There I was seated, ready to devour the roasted Christmas feast before me when sudden bouts of despair engulfed me. I’m unclear as to why they came or why they chose that very inappropriate moment to awash me in dangerous melancholy. Perhaps these were feelings subconsciously buried. Feelings of dread and dismay suppressed over the last few weeks, leaving me vulnerable and unprepared for the sudden eruption which had me internally refraining from sobbing then and there.
Though I hardly believe one soul would have noticed those tears anyway.
From there something inside me dramatically changed. Anger and frustration consumed me and petulance over trivial matters got the best of me as I put on quite the rebellious display of dissatisfaction. Like the way the food was set on the dining table. Dishes were strategically placed before our guests who happened to sit at the other end of the table. Dishes that happened to be well out of my reach without some assistance. I managed to help myself to a plate of roasted vegetables only to have it snapped away from my possession for another. His need for rooted vegetables seemingly greater than my own. I recall looking at my plate and feeling immense resentment over that human. Oh my plate! A pathetic display consisting of one mediocre turnip, one large caramelised shallot and three baby carrots no larger than the size of my thumb. All that was left before me were a bowl of measly homemade olives.
I would surely starve!
And my irrational nature prevailed, so like the brat I am known to become I defied all sense of appropriateness; table manners be damned. I sat with my arms defensively crossed against my chest and pouted, vowing to not consume a morsel more. That was, unless someone kindly passed a platter of food in my direction.
It was so childish and never had I felt such passionate rage. I wanted to leap from my chair and bang clenched fists against my chest. I needed to cast those antique white plates towards the wall to display my fury in all its greed and glory. I needed everyone on that table to know my wrath and understand my scorn.
But while outrage seemingly took centre stage, melancholy was the grand master puppeteer.
As tears threatened to perilously spill down my cheeks I couldn’t comprehend why I felt so sad, why I felt so alone and excluded. It wasn’t intentional and I understood that. That was clear as mud. And I had been terribly apprehensive about Christmas day. Well, I was dreading Christmas period. All I could feel in my heart was how we should be entertaining this lunch at my uncle’s home. How we would be eating in their garden on the stretch of green lawn beside the grand aviary and under the shade of chestnut trees. How we’d be laughing and getting drunk on good wine while the birds sung their songs. How I’d get to spend time with my cousins who I rarely ever see, even during the festive season. How I would have driven to their property alone from my own home in my brand new Jeep. How I would have left my sidekick waiting for me on our new teal couch accompanied by the impressive new haul of toys she would have been lavished with that morning. How I’d be wearing some expensive torn denims, paired with an equally obnoxiously priced white shirt and some Loeffler Randall slides. How my hair would be down and elegantly styled to mimic perfectly loose beach waves with only a pair of Linda Farrow sunglasses to tame it against the soft breeze.
How we’d all be together, like we used to.
Yet there we were. Everyone having a nice time except me. Everyone enjoying comforting food comas and conversation while I wrestled with melancholy and battled with chagrin and sorrow, wondering why I’m even still here.