The Holiday soundtrack is looping through to the end as the screen grows dark. Toby has sandwiched himself between the two of us — his back pressed into my thigh, his head rubbed softly by Andy, and Andy’s by me.
I look over and swallow — the tightness in my throat a harbinger of happiness, of having one of those rare moments of realism: knowing that here, in this moment, is perfection incarnate — an ultimate, intimate solitude that no one else can share, and which can never be appropriately described.
Nor should it be.
A soft, colorful glow emanates from our Charlie Brown Christmas tree — it’s gaudy globes highlighted intermittently by the twinkling lights. And the light soaks into our faces, and diffuses through our clouded tumblers. Toby’s neck scruff folds over his collar, and he snores against the worn leather sofa.
So many disparate elements colliding to form a respite — an oasis conjured out of the daily minutiae.
Not a mirage. But a new reality.