The smell of dried oranges and apricot brandy

There used to be a gap between moments imagined and moments lived; sometimes it still grins with all the might of its wide mouth, a toothy slit, oozing light-hearted pity for the mortal hopes I held.

Scenes congealing into a precipitate of memories that only exist through the human power of expectation

And I walked under glistening city lights, surrounding myself with holiday and merriness, I imagined myself the hostess of an extravagant dinner, arranging lavish floral centerpieces, placing silk ribbons on a table laden with delicacies – that also taste richer to the mind’s palate than in reality.

I pictured movie-like instants, drawn out by the sheer multiplicity of occurrences, as I replayed a different Christmas every day, like one would pop open the little windows of her advent calendar

Yet it was not chocolate bites melting on my eager tongue, but as many iterations of this ideal as my tired brain could come up with.

Evenings ripe with sparkles, golden champagne poured in impeccable glasses; afternoons of cristal clear laughter and fine dresses; mornings of hot cocoa and frothy upper lips, spiced tea and gingerbread treats, presents unwrapped in good-hearted frenzy. Long days of looking at the snow falling, trying to see if the flakes are really each as unique as the seconds our lives are made of, as unique as all those created scenes, snowball fights and shoes that do no track mud as people come back inside to a warm blanket, a roaring fire, and the smell of dried oranges and apricot brandy.

And for all those years, like the little girl with her matches, I burnt through those un-realities, nestling my disillusioned soul deep in them, until they became memories of things that could have been, and I the ghost of Christmas missed.

Prompt by @theconstantpoet on instagram

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