a week ago christian and i sat through a long and emotionally exhausting doctor’s appointment. outside he held me on the corner, in the rain, and then he had to get in his car and drive to his final. i got in my car to drive home.
stopping at costco for gas i ran in for a few things. as i made a return the kind employee mentioned she could update my photo for me. my 6-year-old photo is pretty hideous. i look like a chubby boy. i did want a new photo. but i’ve been crying all day, i said. oh honey, you look beautiful, she insisted. rubbing the mascara from below my eyes i did my best to smile. she was already handing me my new card and gave me a squeeze. i hope your night gets better. i was touched that a stranger could offer such comfort.
i had already decided i deserved a stop at macdonald’s. so when i pulled in to my garage i was only thinking about eating my chicken nuggets. and drinking my $1 coke. suddenly tallie was right there in my drive way with a listening ear and a hug. are you set on those nuggets? she asked. i kind of was, but i didn’t tell her that. david made steak, let’s go! she said. and that is when my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day turned around.
we ate steak. hank eyed my pop. venna climbed all over me and kept handing me partly chewed green beans. after dinner we drove to redbox to get a girly movie. people like us popped up on the screen but redbox said it was unavailable. we were each searching on our smart phones to find another redbox with our movie when a man walked up. that’s a great movie, he said pointing to the screen. we watched it last night. both tallie and i eyed the dvd case in the man’s hand. as fate would have it he was returning the very movie for which we were searching. tallie tried to grab the movie while i jumped up and down yelling for him to put it in the machine. i think our exuberance alarmed the man. he quickly returned the dvd and we eagerly made our selection again. this time with success. although we may have gotten a little sidetracked and almost left fred meyer without the movie.
sitting on my couch with friends we stayed up late, watching a movie on a school night. we ate chocolate and cookies. we paused the movie when our side conversations interfered. and we yelled at the characters as if they could hear us.
at one point in the movie elizabeth banks invites chris pine out for mexican food. his answer is ambiguous. she asks for clarification and he exclaims, “absolutely tacos!” i loved it, mostly because if given the opportunity i would always exclaim absolutely tacos. i’m pretty much pro tacos if you didn’t know.
that night ended and i crawled into bed heavy-hearted. the following days i didn’t venture from home much. christian was worried i was avoiding people. so when a few girls decided at the last-minute to get some mexican food, i came along. (absolutely tacos! remember?)
we ate and laughed and talked. about pants on sundays. church boundary change rumors. christmas and santa claus. it began harmlessly. but our voices escalated and i may have been the culprit. it was late, the restaurant was sparsely attended. i asked how you keep the focus on christ during christmas. how you don’t let present giving swallow up the meaning. how you handle lying to your children about santa. and then everyone chimed in and we may have said rather loudly, and repeatedly, how santa isn’t real.
i’m not sure how it happened, but the dad at the booth kitty corner from us flagged us down. eyeing us fiercely he slid his finger across his throat and then motioned across his table – where sat his son. he repeated the motion but added an emphatic shushing signal with a finger to his lips. all of us stared, horrified at the little boy, eating his tacos. the kid must have sensed the awkward halt in our conversation. he looked up at us quizzically and then kept eating.
we tried to pick up the pieces of our chatter. but it was too late. i think we may have ruined christmas that night, all while eating tacos.