and of how I was so damn sure things were going to work out this time last year. We didn’t and they didn’t, and so I’m keeping my chin up and soldiering on and doing all the things that a healthy adult does… While that little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, “This time last year…”

Raging atheist though I am, I love Christmas. You have no idea how much. I love the lights and the glitter and the baubles. I love the giving and the family vibe. I love gigantic lunches and extravagant desserts. I love it in the ancient Roman sense – the Saturnalia sense. If I could full-on celebrate it all week, I would.

We have always kinda done the traditional Christmas thing – the tree, the star, presents in the morning kinda thing – though we’ve generally kept religion out of it. The day reminds me so much of my dad – he was a total perfectionist about the tree, and one of my favourite stories is of how he spent an hour and a half in a toy store when I was younger picking out the perfect porcelain doll for me.

So whether you’re an angry atheist planning on spending the day locked in your lounge drinking cheap wine or a holy-but-especially-on-certain-significant-religious holidays kinda dude scheduled to spend all day in church tomorrow… Enjoy it. Hug your love ones a little tighter. Bring a little light into your life, whichever way you choose.

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