Late this afternoon I walked down to the basement laundry before going out to do the circuit of shopping for our supper and weekend breakfasts (Mr Kim's for squash and dill, the wine shop for wine and Stolichnaya, Key Food for milk and eggs). I needed to launder my gym clothes. That's another story. A membership at the nearby New York Health and Racquet Club*. The price tag alone guarantees my attendance.
[Ahem. That should have been New York Sports Club.]
As I passed the basement-level apartment of The Guy Who Has Loud Sex and Spanks his Partner (...I hear it, what can I say?), I smelled Christmas trees. Douglas fir, to be precise. I love this northern scent. Go figure, I thought, Porn Hound got himself a tree.
As I walked down the final flight of stairs the tree smell grew stronger and suddenly I saw not Porn Hound, but my husband, looking up at me guiltily.
I had caught him in the act of decorating a fragrant and apartment-sized Douglas fir. He'd been hiding there, hoping to install it in my absence. He was very remorseful at being caught with his tree pants down, but I was very happy. It had been a rare sleepless night, half awake with high winds and ice rain on the skylights, the neighbour's wind chimes hysterical on her terrace, and fretful scenarios in my head regarding books, life, death...and gym memberships. You know, one of those it's-spiraling-out-of-control-it will-never-be-OK nights of the soul.
I've never had a tree. Ever. In the States, I mean. Usually I am in Cape Town for Christmas. Our six foot tree now presides over the cat's water and food bowls. It twinkles with lights and fragile red and gold and silver globes, and actual tinsel.
It made everything better. Brought to me by the man who dreads Christmas more than a hole in the head.