London, Year of the brioche 2014
28th of December
In mean times, happiness is left to dogs and children. When the young man walks fast by himself through the crowds that thin after Christmas, blood tingles with wants and mind is a beehive of hopes. Streets are empty, humans are filtered through airports, highways, subways, trains to Norway... but the young man observes the city with greedy eyes because he’s accustomed to.
In those days the dogs in the royal borough show the ambition to rummage into their owners’ pockets, searching for the last bone of an organic quinoa-fed chicken. I swear on the chestnut trees in Greenwich Park, a jovial parade of elegant puppies descend the hills adorned as Christmas hampers to hit in the face the apparent frugality of the dog walker.
All over the country, doughboys, roadmenders, dirtfarmers and tenderfoots expect your advent in that sacral, fat Christmas night, dear chubby Santa.
As humble as raw food, I decided to ride the obscene act to write you a letter. Bear in mind, you, white haired bear, that I am doing so after the main day to display no spoor of greed.
My family and I went gentle into that night, waiting for the lore of a Christmas gift. The sky had stars painted all over and the moon looked no brighter that the melon on the dinner table, the only piece of exotic fruit we shared in that good night.
Everything was perfect, complementing a good disposition of the soul, apart from a chill, dank breeze which could lick your face as the damp tongue of the neighbour’s bastard dog. The silence of the long evening had the magical status, switched off the ambulance sirens, and the white noise of the contiguous stripes of cars on the boulevard and the loud exhausters of modified vehicles proper of the country youth.
When anyone asked what to do with their lives, Machado used to say “Pay attention!”. I started to focus on the scenography. Forced to wear high waisted jeans by wife, because of the pretence of skinny legs and the aspirational living in the Kantian metamorphosis of Londinium ( I was already born a book worm), I always try to keep a low profile because of the risk that gluteus get above the head and people may forget which organ to use for thinking.
Christmas themed school drawings were taped on the living room walls. The subjects on them were hard to break; one was a pink baby in a yellow stable, the next one was about a gleaming star with such a long tail. Both of them the artwork of my two little angels, so you have to appreciate them; I don’t care what they say, if you don’t love kids, puppies and poetry, you don’t know what love is.
They say why do you listen to classical music all day and why do you keep buying so many books and why it’s so quiet here, why there are so many trees. You don’t know what love is.
I had the audacity to dress my consort with a long blue gown topped with a wreath hat holding several sugar-free, spelt mince pies. In my imagination, she represented the birth of Venus in Botticelli, with Aphrodite emerging from the hippie shores of Clapton Pond. It is lavish, Santa Claus, Isn’t it? Well.. every man should have the right to be rich at least in fairytales and dreams, enriched as a rich man’s brioche...
Till the day when special men called erasers capable of cancelling bad memories shall descend on Earth and set us free, I would confess in the intimacy of my mind the scene of my mother sitting on the front porch floor snapping beans. My father was quiet with assured, large hands and long view depressed him. You look out into space and you begin to feel as if someone were after you, the navy or the government or religion.
May Christmas be a copout but starving is even more of a copout. My family and I as ordinary as a loaf of bread.
Born in the countryside, across the Channel, a village with 2000 catholic souls, not because of love of religion, but just because of habit. Not a parody of affection for miles around, but the dry realism of digging soil. When the priest asked my friend why he was missing mass, he said my family get together on a Sunday morning around centenary trees, handpicking olives... . In a neighbour where everyone apply for the same surname, all relatives and cousins of some degree. Factory workers, builders weekdays and farmhands for bank holidays and weekends. The food was home grown and plenty. Christmas supper would last forever.
On that good night, a cornucopia of food marvel was ready to dance on the kitchen table: flax-seeds, omega-3 soup, organic rose-fed baby turkey, sugar-free & flooded in honey Somersert chocolate, quinoa boiled in spring water, free run chicken with the shoes still on, all washed down with carafes of beetroot juice ( freshly squeezed).
Everyone was tucking in like on the last day of Pompeii, when something disturbed us. My fashionable daughter who had mulberry-colored hair stacked in sausage rolls around her head was sitting quiet,with a long face, tight lips, away from food. When dinner was over, she suddenly said: ‘Mum, mum, they are building a parking lot around here!”.
There are a lot of typers in this borough – I consider it homage to you, dear Santa, the fact that so much youth sports a beard nowadays – but no feelers. In this house kids were brought up without TV, to manifest, since the early stage, feelings of social injustice. My two little parrots, my kids, demand a Christmas gift.
The difficulty to take them to bed, an ultimate check on the condition of the fireplace (through the chimney comes the advent of the archangel), playing board games until your fingers hurt, snacking on nuts and chocolates when your teeth shout for a break, the fumes of Prosecco lingering a while in your head before you begin chuckling for no reason... and then you know it’s time for bed.
In the morning, it was revelation. The anxiety, the small time weaknesses, the middle aged wrinkles of a parent on Christmas day should had been saved by Santa Claus. ... There was nothingness! Where’s my gift? Have you got webbed fingers? Clear eyed devil, sounder of hearts, you have stuffed your own emptiness with good works like a glutton. As Faust and all the rest of us, have you sold your rue for commercial interests? Too old to paddle? Where are the gifts my two young squirrels were in demand?
I am asking you in this letter, dear Santa, to formally renounce your positions of toyable cheat of grown-up kids, silver tongue of the plain people. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armour of the righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error.
You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns , you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold..
Not much left to say. I made up a romantic excuse for the kids. He was a big eater. It was hot around the chimney. A stroke killed him.
Neverthless my fireplace can still redeem you and you can come down it at any time. The lame should enter it first.
Why art thou so unfair?