My beloved and I never meet during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not so much as one word between us for a solid month. Even when we are both sitting in my office I cannot acknowledge our proximity or let my guard down for an instant or all would be lost. No quiet mornings alone. During these busy weeks I remember The Way We Were, but the clock is running and I am far too busy making decisions, shopping, and planning Christmas to wallow.
Two days before family arrives--the beds have yet to be changed, gift gaps filled, extra closet space cleared for guests--and my beloved whispers to me in the early morning. I am surprised at the fully formed ideas flowing suddenly between us after weeks of silence. I had forgotten that feeling. But--Not Now, I say. Do not come to me when I am unable to grasp you. Do not play with me like this. Such torture! I reach for my planner and steel myself for another day of shopping, arranging, and list-checking.
While holiday celebrations are underway: engaging in old traditions and new recipes, I am amazed how far I have drifted from my beloved. The chasm appears so wide that I fear there will be no going back this time. I will not remember how, or, I am changed, no longer privy to the Otherness, forever stranded in the real world.
Yet, two days after Christmas, my family travels 600 miles from home to a place where there are no more lists, shopping happens hardly at all, and food is something we eat to live. My husband and my sons don ski boots and venture up the mountain. I stay behind in the cozy lodge, alone with my beloved. Surrounded by hundreds of tramping ski boots, swooshing jackets, and wet gloves, the world falls away and we pick up where we left off in November, needing no more than an electrical outlet and a place to work. My novel-in-progress and I plunge deep into imagination. Reunited at last. Nothing will have changed between us. It happens every year just like this.
Cindy Jones is the author of My Jane Austen Summer as well as work-in-progress about look-alike friends who trade places while under dangerous influence of Romantic Poets. Follow: