It’s Christmas Eve.
When I was a child, this was my favorite day of the year. My Grammy would hold court at my Grammy and DadDad’s house and all the family would go up for Italian Christmas Eve. The cousins would receive gifts from the aunts, uncles and grandparents. We would eat the best food we would have all year, play with our new toys, and go home to quickly scamper into bed before Santa came.
As I’ve gotten older, it’s morphed into something else entirely, a grotesque mockery of the happy day it used to be. When my Grammy died, my aunt took over holding court. When she passed away… I stopped wanting to go. My cousins and I have no relationship. I don’t know my uncles at all. I went for my DadDad, because Christmas Eve was when he told the best stories. I would sit and drink coffee with Sambuca and Baileys with him and listen to him reflect. It made the Christmas Eves bearable.
The last month… the last week… has been hell for me. It started with my DadDad’s death… and then a couple weeks later I totaled my car in a stupid accident because I hadn’t been able to get my breaks done. I found myself without my income, and scrambling more than ever because that night I learned my rent was going up $200 the next month. I had nothing in savings, living day by day as I did… and I knew my parents would be no help. When I told them about the accident my dad called me stupid, and said he didn’t know what to tell me. My mom just cried. The car had been hers first, and was her first new car.. and me without income meant I couldn’t send them student loan money, which meant that they would have to cover my loans again this month because I “can’t get my life together and don’t have my priorities straight.”
I am blessed in other ways… my friends, my chosen family, and my partner have been incredibly supportive. One of my best friends, a firecracker named Annie, helped me get a gofundme together and told me over and over not to be ashamed to ask for help.. that big girl or not, life happens to the best of us. She’s kept me going, helped me with the car shopping process (my credit is shit, so I needed cheap and fast..which often means fixer uppers. She’s also a mechanic, and a lifesaver in so many ways). Another friend, Brian, came out and looked at my car after the accident and gave me options as to what to do next. The gofundme itself has raised over $1000, giving me a little bit to work with when I have no new income coming in. So many people have hugged me and told me it was going to be okay. Others have said if I’m still short when it gets closer to rent day to come to them. They will help. At home, I feel supported, and loved. Person after person has slowly been convincing me that it’s going to be okay.
My partner Chris has been incredible support, from little things like making sure I’ve been eating and that I wasn’t alone to bigger things like helping out with the gofundme. He’s kept me smiling, and I am grateful…
And then there is James… my Master, who is far too much in the same boat that I am in. He’s helped in ways that have honestly meant the most.. Giving me time he didn’t have to spare, arms to curl up in, kisses that make me feel adored and wanted. He’s held me when I needed the safety of being swallowed in his arms, and when I’ve started dropping caught me before I fell. He’s known when I needed pleasure and when I’ve needed play without me asking… without me even knowing. The man can read me like a fucking book, and I’ve been more grateful for that in the last week than I can properly express in words.
Tuesday was my last night in the Bay for two weeks. The trip to New Jersey for Christmas was pre-planned and pre-arranged by my parents. I couldn’t get out of it. I couldn’t say no when my mother was clinging to me being ‘home’ for Christmas. It was also my last day watching a child that I’ve been caring for for over a year and a half; an adorable two year old that has made a huge impact on my life. Knowing my emotional state leaving this little girl, my Master invited me along to a game night up in Napa. I love his friends, and have felt so accepted by all of them, so of course I said yes.
I’ve been using Getaround cars to..well… get around (yay smart phone apps. The Bay Area has certain advantages). I had a rental expiring that evening, and so made a plan with James to rent another car just for the time in Napa, drop the car back off in the city after the game night, and then James would drive me the rest of the way to my house. He would spend the night, we would get much-needed intimate time together before I disappeared for the holidays, and he would bring me to the airport in the morning before going into the city for BaGG that evening (which I was regrettably missing because of my flight time… The holiday flights were so expensive I didn’t have much choice in that matter).
We never made it into the city. The game night was fabulous, and brought me a lot closer to his friends. I gave each of them a tarot reading that I think did some good…and even gave one to my Master himself which revealed a few things.. I’m still not sure I’m ready to face or process. He was going to bring his best friend home and then follow me into the city.
Master’s car has needed to be serviced for a while. The poor thing has had its check engine light on for as long as I can remember.. he just hasn’t had the money to fix it. On the way into the city that night the poor car finally broke down… Smoke coming out of the engine and all. I got a call for him while I was driving ahead saying that I would need another ride to the airport tomorrow. I turned around to find him, scrambling as to how I was going to get back to my place all the way down the peninsula. Bart wasn’t running anymore and the rental had to be back by 6 a.m…
I found him finally, pulled over by the entrance to a bridge whose name I still can’t remember. He was distant… trying to think of all that needed to be done now. He had to get down to BaGG that evening. Had to figure out how to get his car up and running so that his life didn’t end up on hold. He’s a paraplegic, so it’s not so simple as it is for me of just find a cheap, running car and move on. Hand breaks are expensive. Life is expensive.
