Christmas, 2014

Christmas, 2014

In a relatively young and attractive city, high amid the central range of the Colombian Andes, on a somewhat unusually warm Christmas morning, my first thoughts are about my three sons, Alex, who, along with his wife, daughter and mother-in-law, are spending the day with me, and Billy and Edward, so far away and yet, … inscribed in my heart, … always with me.

I can almost see Billy’s morning and sense his delight at seeing his daughter experience her first real Christmas; she was around last Christmas, picking up first impressions but how much context could even a very bright baby have attained in about ninety-five days. Candice, of course, at his side, making sure the day functions as it should.

I watch Alex as he melds old traditions with unique personalities to create his very own stream of memories, Salo and Paula at his side and Fausto underfoot (or hiding, as felines are wont to do, holiday or not).

Edward? I don’t know. I think he’s sleeping late; hopefully I’ll find out later tonight, hopefully he’ll join Billy, but perhaps, knowing him, if his mother needs him, he’ll be at her side. I would guess he’s become even more important to her as so much of her family has passed on.

Me? I’m introspective as usual, spinning in memories and fantasies, a bit nostalgic. I’ve been rereading Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, the enhanced edition, borrowed from Alex who found it meaningful. Many have. I didn’t but it’s been half a century. Perhaps now I’ll get what I missed; after all, it’s even spawned a religion. I’m arguing with my household insurance company, mainly over principle (a concept the genre only understands from the profit perspective), a hopeless task but then, so many of the causes that matter so deeply to me seem hopeless (not even many of my oldest friends understand my concerns) so this minor incident (unless my apartment burns down) serves to at least provide some perspective. I’m recalling friends and lovers and family, … thinking of my siblings. Sad that we live such separate lives, disappointed that I’ve always been so accepting of that situation, wondering why I’m like that.

Still, I know that these are moments to treasure in training. Perhaps, if I’m fortunate, I’ll look back on this day with that exquisite joy that I feel whenever I recall days when my sons and I shared moments together, moments which I had the wisdom to understand would always be the pinnacles of my life.

I’m certainly not alone, Liliana’s here, last year it was June (very, very briefly), I think Diana the year before (or was that just a dream). Julia is always with me but this year her body is in New York (or at least in New Jersey), where her life has taken a definite veer. Piedad is always nearby. I feel a bit like the fortunate and very surprised winner at an awards banquet, trying unsuccessfully to acknowledge everyone to whom the credit really belongs, but, being unprepared, sure that I’ve missed the important ones. Starting from the beginning them, I think of Nancy, and Kay, and Sue Hooker, and Marianne (then and now ever in my life). I recall Diana, and Susan, and Vicki. I recall those women I should have known better but for misplaced loyalty to Cyndi. I think of Linda, as beautiful as her name, an inchoate relationship. Still, … too many are left out. Perhaps too many have passed through my life but they’ve all had an important impact in making me who I am and for the most part, I still treasure the memories we shared..

It’s a Thursday I think, I’ve been on vacation for a few days permitting one day to meld seamlessly into the next so I don’t even want to be certain what day it is, especially as I’m playing with much longer streams of time, twinning them in my memories.

Playing with might-have-beens and why-not-nows.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2014; all rights reserved