You are at the top of the stairs. You are eight years old, maybe nine, maybe even ten. You still believe in Santa Claus. You are transfixed on the Christmas tree downstairs, bursting pregnant with presents. You smell stale cigarette smoke. That’s okay, it’s the 60s; everyone smoked. You perspire and it smells like grape soda and kinda urine. That’s okay, everyone urinates. You descend one step at a time. Your heart is filled with joy and anticipation of opening the presents, shredding and tearing the wrapping paper, and of course, saving the bows.
You are back at the top of the stairs. You know that this is happening again, and it’s all right. This is your second shot and you are going to succeed. You go off script and jump down the stairs. Your feet thud hard on the cold floor.
You are back at the top of the stairs. Third times the charm. You slide down the banister.
You are now sitting in front of the Christmas tree with a huge gift on your lap. You feel the weight and you know it contains everything you’ve ever wanted. Comics, baseball cards, board games, erector sets galore, chemistry sets, models, and even world peace. But you can’t open it yet. You’re waiting for your grandpa to reload the camera. Your era of ageism begins here.
You are back at the top of the stairs. Now you realize you are in a place where time and distance is irrelevant. You change your strategy completely. You wish yourself in front of the tree. You pick up the largest present. You clutch your chest; it’s on fire. You drop the present, it falls to the ground in slow motion and bursts loudly, gold glitter fills the air. Your head feels like it is going to explode. You grab your head, pulling at your hair. Why is Christmas such a dick? It is your last thought before you fall, followed by excruciating pain and the sweet relief of death.