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Anais Vionet Jan 14
I woke up very early this morning, restless and bothered, itchy for the day to happen. As dawn broke orange, the city was revealed. I’ll never get tired of watching that. The snow was gone but a gloss over the city streets indicated ice. I scanned the landscape for movement - for life - like a predator.

Lisa and I are headed back to school today, at 11am, by air, which our parents feel is the best way to avoid our old, holiday nemesis omicron (doesn’t that make us sound like secret agents?).

Once everyone was finally up, Lisa and I got our busy-on, doing the last load of laundry and final packing. Lisa, packs a suitcase, by throwing clothes in without bothering to fold them, while I meticulously fold and roll my clothes, like a marine headed for deployment.

As Lisa and I worked, Leeza (12) was lying on Lisa’s bed, on her back with her head hanging over the edge - watching us pack upside down. Her red hair looked like a thrown plate of spaghetti.

Leeza was talk, talk, talking and gnawing on a toasted bagel at the same time. “How do you feel about going back to school?” she asked us. “OH, feelings!” I gasped, “A free therapy session!” “No, really,” she said, grown serious and rolling right side up.

Leeza is cute as a button and vulnerable - I could almost feel her anxiety. As the youngest sibling I’d been left behind too - you don’t want the holiday to end and your big sister to leave - it’s a singularly lonesome feeling. I wanted to grab her, like a puppy, wrestle her and tell her I love her and I’d miss her - like my sister used to do with me. I decided that as soon as we were done packing, I would.

“My GOD,” Lisa said to Leeza, “will you PLEASE shut up! I have to think.” Leeza blushed and shrugged “I’m just making conversation, grump-face, you’ve packed a million times before haven’t you?” “Does counting to 10 make ****** premeditated?” Lisa asked the ceiling.

Suddenly, Lisa dropped the blouse she’d been holding and pounced on Leeza, tickling her as she squealed with delight. In a second they’d become a ball of flailing arms, legs, hair and playful noise. I slunk out of the room to give them their sister’s goodbye.

Besides, I smelled bacon.
BLT’s word of the day challenge: Gloss: to glow or shine, to skip over details
Anais Vionet Jan 7
With three more weeks of holiday vacation,
Lisa and I’ve started studying 5 hours a day.
You can read a novel for atmosphere
but you have to puzzle over and wring-out academic books
- with their essays and worksheets after every chapter.
I feel a simultaneous focus and boredom
- but the pull of school is staggering
- like resisting it could break me apart.
you can’t wait - all around the country, thousands of Yalies are back hard at it
Anais Vionet Jan 6
Annick (my 28 year old sister) came down to NYC, from Boston, for a day visit. It was one of those warm, cerulean days between Christmas and New Years. Annick’s in a surgical residence, in a pandemic, but still somehow, she got away.

We’re dining on a shaded, outdoor, sundeck - I arrived first, by a moment but then the elevator opened and Annick emerged, looking like a model - familiar but I don’t know - more completely adult - more than ever like my mom. It was all I could do not to weep for happiness when we hugged.

After that long hug, Annick gave my clothes a slow, censorious looking-over. When my mom and I shopped for “school clothes” last year, in Paris, I bought some stunning designer (Anna Molinari) clothes - only to find out they were completely out of place at Yale. Now they’re sentenced to a trunk under my bed and my replacement clothes are from FatFace and Patagonia. Ordinary clothes, bought for their ordinariness.

I’ve been dressing to disappear but I wanted her to see a “new me.” How I’ve survived in a rough, academic country - not just survived - but thrived. I also wanted her to think her sister was beautiful and hoped I didn’t seem too strange. She cupped my chin - just like my mom does - “You look wonderful,” she said.

Annick mentioned we’d have company for lunch but she was alone - then this tall, fair-haired, man was with us. He slipped his arm around Annick’s waist and they smiled, together. I’d never met one of Annick's boyfriends before so this was a little disconcerting - part of me wanted to pull her away and say, “MINE!”

Annick made the introductions, “Anais, this is Gerard - Gerard, Anais.”  Gerard leaned into la bise then half hugged me, patting me bearishly on the back. I decided he was too tall and too handsome and began to examine him for flaws.

He wore a dark-charcoal-gray cashmere suit with a light-gray oxford-cloth shirt. “Are you always so dapper?” I asked? “I wanted to look substantial,” he said, with a very slight French accent. He held me at arm’s length. “You’re definitely sisters,” he said, smiling.

We settled in. At first we were a little stilted with each other, uncertain how to best introduce ourselves. Annick said that Gerard is a “Child Neurologist.” “Funny,” I said, “you look older.” and he laughed. I was warming to him.

