I am one of those silly people who buys a Christmas tree at the crack of December's dawn. I know it will be stiff and crispy by the 25th, but I can't be reasoned with. The tip of my nose tingles with cold tonight as fog rolls in. The moving misty blanket starts obscuring the trees and I feel a few pangs of panic. This is my only free night until the weekend and I simply can't wait that long if I don't find a tree, the tree, tonight.
A little girl's happy squeals erupt a few trees over. Curious to see which tree has found its family, I amble over. A young girl zipped and hooded inside a pink puffy jacket hops up and down holding her mother's hand. Her dad gives the tree a final once-over. The little girl hops faster. Her mother tells her gently to calm down. She stands still and pushes the hood off of her head:
Girl: Daddy! This is the prettiest tree here! Ours is the best tree. And we have to keep it safe.
Dad: What do you mean?
Girl: Today? At school? We learned you cannot ever leave its lights on all night and you can never ever put it by a heater because it will catch fire.
Dad: That's right. We won't do that.
The girl begins hopping again and her mom bends to hug her into stillness.
Girl: Mom, know what else I learned today?
Mom: What's that?
Girl: That if you're a boy you have to buy a lot of Christmas presents for your girlfriend.
Mom: Who said that?
Girl: Kelly. She heard her sister tell her boyfriend all the stuff he has to buy her for Christmas or else he's gonna be single and Kelly said being single is the worst thing you can be when you grow up because then you are a desperate housewife, like on TV.