Friday, 12.27.2013 - 11:39 am.
Considering how I'm used to spending my Christmas, this one was very different and it made me sad for a while. Lucky for us, the old lady I mentioned in the last entry ended up not spending it with us and that was a plus.
It was Andrew, his brother, father, grandfather and me. For the Christma's Eve dinner they ordered sushi, since no one wanted to cook. That wasn't so bad. I'm all for eating the less meat possible, and while that still contains meat and fish, I took comfort in the fact that they didn't buy a live lamb and killed it at home like it was their family tradition.
I barely had internet access at the grandfather's home so I couldn't keep up with the celebration my own family was having in another part of the continent. Anyway, they were too busy to look at their phones so I didn't have many messages and pictures. And yet I felt a little miserable.
And I felt bad for feeling miserable because this was Andrew's family. And also, things would have been more lively if his grandmother had been, well, alive. This was a Christmas centered on a 95-year-old man, who on top of everything was spending his first holiday without the partner he was married to for about 60 years. He kept his good spirits but only because he felt it was the right thing to do. At some point he started to cry and Andrew's dad tried to cheer him up and said lovingly that there was nothing to cry about.
The evening was too long. I was hungry when the sushi arrived at 7 pm but Andrew's brother said we'd eat at 10. An old neighbor came by and started talking about recipes and his dead nephew and funerals and sick people, which is when the grandfather started to tear up. Then we ate and then we sat down in the living room to wait until midnight. Then Andrew and I handed the presents we got for his dad, brother and grandfather and then they three went to bed. Andrew and I tried to find a cab home and nobody was working at the time. Understandably.
I slept in the grandfather's armchair, somewhat uncomfortably, until 2 am, when Andrew found us a cab. I got some sleep but mostly I kept my eyes opened in the dark (the lights were out and Andrew was taking a nap on the couch). I wondered if this was my worst Christmas ever. Not just far away from my family but stuck in an environment too...dim for my taste. I'm used to spending a joyful Christmas' and New Year's Eve, with music and lots of food and drinks and surrounded by people I know and love talking about nice things.
"Well, you've had a worse Christmas", said a voice in my head. "Remember that one in 2008, when you still hoped you-know-who meant that whole 'we are on a break' shit but he was already dating his wife-to-be and you went to his house and he was all moody and he kindly showed you the door, and you spent the holidays hoping he'd show up at your door and never did?". And I'd reply, "yeah, but at least I was at home, I was with my family". And so then I decided that this was my worst christmas.
Which wasn't fair, and by now I can tell you 2008 is still my Worst Christmas Ever. When the cab came for us, Andrew got up and hugged me and apologized. I was very careful not to show any discomfort because hell, this was his family and his holiday, too. But he knew how big of a deal this date was to me and how I've spent it before. I said there was nothing to apologize for, I was just sad because I wasn't with the rest of my family. And I didn't tell him this but also, I chose that so I could be with him and I didn't regret it.
When we came home he said again he was sorry and embarrassed that he couldn't give me a better christmas. I did hope we'd come home before midnight and drink wine and eat Doritos, just the two of us...and the cats. And take pictures of us and open our presents. It didn't happen and that's all. I told him it was not in his hands to give me a "better christmas" because most of the reasons why I was so sad were out of his control. And mine, for that matter.
We went to bed and he suggested we opened our presents anyway, to leave behind the bad moments. It was fun. I got him slippers and two t-shirts, which he's been wearing since. He'd ordered my gift since mid-november but the package never arrived, so I know that on the 23rd he ran out to get a plan B. It's a gorgeous coffee table book on the artwork of the Spiderman comics throughout their history. I look at it and I think the world should be jealous of me for having it, it's really pretty.
The next day, Christmas day, we had lunch with his family again. This time there was a barbeque with three types of meat. I grew up like this, anyway, so despite my aversion, it did seem to me a more appropriate meal for the celebration. After lunch, Andrew and I came back home and I spent the rest of the day feeling exhausted, lonely and bored.
As out of energy as I was feeling, I figured I needed exercise. Andrew tagged along and he was destroyed after my 30-minute workout. But it was great having a workout partner for once. I doubt he'll exercise with me again but this time he'd seen me so down that he said he'd do anything I wanted. I warned him I wanted to exercise but he went for it.
Afterwards, we played on his PS3 eating Doritos (finally! We never buy those, you see, which is why it was a big deal) and later we talked to my family on Skype. My parents looked ecstatic and I learned the name of my niece that will be born in less than a month. I cried a little about that. Everybody seemed very happy, running around preparing the christmas dinner, and I couldn't believe I hadn't seen my nephews and niece, and two of my brothers and their wives, in person in over a year.
So Christmas was nice enough, and the days so far have been pretty cool. Andrew and I have spent a lot of quality time together. He's been making pancakes and each new batch is better than the previous one. We may go out tomorrow with some friends, out to the country. He had his friends from work over yesterday, and we still have to go to the movies and meet up with more friends. These days will be gone too soon but I'm trying to enjoy them, in ways such as not doing the work I said I would during holiday break...because it's a holiday break!
However, Andrew is in the ER right now, his grandfather passed out this morning. I tend to think this may have to do with the grandmother's death but, especially at his age and in his condition (diabetes, etc.), one must always rule out all medical possibilities before formally declaring such thing. I hope he's ok.