Friday, September 16, 2005

I remember that even though I was dreading the winter, it felt nice to open the window in the kitchen so that the bite of cool air circulated past the oven and back out the open window in the living room that faced clear, blue sky. You can tell when the air will have this particular effect simply by looking out the window at the sky. It seems to look bluer, somehow, and has a peculiar clearness that it just doesn't have when it's warm and humid outside.

The current created by opening these two particular windows drew the smell of stuffing and squash casserole into the rest of the apartment and forced upon my imagination a number of comparisons that I generally like to pretend that I can ignore. Not that holidays bear any kind of negative connotations, by any means, but that watching these events occur in my own house without the company of adults invokes phrases like "grown up" and "dinner parties" and "honey, did you turn out the light in the bathroom?" Well, that and the noticeable lack any resemblance to a holiday celebration that I have ever encountered. We did, now that I think about it, have one relative. A youngish cousin of hers who came from Jersey to kill a few hours before taking off again to spend the long weekend in the city. He smelled badly of cigarettes and I recall comparing him in my mind to one of my brothers, and imagining that when he left to meet his friends that there would undoubtedly be iniquitous plans attached to the evening.

But certainly, the house was far from the bustling atmosphere that I have come to associate with holidays spent cooking and babysitting and reacquainting ourselves with friends and family who we rarely see, and always forget to call on their birthdays.

The evening, while now wrapped in layers of symbolism and bridge-burning and point-of-no-return, seemed simply a joyous day at the time. Clearly, the smell of turkey cooking must evoke happy memories in most every red-blooded American. Add football, the breeze floating through our fourth-story apartment, anticipation of Christmas. New experiences, friends, sights, a home.

As the season approaches again, the receding mercury excites me. Boots and heaters and Fifth Avenue deserted in the middle of the afternoon! And I guess I'm not quite excited about having to be the one who cooks the turkey, instead of just being there to eat it, but I suppose that, with time, I could get kind of used to it.


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