Saturday, December 8, 2007

What the hell are you going to do with that...

Don't get me wrong, my brother and I could fight with the best of them-- typical brother stuff. Still, we had a bond...


One year my brother dragged home a tree he found on the side of the road somewhere down the street from our home. He couldn't have been more than five or six at the time.

"What the hell are you going to do with that?"

Nearly five years older, thus grown, I had given myself permission to use profanity when addressing my kid brother.

"You're always telling mom and dad you want a fake tree. We're going to put it in our room."

It was true. I had always wanted an artificial tree. Sure this one was ugly, something that should have been left for the trash men, but he had drug it home... for me.

Though space was limited, I accepted the addition to our shared room.

It leaned a bit to the left, so we had to tie it to the wall with some rope we found in a discarded box in the shed. We put our money together and bought a set of colored flashing lights at the drug store down the road. We didn't have any ornaments, so we gathered pine cones from our front yard covered in glue and glitter I "borrowed" from the art room at school. We made a star out of aluminum foil and covered the plastic tree with red ice cycles that our grandma donated to our cause.

It was ugly, but it was ours. And we were proud of it.

The tree followed us throughout the years to three different houses. Though we would no longer share the same room, we always put the tree in someone's room, crowned with the same aluminum foil star.

As family turmoil grew stronger, my brother and his tree is what made Christmas, Christmas.

We always shared the same bed on Christmas Eve. Though we no longer believed, on Christmas Eve we still wondered what Santa would bring. We debated when it would be safe to peek at our presents or if we dare wake our parents. Those nights were filled with chatter about adulthood dreams: spending every Christmas together, our children sharing the same memories that we were making, and promising we'd never be parents like ours. Each year, it was all done under the light of that ugly Christmas tree.

Flashing colors.

I miss my brother and that damn tree. More, I miss dreaming about sharing our adult Christmas' together.

We'll never again spend a Christmas together. It's a hard truth, that my brother is not a good man and that he has done horrible things.

Still, there will always be a part of me who sees the kid that drug me home a tree and brought happiness to my Christmas. I'll look passed the young man on drugs that killed another person. There is goodness in him still. And I'm finding that there is still happiness in Christmas...


3 Babble-Backs:

uncouthheathen said...

This is sweet and sad all at once...

Heather (Franks) L. said...

This may be the most sincere thing I've ever read. I feel closer to you just reading it. Very touching. These are the types of memories we cherish - that make us forget about the imperfections of others and our lives.

Mishka said...

Great post....I am inspired.


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