For Erica, Christmas Day 2015 had started off with a peaceful coffee and a light breakfast. She had packed all of her gifts for everyone in two reusable grocery bags and was ready to leave when the scarf she bought for her brother caught her eye. She had used up the last of her wrapping paper and had no other options besides yesterday’s newspaper. He wouldn’t care what it was wrapped in, but she felt like a dolt giving everyone presents in Christmas paper and giving her brother something in the remnants of The Star.
She didn’t make that much of a disaster of the apartment as she didn’t want Mark to come home after visiting his family and be greeted by the aftermath of a tornado. They had made plans to have their own merry little Christmas when he returned. It was a frantic search though, as time was running out and she didn’t want to be late again.
The gift bag she eventually found was near the bottom of a box she hadn’t opened in two years. The timing she knew because of what she found inside. The only reason she cracked the tape on it was because it said ‘Christmas Shite’ in black Sharpie across the top. She stopped her silent celebration at finding the bag when she saw an envelope with her name on it lying atop the old ornaments and Christmas cards from years before.
Erica drifted to her couch with the letter and sat back. She contemplated opening it as the memories of who gave it to her and how things ended seeped into her head.
December 25th, 2013
Merry Christmas for starters. I hope you are heading off to see your family, or if you already have, I hope you had a Merry Christmas. As it’s actually Christmas Eve right now when I’m writing this and we just saw each other yesterday when we exchanged gifts, I’ll spare you all the rest of the Christmas pleasantries. I’m sure I’m having a great time with my family in NYC and though none of them have met you, I know they wish you a Merry Christmas as well.
I writing because I want to say that after everything we’ve talked about, been through, and experienced together and apart in both our lives in the 32 years before we knew each other and in this past year since we met, one thing is clear beyond anything else in my life: All I Want For Christmas Is You.
But it is so much more than that. We are faced with a choice, a decision, a dilemma, or whatever you, or I, or we want to call it. I could say no to transferring back to New York and quit my job and stay in Toronto, though I’d probably be deported. We have talked about it and I understand with your Mum not doing well and your career at the firm taking off, you don’t want to leave your home either. I’m sorry for bringing up the idea of the shotgun wedding to make it easier for you to come, because I know that the reasons you are hesitant have nothing to do with me, or at least I believe you when you say that. But ya, exchanging vows just for the hell of it doesn’t seem like a great idea, even for two people that aren’t necessarily sold on the idea of marriage.
Here’s the thing though. I’m sorry for bringing up marriage, but I’m not. I want to marry you yesterday. Is that crazy? Of course it is, but it wouldn’t be if you felt the same way and came with me. So “crazy” is a matter of perspective. Or maybe we’d just be crazy together and who the hell doesn’t want that? I want to be crazy together with you in the world’s craziest city!
Wherever you are, I want to show up every morning just to hear your screen door slam and watch your dress wave because while Roy Orbison will be singing for the lonely, all I want for Christmas is you.
I want you to stay if you want to and have your career take off and make partner and come and visit me randomly and tell me everything awesome and shitty about your life, because all I want for Christmas is you.
I want to wake up next to you every morning, just before you open your eyes, so I can experience a few moments of knowing I’m in exactly the right place at the right time and every decision I’ve ever made was right and wrong, but mostly right because of where I am waking up because all I want for Christmas is you.
I want to laugh, like we have, about the weird stuff we would do with our theoretical children. The random trips we would take, the random traditions we would start for them, just so when they went to school and told their friends about them, their friends would think we were the weirdos that we actually are. If I do have kids, I don’t want to have accidental babies with someone else, because if I have children I want half of them to be you, because all I want for Christmas is you.
Every moment I shared with you this year, trumps every other moment. I can’t count them all but let’s just say you star, or play a role, in my top 1,242,111 moments of 2013. Brunch in the park, followed by our random adventure through the city, tops the list. I will especially remember your rendition of “Edge of 17” at karaoke that evening and how we managed to drink all of the drinks while still not blacking out or somehow ending up arrested or dead. Second on the list was that epic Sunday when we just lay on the couch eating too much food, napping too many naps, and reading to each other in between. Though people can never have too much food or nap too much I think. They are both life affirming.
All I want for Christmas is for you to wake up in a peaceful world, where you are the champion of your insecurities, where you take your demons on head first and win, where you stand up for what you believe every time and even if you are defeated, you don’t give up. I want you to wake up in a world where you aren’t judged by anything, where you don’t judge yourself, where you feel balanced and whole, but not content enough to sit idle for too long. Unless that is what you want, because all I want for Christmas is you.
Whatever you decide about coming to New York with me or staying in Toronto, it’s the right decision because I know it’s not one you are making lightly. Even if you just said yes or no right away without thought, it would still be right. I want you to know that I will always respect and love you regardless of where I am, where you are, and whether we are together or apart. This year was the best I’ve had so far because everything I did I got to share it with you in some way. At the very least, regardless of how you are feeling about yourself, on any day from here on out know that there is one person (and many more than just me) that knows the world, and their world, is a better place with you in it.
I know we never really defined what we are or were beyond that “we weren’t with anyone else”. I don’t really know what that means for us in the future or even if you think I’m totally nuts after reading this, but I do hope it has helped enlighten you to exactly how I feel.
I want you to experience you as I do, as I have.
Thank you for everything and I look forward to all of the things that come next.
Merry Christmas Erica, I hope you got everything you wanted.
All I want for Christmas is you.
All my love,
Erica read the letter again and then placed it on her lap with her hands on her knees. She stared at the floor and her vision blurred at the edges. She had not anticipated that being brought back to her year with Bon would impact her so much. At that moment, much like two years ago, she was so full of regret for not going with him, but she knew that presently her regret was fueled by nostalgia. Erica knew, at the time, it was the right decision to stay and if she didn’t, she never would have met Mark.
She was happy with Mark in a different way than she was with Bon. Two years ago when she looked at the clock and saw it was the time his plane was taking off, she didn’t think she would ever meet anyone that made her feel that alive again. She remembered being at the hospital and squeezing her mother’s limp hand, wishing she got to meet Bon. It wasn’t that Mark was better than Bon or vice versa, it was that the timing of life had intervened and things happened the way they did.
In the aftermath of her standing him up at the airport, Erica didn’t know how to approach getting in touch with Bon. She wished she had read the letter two years ago though, she knew that.
Erica packed the letter back in the box, closed it and put it all back in the closet. She would clean up the apartment when she got home from her family Christmas. Mark would just have to deal with it. She made sure the scarf was good to go and then, after one last look around the apartment, she grabbed her bags and left.
The entire ride to her parents’ house she hummed “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and tried to remember why she deleted Bon’s phone number. It was the only number she wanted to call.