Mother refuses to play Christmas music on her stereo, so we spend the day listening to psychedelic rock from the 60s. At last a redeeming feature. After lunch I finally call Carl. I tell myself it's just another way of passing time, but in reality I've been thinking about it for weeks. When he answers on the third signal I wish him a Merry Christmas and then nothing. I'm lost for words with so much to tell him.
"What's this" he says, "Avy Stanford with nothing to say?" It's so perfect, he always knows just how to talk to me. I can do nothing more than hang up, no matter how much it hurts, inside and out. I've never been good at breaking hearts, but with him I do it all the time, unintentionally.
It was all so different back then, in the garden under the stars. So much bigger.