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“This is the strangest week of the year,” Hannah said.
Mick sat down next to her with another round of tea. They were in their apartment on Capitol Hill in Seattle, transfixed by the white and gold glow of a fake tree and recovering from a post-Christmas teriyaki orgy. An iTunes mix of Christmas music from Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Ella, Frank and Bing played and all was right with the world.
“What do you mean?” Mick said, leaning into her shoulder.
“I mean, it’s just….weird!” Hannah said. “Christmas was yesterday! It’s over! But we still have all the decorations up, and the tree, and we’re still listening to Christmas songs and watching Christmas movies and everything. Doesn’t it feel kind of…I don’t know, sort of wrong, somehow?”
Mick stared at the tree. “Yeah, right?” he said. “It is kind of strange. Not bad, but strange. Maybe a little…anticlimactic?”
Hannah thought about Mick’s choice of phrase, and gave him a gentle sock on the arm. “Yes! That’s it! I mean, there’s nothing left! No more Christmas! But it’s still perfect to have the tree up and watch Rankin Bass Christmas movies and all. For another week, and then it’s totally all over.”
“And there really isn’t any corollary throughout the rest of the year,” Mick said. “It would be like blasting off fireworks every night until July 11th or something.”
“Exactly!” Hannah said. “And I’m not complaining, of course. I friggin’ LOVE Christmas and I never want it to end, so I’m going to live the hell out of it this week. But really….” She held up her hands in a what the hell? gesture. “It’s like a cancelled sitcom being brought back for another five episodes!”
It had been clear enough to see the Olympics to the northwest and Mt. Rainier and the Cascades to the southeast most of the day, but the gray murk had rolled back in over the afternoon. It wasn’t the leaden snow sky they were used to growing up in Montana and Boston respectively, but Hannah and Mick were both able to envision snow squalls and muted Christmas lights and candles as they sat by the tree, both silently holding on to Christmas as a day, as a concept and as a spectral presence from their childhoods. Christmas again. They had another week to keep Christmas, and they couldn’t wait.