Christmas Eve morning. The first cars are sifting down the promenade. The dark is beginning to fold its cloak in the east. The cat and I are wedged together on the gray couch. The coffee is black and hot. The bedroom clock ticks, ticks, ticks.
This morning Tom and Paul and I will amble down to the waterside to buy our Christmas dinner. We've decided to start with little plates of this and that: olives, cheese, smoked fish, and anything else that strikes our fancy. Then we'll have a salad and Tom's homemade noodles with butter and lots of Harmony-grown garlic. And we'll finish with Reine de Saba cake--one of my favorite Julia Child classics. Tonight, instead of cooking, we'll stroll downtown and eat Chinese food at the Empire.
We made all of these decisions at about 8 p.m. last night. This has been the most underplanned holiday of my life, yet so far everything has fallen casually into place. After eight months of loneliness and worry, I'm imagining that Christmas, that classic American stronghold of stress and overeating, might actually be a day of unstructured peace. A morning walk by the water, a game of cribbage, Curtis Mayfield on the stereo. A few mild cooking projects, shared. A nap. A glass of good cider.
Of course this is also the definition of privilege. The privilege of food and heat and refrigeration and a toilet and clean running water. Of not cowering in rubble. Of not clutching a dead child in my arms.