The day after Thanksgiving Heather made a two decisions: First, since it was only making her sick and was not beating back her cancer much, if at all, she was going to go off chemo. Second, we were going to have a great Christmas. I couldn’t do anything about the chemo stuff so I turned the castle inside out with an approximation of holiday cheer.
Heather’s sisters and grandma came to visit and we got a tree, a really big tree, that even in our cavernous space, loomed large. We had all our homo friends over to string cranberries and popcorn to trim it. The scene must have looked some strange post queer Norman Rockwell scene.
It’d been a while since either of us did the whole stockings hung by the chimney thing. And plus we don’t have a chimney, so we made do with a large mirror. I personally couldn’t imagine Santa including creature loving Portland in his flight plan, because I was sure he would get slapped with some kind of “cruelty to animals” citation for making the reindeer fly so far in one night. I wondered out loud if there was a special hippy Santa that just came to Portland and biked in, wearing hemp shoes and a guatemalan vest. Heather told me to shut up and stop being a cynic, but still laughed really hard when I left hummus and soymilk, by our makeshift chimney, just in case.
Christmas morning after we had opened our gifts and before I headed downstairs to begin cooking dinner for the gang we would be having over in the afternoon, Heather took my hand. looked at me and said “you know, most people would think I’m unlucky because I’m going to die before I turn 40. But I actually think I am lucky, few people in the world have been loved by someone the way I have been loved by you.”