I’m just blowin’ smoke…

The holidays were great.

Everyone’s happy and singing Christmas carols while nibbling on cookies shaped like the candy canes that they would later dip in mugs of hot chocolate. Everyone’s wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and exchanging White Elephant gifts. Everyone’s putting on their best face to see family for the first time in a long time, if not the first time all year.

The holidays were great.

If she tipped her face up slightly, the light would kiss her hunger-sharpened cheekbones just enough so that you couldn’t see the dark shadows that hovered in the hollows of her eyes. Her lips were thin and wrinkled and puckered so naturally around a Marlboro Red that you’ve thought she was born with a cigarette in her mouth. Glittery strands of grey hair poked out from her wavy mass of dark hair that revolted against the hairspray but the hardness around her eyes almost let her pull it off in a severe sort of way.

Merry Christmas to you too.

The holidays were great. The few family members that still talked to her gave her gift cards which she sold online for cash. Cash was easier to spend.

She never got them anything. Cash was easier to spend on herself.

She was surrounded by family members in her living room with forced smiles plastered on their faces, staring back at her. She picked up one of the frames and wiped the smudged glass with her sleeve.

There you go. Gotta put on your best face for the holidays.

Family gatherings were easy when no one could talk to you. There was no one to pointedly ask how your boyfriend is when they all know that he left you a few month earlier. No one to inquire after your friends when they recently heard that the best one left with your boyfriend. No one to make small talk and ask how work is going when they found out that you don’t work anymore after you were late one too many times.

Of course, then again, there was no one to wish you a “Merry Christmas”. The holidays were great.

Merry Christmas to you too.

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