Bittersweet memories

The lights are shining warmly on the two-metres Christmas three in the living room. To me it is taller than two metres, it is seven, it is ten, as I look at it from my metre and a bit. I am eight or nine, and I am about to start my favourite activity of the year: Christmas tree decorating. My dad is carefully unwrapping each bauble, some of them are made of crystal, he says, they are very fragile.

I look at those frozens oap bubbles fascinated, knowing that I cannot touch them, or else I will break them. But this year is different. My dad looks at me and solemnly says “This year you are old enough to hang the fragile ones. Here you are, just be careful”. I feel like I have been given the most important task in the word, I must shield this fragile being, just long enough until it finds its home on one of the outstretched branches that are waiting impatiently to be decorated. I hold my breath while I slowly approach the tree and gently hang the bauble in front, in the most central spot possible, so everyone can see that I did it, that I saved it. My dad claps and announces that I have officially passed the test, so now I have access to the fragile baubles box. He then proceeds to hang one on his own.

A crash, a gasp. I look at my dad and he looks back at me guiltily: some shattered pieces on the floor reveal that he, the master of crystal baubles, shattered one. He winks at me and puts a finger on his mouth to say sssh, let’s not tell mum. But mum heard the crushing noise from the kitchen, and she promptly approaches us. “Who broke what now?” She asks, pretending to be angry. My dad puts on a innocent face and points at me.  “What? NO! It was him; it was him, I swear!” I shout out laughing, while he whistles looking around like nothing happened.

We were a happy family, that day. It is the only day I remember in which the three of us were happy together

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