Last Christmas, I thought about you, briefly, as I put away the shopping and spotted your favourite after dinner treat in the cupboard, at the insistence of the company I was expecting.
Nothing to do with you, no reason to think of you, but down the rabbit hole I wandered. Down the depths I slipped and fell, and you were on my mind as I met the stars on the way to sleep, making the last of my wishes before I escaped into dreams, where I did my best to avoid you.
I dreamt of a glittering staircase, gifts surrounding the sparkling tree as the firewood found the fire and melted into ash in her arms. Just as I was settling into the scene, I saw my ghostly girl, gasping at the window.
There you were, crying and clawing at the glass, my very own Catherine, come to haunt your Heathcliff, like a Dickens’ apparition, and I sunk into my chair with a glass of neat, iceless whisky, wondering why you only want to visit when I’m unconscious.
I don’t remember how I woke, but as I burned the dinner and begged with eyes of haunted brown for my relatives to like, or even just be polite about my holiday presentation, you stayed at the window of my soul, sobbing and slipping in and out of focus as the hours crept by.
Catherine, you’re crazy. This is just a winter’s tale (that has gone on for several years, regardless of the season), but it cannot continue, and you cannot keep capturing me the way that you do. (
Please do. Please do. Please do.)
Don’t you know that this devotion is indecent? I stared through stained glass, red wine dripping down my best curtains as Jon Bon Jovi did his best to soothe the sore wounds with song, and you stared back, your roughly cut fingernails clinging to the frosted windows, and a hopeful look clinging to your soft eyes.
You still wore that leather jacket that blew my mind when we were sixteen, and I was certain that you were the coolest girl I’d ever seen, and now, months after the memory of you made it’s way into my long life of coping, I can see you at the window again.
It is July. Christmas is still keeping her intentions to herself, but you’ve decided to be a little less elusive. Being bound to you is giving me a soul ache, but when I see you in my dreams, I suddenly feel like giving up smoking and spending New Year’s Day in the gym.
Tell me that you love me, and I swear, I can change, but being bound to you makes me so blue, and… there’s a can of your favourite dessert in my kitchen cupboard, out of date, out of sight at the back of a shelf, but I can’t let it go.
How crazy is that? How ridiculous is that? I have cleaned out my cupboards fourteen times since last Christmas and it has gawped at me every time. I take it out, wrapping it lovingly in soft tissue paper, and I scrub where it has rested for weeks, months, almost half a year, before freeing it from its swaddles, replacing it in the exact same spot, like a mad woman, making a shadow into something special.
You’re back at the window, watching my ritual, unable to see all the things I’ve sacrificed to keep us apart, for your own good, for my own sanity, but despite it all, you desperately paw my once clean windows, demanding to be let in from the cold.
If I am a mad woman, then you must be too.