I visited a Christmas tree farm to survey the goods and see if they had my coveted place holder for the upcoming holiday season. The sky was overcast and gray. The sun tried to peak through the clouds, but they would not allow it. The weather was brisk, cold, and one could see their breath if they took time to focus on it. I was bundled up, as was everyone else, and took my time walking the farm in search of my Balsam Fir soul mate.
Kids were chasing one another around the bases of the trees, and their lighthearted laughter filled the air. The parents were following close behind, shouting at the young ones to watch out for the other people who were trying to shop for their Christmas centerpiece. Since I was there alone, I was not bothered by this and accepted it as part of the yuletide background soundtrack. I found myself thinking,
what I would do to go back to being that kid who is full of wonder and awe, even though those moments still do exist for us grown ups…
I found a couple of trees that were a perfect fit and currently stood at a humble price of sixty-five dollars a piece. Even though I knew the merchandise near the front of the lot was the eye candied pieces of seasonal gold, something deep inside my soul told me to push on and follow my imaginary trail. Something invisible and intangible kept telling me that there was a better slice of cedar pie or piece of balsam booty waiting down the line. I found myself thinking how I got to this point in time, then I realized,
I am Balsam‘s bitch! Lather me up in her scent, turn the spotlights on, check the boom mic, throw me on a heart shaped bed, fluff my perm and mustache, cover me in baby oil, and roll the camera. It’s time to leave that lasting impression in thirty minutes or less.
I walked toward a different section of the farm where the least viewed specimens were and noticed a certain someone studying a specific tree as though it had offended her. She was wearing a creme and pink colored beanie on her head. Her highlighted hair fell past her shoulders. Mittens covered her hands. She had a matching, long flowing scarf wrapped around her neck, a peacoat covering the upper half of her body, and tight blue jeans and boots covering her lower half.
She scrunched up her forehead, braced her chin on one of her hands, and burned a hole through the soul of the tree that was in front of her. I felt like I was in a renowned art museum in some foreign city. Then a thought shot through my head,
This is my Hallmark moment! Well, maybe a more rugged version of one. Still! Momma, they are real!
I spied on her through the branches of the other trees in front of me, and I think she was smart enough to know that someone was watching her as she studied her naked sculpture. At one point during my spy time, her eyes locked onto mine, and I could have sworn she smiled and walked around to the far side of the tree she was checking out just to make my game harder than it should have been. The curiosity in my brain tickled me and I thought,
If Balsam Fir truly tickles your soul, ole boy, what do you think she is going to do to it?
I walked up to the exact tree she had been gazing at and eyeballed it like she had been doing. I was surprised by what I saw. The tree was not perfectly straight and was half the price of the trees near the checkout stand. A couple of the low lying branches were bigger than the others. There was a bare spot on the back side, not big enough to deter a buyer but still visible to an expert Christmas Tree picker’s eye. Needless to say, this tree was far from being uniform, yet it had caught her intrigue and refused to let it go.
I walked around our December maypole and entered her periphery. She looked at me, did not smile, but grinned halfway. My mind prodded,
Ring around the Rosie, here we go! Pocket full of posies, the plot thickens. Ashes, ashes, will me and her really fall down?
“What are you doing, looking at my tree like that?” She asked.
She was playing, but she was serious in her playfulness.
“Your tree?” I asked with a hint of surprised excitement.
I scanned the tree for something that wasn’t there. I looked between the bigger branches on the bottom and smaller ones up top. She was drawn in by my improv.
“I don’t see your name on it!”
She chuckled. I waited for her husband to sashay around the corner and for her two kids to run up and hug each one of her legs and ruin my Hallmark moment.
“Yet, you mean! Right?” She joked. “I was here first, so, finders keepers.”
“Well well, now! I thought I was the only one that took tree hunting seriously!” I playfully scoff. “I did not mean to impede on your territory! I only came in peace. I can leave.”
The cold wind blew by and cut our skin like a knife made out of ice. Tiny flakes of snow began to fall and stick to the fabric of our clothes. The trees at the top of the mountains sway as the breeze cuts through the valley.
She stopped me with her words.
“I was just messing! Are you seriously going to give up that easily considering I saw you checking me out just a minute ago from over there?”
She pointed to my previous lookout spot. I tried to think quick on my feet. I answer her.
“Who’s to say I was looking at this tree and not you? That’s quite vain of you to think, wouldn’t you say?”
She laughed again. Her smile was beautiful. Her hair shuffled in the breeze. Her face is smooth. Her lips are chapped. Balsam Fir once held possession of my soul, and on this tree farm, I think this girl is trying to steal mine from my most favorite scent of all time.
