Every year, I receive a free Christmas tree from my realtor. I have always been allergic to evergreens, so I place them on my patio and wrap them in lights. To me, the trees twinkle more beautifully under a fresh layer of snow.
This year, between an allergy to the cold, an allergy to the tree, and tendency to dislocate my joints, I accepted I would need help. I am always reluctant to ask for help, and rarely do, but I thought the tree might lift my spirits and distract me from pain as I rest on the couch every night. So I asked four of my closest friends and family for help. Four people should be enough to deliver and set up a Christmas tree, right?
This is what I got.
A giant pipe cleaner.
You see, one of my “helpers” threw the tree on my patio, but did not set it up. So the tree lay bound and freezing on my patio. For a week. Until the next “helper” set it in the stand, shrugged their shoulders, and left.
Heart pounding with anger, I stared at the tree. “Put it in your condo to thaw,” the “helpers” said. I can’t. Another insult to injury. I’m allergic. That’s the point. Never mind, the bag of lights sitting untouched by the door. I forced myself to sleep to stop the angry ruminations.
I woke up at 5 am, enjoying 3 treeless minutes, before I open patio blinds to let the dogs out. There lay the tree, impossibly more pitiful than before.
Adrenaline surged as the last year of disappointments spun in my head – holidays spent alone, nights without dinner, and weeks without calls or texts. For months, I had ignored the pain of inadequate support, but here was a visual reminder, demanding to be seen, indisputably pathetic.
Maybe this time was different, because my adrenals are finally recovering after a year of prednisone. Maybe I’ve moved on from the first stage of grief to anger. What I know for sure is I had enough adrenaline to shove the tree over a four-foot patio wall and drag it half a block. (Of course, I put on protective gloves first.)
My intention was to throw it in a dumpster, treestand and all, never to be seen again, but my rage ran out quicker than I expected. So I dropped the tree and scurried away in the darkness of the early morning. I spent the rest of the day nursing a dislocated disc in my back.
For several days, I cautiously spied on the abandoned tree, fearful someone would connect my interest with ownership. I was certain someone would adopt it, but no one did. I began to feel guilty. The tree was just a victim of heartless humans. What if I was the tree?
And then it snowed. Five inches that would inevitably last until spring. The tree was dead and buried. Or so I thought.
Three days later, driving home and caroling along with the radio, I screamed and stomped on the brakes.
It was back. From the dead. My zombie Christmas tree.
It snowed other five inches, cementing the treestand in snow for the coming months. Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…