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Two Drops of Almond

That year I had banged my head against imaginary walls. It hurt more than real walls would, for when you imagine things they get magnified. The walls were made of stone, grey and cold and weathered. They knew pain.

It was end of December, when there was a nip in the air and I'd walk through the familiar streets holding myself tight like a stranger afraid of taking a wrong turn. Upon reaching the main thoroughfares, my frozen smile would melt. The store windows were dressed with stars and balloons, there were Santa caps, clothes, shiny stringers, cribs, baby Jesuses, and often tableaux with the Magi.

These were scenes I had seen every year. That year it looked different. As though the walls had broken and I was in a manger, born again. It was the serenity on the face of the Virgin Mother, a part I had ached to enact in a tableau at school. Too shy to register my name, I watched someone else become 'me'.

That year again. Christmas was over. These window dressings would stay until the New Year. Two days were left. Melancholia was seeping in again. The walls were back, barricading me. I looked in the mirror and saw a yellow tassel over my head. It looked like a halo. Yes. Birth. Rebirth. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I twirled on the slippery bathroom tiles as though it were a powdered wooden floor and I was dressed in a tulle gown.

I could not wait for the new year. I brought out the fruits, whatever was there, and chopped them finely, the juice dripping on my palms like a psalm. I recalled the fruit punch at a friend's place. It had given us a pleasant high as we filled up glasses with it, spiked with rum.

There was no alcohol at home. I put the water to boil and just when the bubbles started to burst I put in a few tea leaves, waiting for it to turn just dark enough to look like rum. Till it cooled in the deep freezer, I squeezed lime into the fruit, a dash of pepper, a touch of mint. My punch was ready with the colour of fake rum.

I was happy but something was missing. Should I start the year with make-believe?
The answer was a golden wrapper, roughly scrunched. There was just one piece of chocolate hidden inside, a liqueur chocolate. I bit off the top and slowly emptied the liquid into the bowl of punch. Amaretto. Two drops of it made it all so real.

Two drops that saved me from imaginary walls.

Comments
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The End of December

Farzana,

When I was small, I looked forward to the end of December.  Nowadays, it's my time of reflection and excuses to stay away from karaoke parties.  But I still wish to gather with wiriters like you and just talk.   I wish I'm in Mumbai right now eating Indian foods and drinking unsweetened lassi and chatting with you.  I love Indian foods.  This imaginary thought makes me happy.  I don't know why, but in Japan, Indian restaurants serves only sweetened lassi. That's my complaint. By the way, I'm currently in the U.S.  If you come to Los Angeles, we can go to Mexican restaurants.  And if you come to Japan, of course, we will have Japanese foods.  I love foods and talking about them anytime.   And I love chocolate.

The two drops of amaretto made me feel better.

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And then January

Keiko:

Would it not be lovely - food and talk? I do not party, and even if I am at one I would be observing and reflecting. Not about what has gone past in the year, but what has not. There is so much accumalated. But, yes, I know a few good restaurants overlooking the sea, and the food is good too. I do not mind sweetened lassi. You can add salt or pepper to it! 

I have been to LA once and was so lonely. I did manage to go to a small Mexican eatery, though. I do love Mexican food. it goes well with margaritas :) And I'll make sure you have a saree to wear...

I am glad those two drops made you feel better. Thinking about it did the same for me.

~F

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Toast for Margaritas!

Farzana,

 

I tend to observe and reflect being anywhere, too, but Margarita reminded me of one Mexican restaurant I went with a friend of mine past summer.  I used to take my kids there long time ago, but in those days, they didn't have karaoke.  It was great.  

A woman at the table next to ours went up to sing.  She was so good, and she also sang a duet with a male customer.  Boy, they were both very good.  We didn't sing, but we enjoyed our margarita with salt.  Oh, I ordered mine with less tequila.  My request somehow made our waiter confused.  The friend ordered her double and made comments on my order, so I became confused.  Trying to make it simple, I said I just want regular margarita, so I guess I drank regular kind.  It was huge margarita glass with coarse salt on rim.  Mmm, good!     

 

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Regular kind?

Keiko:

I think there are several kinds, though the salt at the rim remains the same. Some things in life do...

Hope you have a few good ones in the coming holidays. 

~F

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Seeking Out the Best of a Holiday

I guess we all do what we can to make a holiday memorable.

Fantasy and reality make it all happen.

It's the bean and mushroom soup that makes the Christmas holiday wonderful for me...and the silly memories!

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Hi Wendy: Memories are never

Hi Wendy:

Memories are never silly, even if we remember our moments of silliness. And oftem fantasy and reality merge so beautifully that is is difficult to tell them apart, or tear them apart. 

Happy Holidays to you and yours...

~F

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Hi Farzana, I've always been

Hi Farzana,

I've always been fortunate enough to have family and friends with me during holidays.

I know it may not be that way forever but, internally I am prepared for the aloneness that may well occur during holiday seasons in the future.

Will I take comfort making a pot of bean and mushroom soup, or will my memories fuel my inner flame?

I hope I won't crumble in my sadness but, if I do I want to at least write a poem in memory of my cold, empty shell...or send a letter to Santa asking for a smile  :(

 

Wendy :)

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Wendy: I have learned that

Wendy:

I have learned that forever is a very distant time, and I like to imagien that distance. It just makes things better. Aloneness is, as you already might know, possible with people around. And memories go well with soup; better with dessert. 

If you think about it, then a little sadness is always there even in the happiest of moments for there will be a time it may not be there, but then others shall come. Send that letter, not to ask for a smile but to give one. That will bring a smile to your face. 

~F

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Farzana Smile

Ahhh, yes...I'll send a smile, but only in words.

I know how sadness can make one's face unable to beam or even glitter with happiness.

I'll give that wordy gift of a smile when the time comes.

Until then, I will give the real smiles while I can and I'll never ask for one :)

Thanks, Farzana!

w