TONIGHT IS THE FIRST OFFICIAL NICARAGUAN HOLIDAY OF THE SEASON — I think Black Friday should be considered official too — and for another year, I will not be having Gallina Rellena for dinner. I got myself a Triple Bacon burger and fries from McDonald’s. I am not catholic, I’m atheist, but the excitement and cheering is infectious. December 7 used to be one of my favorite holidays of the year when I was very young. Mom and grandma cooking dinner, dad bringing the candy, the people singing and screaming door to door, and the fireworks. For a few years it was really good, until I realized I was a teenager and I hated everything.
I walked home from the mall at exactly 6pm, when the first wave of fireworks lit up the sky all around the country. It was not as impressive as it is back in my hometown, León, but it was good enough to stare at the sky as I was walking and feel invaded with nostalgia that made me so sad that I got teary-eyed for a good couple of minutes. This happens every year, but somehow, tonight wasn’t as sad as it used to be.
The closer I got home, the more people I saw already asking for candy door to door, and neighbors I have never met, celebrating with catholic Virgin Mary chants and live music. I couldn’t see their faces under the dim street lighting, but I noticed how happy and excited they all were. I was sad walking on my own, holding my McDonald’s dinner and the supermarket bag with my bottles of Rosé and water, and with my headphones on, listening to “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.
I’m alone in my room, listening to a Christmas playlist that I’ve obsessively put together last year in my Apple Music library. I’ve spent at least one hour every night for the last two or three weeks, meticulously arranging every song in the most perfect order. I’m not rearranging or adding songs tonight. I’m scrolling through Grindr to see if I could meet up with a stranger nearby to have sex with just to feel I have some company. Just like last year, and the years before, I’ve been hearing fireworks non-stop and people cheering outside while I sit on my bed alone. It’s only 10pm and most people are with their friends or families gathered together waiting for the fireworks at might. This is an easy one. Christmas Eve is very sad and New Year’s Eve is depressing.
Every year I wish it is the last year I’m lonely and sad for the holidays. Every year I wish for the same wish. Will this be the last year I’m in bed by 9pm on Christmas Eve, with the lights off and watching the same Christmas movies I watch every year on Netflix, while I drink wine? Will I enjoy a good Christmas dinner next year? Will this be the last year I stand alone in the dark at the balcony to see the fireworks at midnight on New Years.
It is beautiful. The sadness. The loneliness. I do have myself a merry little Christmas. I sing every classic Christmas song by Michael Bublé, Kylie Minogue, Frank Sinatra and many more all December long. I visit department stores once a week only to delight my eyes with all those beautiful Christmas trees of all sizes, decorated with expensive ornaments that I cannot afford. I walk around every isle day-dreaming that next year I will buy that shimmering Santa Claus, or that sparkling Snowman, or the entire golden sequins collection, and create my own winter wonderland in the tiny place I rent. I genuinely believe these things will make me feel happy and make me ignore the fact that I’m all alone.
I watch every Christmas movie available on Netflix every weekend in December. I watch Arthur Christmas, Elf, Christmas with the Kranks, and Home Alone every Christmas Eve in bed with a cup of wine in my hand. I wake up early on Christmas to see A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey, The Grinch, and Home Alone 2, with a hot cup of coffee in my hand. And on New Year’s Eve I watch Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN and listen to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” at midnight with a cup of sparkling wine in my hand. It’s sad and depressing, but it’s romantic and beautiful.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. For a solitaire like me, it’s the saddest time of the year. It’s a unscapable reminder that I don’t really have a family, and I don’t have real friends. I don’t have people waiting for me to show up for dinner. I don’t have people to buy gifts for. I don’t have people to kiss and hug at midnight. I don’t have a new year I look forward to. But somehow, I’m happy in my own way. I enjoy the holiday season the best way I can. I don’t expect to get what I don’t give. I’m a self-absorbed narcissist and I know I’m lonely because I surround myself with loneliness. I’m not a victim in any way, shape, or form. I’ve built a lonely life by choice. I love solitude. I’m a masochist.
Sadness is my way of life. Then why am I complainting about it? Is it because being hopeful is the one thing I’ve learned from all the Christmas movies I’ve seen? Is it because I want to feel the joy and love all those Christmas songs talk about so much? Or is it that maybe I’m just human, and I need company even when I think I don’t want it?
Last year I finally learned that I can’t judge people by how they look. This year I learned to interact and open up with others much more than I’m used to. I’m not surprised it has payed off. I’m surprised that I’ve felt so touched by others, and they don’t even know it. Just saying good morning or saying hi to me, it’s a tiny gesture, but they have no idea how much it means to me. The way my coworkers have showed support, or that my friends text me to go out, even if it’s last minute, almost makes my heart grow two sizes. It’s the kind of attention I did not think possible a year ago. It’s astonishing to me that all these people, in one way or another, tiny or big, have transformed my life in a matter of months. And they don’t even know it. I’m greatly thankful and it breaks my heart that I can’t give back what they have given me. It was my early Christmas gift this year.
I’ll still be alone, but this time more than ever, I’ll be alone by choice, and not because I believe I’m not wanted or not worth loving. Maybe next year all my troubles will be miles away. It’s almost midnight. I’ll be in the balcony seeing the fireworks by myself, with a cup of Rosé in my hand, and then I’ll go to sleep. It’s sad, but it’s beautiful. The only thing I would change is the McDonald’s burger for my grandma’s Gallina Rellena. It’d make it a perfect night.