It was that magical/stressful time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and Lorraine found herself daydreaming about holidays past and anxious about the pressures of Christmas present. She loved the holidays, but wanted everything to be perfect, and it never was. The decorations she had placed around her apartment now seemed gaudy even though they seemed beautiful in her mind as she was putting them up. She had gathered pine boughs and draped the stairway inside 44 Cherry Street with garlands she had made herself. She should have stopped with the fresh pine, she now thought. The big colorful balls she had added took things over the top, and now she was too exhausted to remove the wire twists she had painstakingly used to attach the plastic balls up and down the stairway on the garland. It had seemed a great idea at the time. Ditto the wreath on the front door she had bought at Home Depot and had glammed up with too much glitter. She beat herself up about not knowing when enough was enough.
Then there was the matter of Christmas presents. She couldn’t figure out any other way to buy gifts than to purchase things she would like herself. This method had never worked, but she was stumped about any other system. Her sister in Texas was still giving her shit for sending her an adorable vintage Mexican felt jacket years before. It was grass green and had appliqué burros in pink on the back. Lorraine would have loved to wear it, but her sister found it to be in very poor taste. And there was also the question of cost. The gifts she really loved in shop windows and magazine ads cost much more than she could afford. She was paralyzed at the moment in her gift buying and hadn’t bought anything for anyone. Every time she had walked up and down Cherry Street searching for gifts for others, she spotted things she herself wanted. What else could she do? She bought them, and she now had a stash of gifts to herself hidden in her closet.
Lorraine realized she had been standing in front of the open refrigerator for some time. She shivered and snapped back to reality. The bong, bong, bong of the refrigerator door alarm had morphed into a daydream of Salvation Army volunteers ringing their bells to attract donations in front of department stores in years past. “Why was she standing there?” she wondered. “What had she been looking for?” She couldn’t remember even walking over to the kitchen, and she wasn’t hungry. “Seize the day!” she thought, and she grabbed a Tupperware full of mashed potatoes which she ate at the sink without even warming it up. She intended to clean out the frog at some point because it was crammed full of plastic containers containing bits of foods she could not identify. Many of them had probably been in the far-reaches of the frog since she had run away a year before.
She suddenly realized that her jeans were unzipped and yet they were not falling off. In fact, they were still too tight, even unzipped. She walked to the full length mirror in her bedroom and regarded her reflection. Something else to be upset about! How had she put on so much weight? She ate hardly anything! All she ate was salad with only the smallest amount of dressing.
A diet! That’s what was called for. She would go on a diet so she could fit back into her beautiful Eileen Fisher clothes which hung gathering dust in her closet. She felt a burst of energy as she made her resolution to lose weight. First thing was to get rid of all the fattening foods in the apartment. She found a big trash bag and headed into the kitchen to purge. In a flash she filled three bags with sinful foods from the cupboards and refrigerator, but by then she was too tired to carry the bags downstairs and to the trash cans. She would do it later. She left them piled up by the front door. Right now she needed a nap.