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Nash, Edith / Practice the here and now: selected writings of Edith Nash

Nash, Edith
Christmas morning,   pp. 59-60

Page 59

Christmas Morning
 There is nothing like the loneliness I feel when I am with people I love.
No solitude can approach it. Christmas morning comes up on the screen in
living color. I am sitting in the living room of our house in Georgetown
in my red Viyella bathrobe, full of freshly squeezed real orange juice; a
buttery croissant made by my faithful husband; black, black coffee; champagne
expiring in a wine glass; and the feeling of surfeit only the opening of
piles of presents can bring. Our beautiful daughters have opened stockings
in our bed upstairs and now have opened their big presents in this room.
They have new electric blankets and fuzzy nightgowns and new books and are
on the way to retire to their beds and read. I am in the middle of piles
of wrappings, string, tissue paper, boxes; some to save, some to cast away,
and my husband is starting to scrunch trash into balls and put it in a basket.
 I am assaulted with the loneliest feeling I can remember. "Why have you
forsaken me? "Where is home? What am I doing here on earth? What do I want?
Does anyone love me — anywhere, any time? Who are all these people?"
 I am surrounded by the three people I love more than anyone or anything
in the world and I yearn with my whole ~ body for something else —
I do not know its name. I dissolve in tears and no one can comfort me.
 It's fifty years later. It's Christmas morning and I am alone in my living
room along the Wisconsin River. My husband has been dead 10 years, and I
only occasionally talk to him in the middle of the night. I've moved from
May Sarton on solitude to Harriet Doerr on life in aging times. My daughters
and grandchildren live at a distance and we visit back and forth, in person
and recently by E-Mail. I can send and receive although I worry a lot about
whether my messages actually go or not. I keep looking into Sent Items to
see if they show, and it sometimes takes quite a while.
 I drink strong coffee — Starbucks if I have any from the bookstore
in Madison — and freshly squeezed orange juice and a smoked chub from
the store and a croissant made by

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