That loud crashing sound was not the cat knocking an overpriced blown-glass ornament from the tree. It was my heart shattering into five million pieces. I've been dumped, just in time for the holidays.
I had been looking forward to Christmas this year. I'd caught myself daydreaming about a shopping trip-for-two to New York and pictured the two of us drinking hot chocolate as we laughed ourselves silly over Christmas television specials. But since the ill-timed dumping I've caught myself wincing at the slightest mention of anything related to the holidays. I haven't hauled the Christmas decorations out of the attic, haven't addressed holiday cards, and have avoided letting the radio dial land on the all-Christmas channel. I have not bought any presents (except for hers, of course, which I had bought early). I decided to feign normalcy in front of my family and friends.
I figured out yesterday that my efforts to conceal my holiday blues have been in vain. A few of us were sitting in the outer office suite, and one of my happily partnered coworkers suddenly broke into Elvis's "Blue Christmas." He had only gotten out a few verses, just enough to make the knot in my stomach tighten, when I heard a friend at the next desk cough loudly. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her signaling for him to hush, and I saw her motion toward me. Was it really that obvious? I left work this afternoon determined to feel better. Or at least make an effort.
Tonight as I ate alone I studied my fellow diners. Families smiled and laughed over roast beef and mashed potatoes. Couples touched hands lovingly while passing the salt. But at more than one table there was someone sitting alone. I was not the only one. Maybe I blended in after all. Why, maybe nothing at all was actually wrong with me at all. And I had an epiphany, right there in the K&W.
I have my health. I have been blessed with the world's greatest family and friends. They love me, no matter what, no matter if I'm single or dating the woman of my dreams. I have a good job, a comfortable home, a dependable car, and even a little money left over to treat myself to things like chocolate cream pie. I am doing just fine!
I would guess most of us desire to find that one special someone to be our partner for the rest of our lives, someone to share those exciting and magical moments. But I've realized that instead of focusing on what could have been or what I don't have right now, I should pay more attention to the wonderful people who are already such important parts of my life. So I am refusing to let getting dumped steal my holiday from me.
On the way home tonight I rode past what is usually my favorite display of neighborhood Christmas lights. I have already been by there twice in the past week, refusing to look in that direction both times. But tonight I actually slowed down and looked at them, deliberately, saw every string, every bulb, every illuminated plywood cutout. And you know what? They were as bright as ever.