“Well, if that was true, why aren’t you looking at the tree right now and ignoring me?”
She raises her eyebrows. I maintain eye contact for as long as I can. If I turn my glance from her then I officially surrender the last bits of power that remain in my possession. She’s too cute to not look at and she knows it.
Damn the way she wears her winter attire, I think. Damn the snow that has begun to fall. Damn her cold shoulder that is slowly thawing in front of my eyes. Damn the month that we call December.
If I did not hold some special kind of appeal to her then I know she would have called an attendant, purchased the tree, and moved on. I maintain my cool composure and follow up like a stylishly sly lawyer in a high profile court case. Somehow, I became the defendant when she was the one who opened the line of questioning.
“Well, I would admire this beautiful tree, but, right now, I’m staring at something so beautiful that I cannot look away. This something cannot be bought, is sassy, and I do not want to waste a single second of it! So, excuse me for being rude!”
My words take her off guard. Her eyes water slightly but I do not know if it is the wind chill or if I have come off too strong or if I have said something out of place. Some girls do not know how to take compliments while other girls use them against you. This girl in front of me, well, she is something special. In my mind, I know I was only being honest with her and think of a quick way to cover my tracks.
“I did not mean to come off like the typical guy or something! I know you hear cute, dry one liners all the time and it’s almost like we are in some type of,” I say before we cut each other off.
“Hallmark moment!” We say in unison and finish the sentence together.
The snowflakes become thicker and fall in heavier amounts. The skies turn to a deeper shade of gray depression. We hear the laughter of adults and kids running around as they play hide and seek in their miniature forest play land. I continue to wait for her husband, or kids, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or sex cult, or robot partner to show up even though it hasn’t happened yet. I would look at her ring finger but she has mittens on. I ponder the next question I want to ask her.
The worst thing she can tell me to do is fuck off, I think. Another meaningless cuss word attached in another meaningless sentence and directed at me in today’s day and age, but, still. Me and her should be beyond that kind of rugged responsive reaction by now.
In the moment, we do not speak with words. We speak with our eyes. We speak with our smiles. We speak with the language of our bodies. We speak with the quietness that exists between two curious strangers. We speak with the invisible tension that connects two people who want to explore the entirety of one another but first needs to study the map of one another’s mannerisms. We speak with the silence in which a planet is created or destroyed in the vastness of space. We speak in a blind man’s braille in which our words are the dots and our ears are our fingertips.TM (<— That line – I mean – come on, people! Just a little credit!)
The pine needle in my soul prods me yet again,
The Balsam Fir led you here, son, the Hallmark moment has presented itself, now close this deal! You are unlike any other on this tree farm. Show her why! Show her who the real Santa is! Give her the one thing that would go best with a situation like this! Give her the one warm thing that all women crave and yearn for in a moment like this.
“Do you want to go over there, grab a hot chocolate, and talk? Just one cup of coco then I’ll leave you alone forever!”
She giggles for the third time. I smile in return. For now, it breaks the tension that is currently present between us.
“Sure! But,” She stutters.
I watch a snowflake land on her eyelash and slowly dissolve. Another one touches her lip. Numerous white flakes cascade toward the earth and attach to her beanie covered, free flowing hair. I get jealous of the white innocence falling from the heavens, even if it’s a sin.
“What happens if I do not want you to leave me alone forever and need help loading my tree?”
I lean back on my heels and laugh. I nonverbally chastise all the scenes I’ve seen displayed on the television during the holiday season. We are comfortable in each other’s presence even though we are strangers. I reply the only way I know how.
“I say we discuss that over hot chocolate and go from there. I need to make sure you’re not a weirdo or anything. What do you say?”
She lets my joke settle before displaying her facial agreement. She smiles and nods her head.
“I say, ‘okay’!”
My mind prods me as I wave my hands forward so she can majestically lead the way,
Christmas Tree Farms – the real life hookup app of my personal Hallmark moment – where sex smells of Balsam Fir – snow rains down like one dollar bills at a late night highway side strip club – and you can discover another’s soul over something as simple as a piece of nature and a styrofoam cup of hot liquid dessert – thank you!
She breaks me out of my trance.
I smile and nod.
“Right behind you, dear,” I reply sarcastically.
A Christmas song reverberates in my head. I speculate the odds of this moment. I watch her winter clothes covered body move in front of me. My thoughts warm me because I know there is nothing sexier than a girl wearing her blue jeans the right way. I smile. I am where I want to be.
O, Christmas tree – O, Christmas tree – how lovely are thy branches!
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