Winter has always made you feel like Peter Pan, and this Saturday night in December was no exception. Your dad makes a u-turn and then a quick right to get onto the street. You’re momentarily blinded. After a few seconds you’re stunned, as you hear chatter and see every age group possible on the sidewalk gliding as if they were all ice skaters that they are the stars of the show, and not those lights that leap over their heads in various fashions.
It is at that moment where the flashbacks reach your brain.
Those other December nights were you didn’t feel like Peter Pan- because you were him. A youngin’ who was more than happy to fulfill her mother’s wish that her daughter would never grow up.
A few words from your father reminded you that it was over ten years later from the date that you had promised your mom you’d never grow up. Consequently, also that you weren’t Peter Pan.
“Look at that one”, he calmly states as he points his finger over the dashboard.
Your head keeps moving steadily from the passenger window to your left. The last few houses are a little less complex with just a few lights up. While on the first few there were houses with four or five Santa Clause’s scattered among rooftops dressed in lights, or kept on your level on the ground.
Your dad makes yet another u-turn as you reach the end of the road.
At this point he is hoping to find some good place to park, so you both can check out what the houses are wearing.
Towards the beginning of the block your dad finds a place to park. You are a little unnerved. You’ve inherited your dad’s anti-social tendencies and continuously keep the thought of “don’t talk to me”, in the back of your mind.
The first house has lights that reach so high up atop the trees, you almost get vertigo just thinking of being so high up on a ladder.
There are lights everywhere and little carousels. People take pictures. Not many of the lights, the majority snap a few of their kids, or a picture of a couple. You happily give the lights your attention. They are not the background singers in your show.
Your dad points out some cute displays with Winnie the Pooh and calls Elmo the grouch. You chuckle after you correct him, and say “it was close”.
Throughout the whole walk up the block, you have no clue how many Santa’s you’ve seen and how much all the lights have to cost to run.
As you walk behind your dad you see little girls around five years old, while you smell alcohol floating over. You are in your mid-life crisis. You are now convinced. You’d be happier as one of those little girls or one of those 21 and over people.
You see so many displays in the houses that once you get back home they blur all together.
You snap pictures with your phone as much as you can and try to keep up with your dad to the best of your ability. Your thoughts are scrambled and that annoys you just as much as the smell of scrambled eggs.
You hear a bunch of teenagers younger than you singing, in a slight off-key way a few Christmas carols.
Your thoughts wonder back to your younger days. You and your dad have walked up the street and back down and are a few feet away from the car as you snap a quick picture of some penguins that are on some red ladder right by the car.
You get back in the car and the temperature remains the same, San Diego has a lot of good qualities.
You look at all the pictures you took as your father drives off.
Always in the back of your mind is that little girl in her red dress, and those white cups and their displays of your life. You were happy, though; there were a lot of lights. Maybe they do belong in the background- at least now.
-April 12-20-09 9:19pm