Last week, you dreamt. It was a vivid dream. You were in your mother's house, and it felt the way it used to feel when you lived there--like home--the bits and pieces, the pictures on the wall, the furniture. All of it was like a mix between Mary Engelbreit and a Meg Ryan film set design. It was home, and you were comfortable there.
The problem was that it was June.
It was June, and the Christmas tree was still up.
Friends were coming over, and you saw your surroundings anew, with fresh eyes, with the eyes of someone who might find it strange that the Christmas tree was still up six months past its expiration date, no matter how charming the ornaments, no matter how graceful the shape of the tree.
You are embarrassed. You are embarrassed that your mother had not dismantled the tree. You are embarrassed that you have not dismantled the tree.
How could you have let the time pass--six whole months? How could you have not noticed that it didn't belong there anymore? How could you have not taken the time to put it away?
The friends leave, and you set to work. The ornaments are lovely, you think as you take one down, then another and another, tinsel and paper and hope and history. The ornaments may be lovely, but the needles of the tree are yellowed and brittle. They stab your hands, and fall off the branches with the slightest touch.
When you wake, the dream stays with you. That morning, you chuckle over the random plot of your dream.
That evening, when you think about the dream, you feel as if your subconscious is nudging you toward your to-do list. How very far behind you are.
Days later, when the dream comes flitting through your memory, you think neither of the randomness of your dream, nor of your to-do list; you're simply left with a longing. You miss that which no longer exists--Christmases that have long since past; the feeling of safety and comfort that were once provided for you; the home that is no longer there.