Not Quite Alone

Every year at Christmas time, I am called upon, by family convention, to spend time with the four basic branches of my family. It’s a fairly small list; first, my father, mother and sister – and her children and husband. Then my mother’s side of the family, which has been recently whittled down somewhat, with the knowledge that the house of my grandmother, the woman whose house we always went to, is gone. Then my father’s side – his brother, his wife, his son and daughter and her husband and children. Then, Fox’s family, all gathered together at one. In each circumstance, we do something. A little something, perhaps.

I am not a big fan of these events. I don’t like how I act, I don’t like how I compete for volume.

There is one thing I do that I’m proud of. Every year now, for five years now, when we’ve sat down with my family, to share our gifts and talk of the year that’s gone by, I make a point to open something, to bring a little something to show my parents and share with them, of people who I know are going to feel alone. I tell them a bit about you; about how you feel, about how you’ve helped me look at the world. I tell them about the good you do. I know who’s reading this, and I know some of you are wondering ‘What, me?’

Usually, yes, you.

I explain to my mother about the shy accountant who loves puns. I talk to my father about the boy who disappeared, with pictures of jerboa. I talk to my sister about the tall, awkward girl who writes stories and tries to find an outlet for her creative energy. I tell them all about my friends whether they’re snakes or janitors, the people who I know feel they don’t connect with other people.

I can’t help you feel it, but I want you to know, at least on Christmas day, I take a bit of you with me, and share you with people, and show the people who I am closest to in blood how much you matter to me.

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