The Holidays (Story by Risa Peris)

The holidays! I love you. I get to unearth the boxes from the garage. It’s Friday. Thanksgiving is over. I don’t work. I will go out shopping later. I have twenty people to buy for. Zing. I love buying gifts. 

I got my husband to set up the trees. I got my daughter to wrap the ribbon, but the lights on the artificial tree were broken. Only half illuminated. The others didn’t blink. My husband walked in with a casserole dish. 

“The green bean dish burnt the bottom.” I waved him off and kept decorating. 

My husband came in again. “The turkey pan didn’t come clean.”]

“You have to scrub it,” I yelled. 

My mother and mother-in-law came down the stairs. 

“I thought we were going shopping.” That was Gladys. My husband’s mother. I tolerated her for the sake of the family. 

“We are,” I said. “But I wanted to start decorating.”

“I don’t know why,” said my mother. “Is there coffee?”

I screamed in frustration with an opulent angel in my hand. “Carl, would you fucking make coffee?”

My daughter gasped and my mother and mother-in-law rolled their eyes in disapproval. Carl walked in with a soapy roasting pan. “I’ll fucking make coffee when this plan is clean.”

I set the angel down. “Okay. Let’s get some Starbucks on the way to the mall. 

An hour later we were in the car and a terrible smell filled it. I looked in the rearview mirror. Mother and mother-in-law stared ahead as if nothing had happened. 

“Eeeew.” My daughter pinched her nose. “What just happened?”

“One of the mothers.” I rolled down the window. 

That’s when the mother’s starting fighting with each other and screaming at me, I hit the holiday tunes on Sirius. When we got to the mall it took us a half-hour to park. Nobody was calm. My daughter was talking about some Korean boy band so fast I thought she was on cocaine. 

In the mall, it was mayhem. The mothers split. Tasha asked for money. 

“You get an allowance.” 

“I don’t have that shit on me.”

“Watch your fucking mouth young lady.”

I gave her cash just as a big guy in a  big parka bumped me and the contents of my purse spilled. I watched as a tampon rolled under a bench.

“Fuck.”

I scurried to pick up everything. I stood, looked around, thought of Thanksgiving where the mothers were vocal in their support of Trump, the burnt cranberry sauce and green bean cassewrole, the broken lights this morning, the cracked angel, the flatulent mothers…a husband probably at home drinking beer and scraping the roasting pan with a spoon in between masturbating. 

The holidays! I hate you. 

THE END

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