So this time you asked me what I really wanted for Christmas, and I said I wanted freedom — like, from desire and pain and sleeping too late; freedom from words that catch in my throat, due to honey or battery acid, whichever it is today; freedom from the need to open the fridge and find a beer, from the need to open the inbox and find a note, from the need to turn away from blankness and litter the landscape with the spare ballast I’ve been hiding in this breadbox. From the need to undergo surgery of the heartfelt emotion; from the need to underwhelm; to undress; to understand; to appear televised and revised and baptized. Freedom, I said. You know. Freedom. And you said there’s no way, because freedom doesn’t come wrapped up in bows, and even though it looks like sunshine, it’s never free. And I said “Merry Christmas”, and you took my hand, and that was enough of a gift.