Tuesday, August 28, 2012
On Christmas Eve E and R were in R’s apartment, cracking open walnuts, drinking tap water. They were sitting at the dining room table, a tabletop artificial Christmas tree flickering before them. Outside a snow storm pelted windows, an erratic wind sent nonpareil flakes in all directions. R was apologetic to friend E about the sparse offerings. E, nowhere else to go this holiday, consoled his friend. They talked about old times, laughed into the night. At 2:00 AM, R encountered a walnut that just wouldn’t open. E tried also. Nothing. Like a stone. So they walked outside, the snow down to flurries, the world silent. Down to us and the world’s asleep, E said, just like old times. Remember back when? said E. Yeah, said R, the parties, the hearty food and drink, the music, the crowds of people. Where are they now? Where are we, E said, looking straight ahead, eyes frozen. R looked upward to the apartment. White ceilings, generic light. No decorations. The years kept disappearing. Erasure of what was, who they were. Wind, snow pelted them both. R thought he should’ve bought drinks, festive food, put up window lights. Somewhere old friends, dispersed geographically, celebrated. He threw the unbreakable walnut. It sunk into a mound of snow.