“I hate you,” she said to the wreath.
She took the wreath down and fiddled with the small hook on its back and then re-hung it on the door. It looked too saggy to Carrie. It looked like the face of a condemned man on the gallows, moments before the hangman was to pull the lever and drop the floor out from underneath. Carrie groaned and took the wreath down again. She was starting to get cold. She wished she didn’t have to dress her damn house up for the holiday. But her family was expecting her usual Christmas decoration extravaganza and she couldn’t bear the thought of their judgments if she didn’t have her house decorated in all the best Holiday finery.
She delicately re-hung the wreath and stepped back. She looked at it from the left and from the right. It seemed to be okay. The little Christmas cardinal looked to be centered in the middle of the wreath and the fresh pine cones were pointing in the right directions. Carrie took another step back onto the top porch step and took another look.
“The 11th time is the charm,” she said.
She wiped her hands together and stepped up toward the house. Carrie opened the front door and closed it behind her only to hear the wreath pop off the door and flop to the porch. She closed her eyes and bit her lip. She balled her hands into fists at her side and swallowed the scream building in her throat. She turned and threw open the front door to see the wreath in a clump at the threshold. The rage, the anger of the holidays, the damn curses of a long year spent dealing with the divorce, the custody of the dog, the dating, the leering eyes of her annoying family, the unrequested opinions and advice of too many mouths boiled over in her.
Carrie looked down at the wreath and in an instant of fiery hate, kicked the wreath clear off the porch and into the yard. A torrent of cuss words streamed from her mouth as she jumped up and down in the doorway and onto the porch. She screamed at the world, at Christmas, at Santa Claus, at God, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. She pounded her heels into the wood of the porch. She grabbed a string of icicle lights she’d so delicately hung hours before and pulled them away from the eaves. She tore at the pine garland she’d wrapped around each banister of the stairs. She chased after the plastic Snowman on the lawn and tackled it to the ground. She punched its smiling face and she continued to call it a commercial whore.
A strong cold wind blew some snow up into her face and it woke her from her frustrated rage. She looked up slowly to see old Mrs. Calloway watching her as Mrs. Calloway’s little annoying dog yipped and yapped.
“Are you alright dear,” asked old Mrs. Calloway.
Carrie stood up from over the vanquished snowman and wiped the snow from her coat.
“No. No I’m not. I don’t think I’m going to do Christmas this year,” said Carrie.
“Mrs. Calloway,” said Carrie.“Yes,” said Mrs. Calloway as she stepped closer to Carrie’s front white picket fence.
“Merry Christmas, now, go screw yourself.”
Mrs. Calloway stepped back from the fence and her little annoying dog started yipping again.
“How dare you young lady,” said Mrs. Calloway.
Carrie didn’t care as Mrs. Calloway continued to express her indignity. Carrie walked back toward her porch, up the stairs, to her front door, stepped inside and slammed it behind her. She wondered what Puerto Rico was like at Christmas.