It was freezing… my cold is now back with a vengeance from waiting around for a tow truck for two hours. But it’s two more hours I got with him. There was a little cuddling… and a slightly devastating conversation with him where he told me there were similarities between his relationship with me and his relationship with his ex wife (someone I never want to be like, ever). There are ghosts I can’t shake from his past..and they are impacting my relationship in the present… Combine that with him just being so far away, me losing that night with him, trying to figure out how the hell I was going to get to the airport and get home and general and worrying about him getting home, about his car when I know he’s in a worse financial state than even I am in… I was, and am still, a mess. I was of no use to my Master, my boyfriend..and only proved to add to his plate, because on top of his worries he was worrying about what I could do to get where I need to go safely.
His friends came through.. two women who are slowly beginning to feel like sisters to me. They met me in the city (when they also live in Napa) and drove me all the way back home. Last I saw my Master, he was getting into a tow truck. We’ve texted briefly…but he’s been busy…
I got home at 6 a.m… finally fell asleep around 7, only to wake up at 11 to pack. I couldn’t bring my cat with me like I’d planned, and leaving Poe for two weeks, even in the hands of people I trust, is hard for me. I left the meager gifts I was able to get together for my roommates (I haven’t Christmas shopped at all and have scrambled and scrounged instead) on the kitchen table, took a Lyft to the airport that I couldn’t afford, and boarded a plane that stayed on the tar mat for two hours before finally taking off with at least six screaming children on board.
I have not Christmased. I have had neither the energy nor the heart to. With all that has happened my mind is three thousand miles away, with my family and my Master. I didn’t know we would be doing Christmas Eve at my DadDad’s house when my parents picked me up last night… my mother sprung it on me today. We are going up to a house that has already been picked clean by spiteful siblings, a last hurrah before its sold. A house my DadDad built with his two hands, that his children and grandchildren grew up in, is an empty shell, a mockery. I will be asked over and over to explain myself. Explain my life. How I’m doing. I will be judged and picked apart by strangers I share blood with.
My parents are trying to put on this charade that they’re all excited for Christmas… but none of the traditions have happened that have happened in years passed. For the first time in my life the gifts are under the tree before Christmas morning. There is no surprise this year because my mother just doesn’t have the time to wrap and arrange them tonight. Santa Clause and the mystery around him is dead. My father is exhausted, my mother has just been going on about how much she’s been working and how she has no time off while I’m here. And I have been crying.
There is no safe place to cry in this house. I broke down in the shower and my mother came in to ask me what was wrong. How do I say everything? How do I say this Christmas is hell and I just want to go home, when she expects the house I grew up in to still be my home? How do I tell them I feel like a stranger, intruding on rituals I don’t understand.
The cherry on top of all of this is that my parents have figured out that my lifestyle isn’t a phase. My dad noticed the slave ring on my left ring finger, a gift from Master. A day collar. Both of them have problems with it, and keep asking what I lacked in my childhood to want to walk this path. I can’t be who I am anymore around them. I can’t talk about what’s bothering me. I can’t be open and honest. I can’t even cry safely, because when I cry they expect an explanation for it.
Why am I crying? Because it’s all too much. Because I feel so very broken.. so lonely. So isolated from everything that I love. Because I desperately miss my Master even though it’s only been a day. Because I haven’t heard from him today and worry that spam texting him will only make him go further away and not want to talk to me when I need his voice, his touch, his presence.
He dropped me off at the airport when I was going back for my DadDad’s funeral… That morning, he gave me a pendant of his. A geeky, Harry Potter pendant that I love. A part of him that I could have on me, so that even when he wasn’t here, he was. I have been clinging to it like my life depends on it… that and a tee shirt of his that I’ve had for so long it no longer smells like him (I was going to get another on Tuesday night..but…).
It’s too much. It’s all too much… I’m hurting so bad and I can’t cry because if I do I’ll get asked fifty thousand questions I can’t answer. I don’t want to hurt my parents more than they are already hurting. Better I be the one that hurts. At the end of all this I get to go home. They have to stay here.
I want to go home for Christmas. I want my Master and my friends… I want to feel safe, and wanted, and loved. Who gives a shit about gifts and charades.. I don’t know how much I can act tonight. How much I can pretend that I give a fuck, or don’t when they rip into me. Because they will. They always do. I said I was done with them at my DadDad’s funeral..and my mother is making me see them again. Making me pretend, for her sake, that we’re a happy fucking family.
I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home.
They say home is where the heart is. I can never tell my parents that my heart just isn’t here anymore. It’s with my Master and my family in California.
I am battered, I am bleeding, but I am still yours.