“How’s school going?” Annick asked later, moving some of my fly-away hair out of my face - a trace of the maternal in her solicitous fussing - but I liked it.
“Easy peasy,” I said, the lie warming me like an ember or black magic.

There’s no real sibling rivalry between us. Imagine you’re Beyoncé’s sister, what are the odds that you’ll eclipse Beyoncé? Yeah, it’s ZERO.

“Ha!” she laughs, “you are such a little fibber.”
“I am NOT,” I hotly say, but my defense is ruined by my laugh. “I’m doing ok - but it’s a lot,” I say, to erase the fib.

They’re ENGAGED!
I tried not to act stunned but I doubt I was very convincing. The news thumped me like a gust of wind. Suddenly, I knew. Our yesterdays were no more substantial than a story we’d read together growing up, that you can mourn and rejoice at the same time.

Otherwise it was a family lunch, although at first I was a bit nervous around Gerard. At one point Annick says, “What are you doing?” as the table gently quivered.
I smiled wincingly, “Making circles with my ankles,” I said.
Annick smiled knowingly.
a slice of college, Christmas holiday
Anais Vionet Dec 2021
It’s boxing day (the Brit name for the day after Christmas) and Pamela, Lisa’s grandmother is visiting our little pandemic ark. Pamela’s a Cowboys fan so we’re watching them slaughter Washington - between commercials - but now a Tesla commercial is running. “Those electric cars,” Pamala says dubiously, “seem problematic.”

“You’ve heard of global warming, haven’t you, Pamala?” Leeza says. Leeza addresses everyone (even her grandmother) as if they were her age (12). It’s both seductive and lazy. “This whole system,” she raises her arms to include the apartment, the city and America, “will collapse - we’re DOOOOMED,” she concludes, as if speechifying to an eager crowd.

“Everyone’s heard of climate change,” Pamela says, sipping her eggnog. Pamela is as well informed as any of us and seems rather envious of the future, even the coming awfulness.
“Leeza’s her own theatre,” Her mom says, grimacing indulgently.
Leeza’s full attention was now on the pastry tray - having spotted two small eclairs under the bear claws - she'd lost interest in the conversation and saving the planet.

“The system won’t collapse,” Will says. Will received his early acceptance letter from Harvard the other day and now he knows everything. “We’ll lose Florida, South Carolina and New York,” he pronounces calmly, “so there’ll be some.. migrations.”
“Thank you, professor,” Lisa says, rolling her eyes as if to say ”Harvard people.”
“I think the Covid might get us all - before climate change,” I say, in the spirit of the holiday.
“Well,” Will says, grinning, “that’s what ALL the people at inferior colleges think.”

Leeza, passing by my easychair, curls into my lap like a cat, gently petting my hair. “Don’t be mean to MY friend,” she says, purringly - I was suddenly her possession. Lisa comes out of her chair, a sly smile on her face, to lay crosswise atop Leeza (and me).
“Ugg,” I managed to say, squirming to get comfortable, then “Akkkk.”
Lisa says, “Leave my poor roomie alone!” and starts baby-kissing my head.”
Will starts in our direction like HE’S going to pile on. “Egggg! I shrek, “HELP!”
Pamela whoops with glee as Dallas scores another touchdown.
“Like beating a dead dog with a stick,” she says.
holiday football chatter
HTR Stevens Dec 2021
Merry Christmas and all that
Do put on your tinsel hat
Humour does not go amiss
To one and all blow a kiss.

Rules are for some - not for all
Well! this is quite a close call
Remember to doff your hat
Aye, the Queen can greet the cat.

Twinkling stars and fairytale
Flying carpets never fail
From all our eyes drop the scales
Re-mix and spare the details.

Living in a "Wonderland":
My eyes can feel grit and sand
Like floating in outerspace
With a mask across my face.

Earth has had a thorough shake
The world is due a re-make
We'll see what lands on the top
For success, failure or flop.
Poppy Rusert Dec 2021
The frosty white lane
Down the 'Wolve's Bane'
Tagged along with the joy of jingle bells

My foremost heart
Frown at the part
where I stood with the most visual grin

I remember about the
Rudolph and the red nose reindeer
The countryside along with its pioneer
With the sudden rush of happiness.

Little red socks, the big gree tree
Lights and locks
I feel so free
When Christmas is along the corner
Stand with the most beautiful
Visual of the year

But to those little tears
Of that little two sisters
Who barely had any good Christmas
Still standing with glittery eyes
hoping the foremost.

May past all the sad and sorrow
May past all those who cried tomorrow
Now is the time to jingle along with the light
The spirit of heaven and hell between the fight.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
Anais Vionet Nov 2021
As we finish dressing the table, the room is dizzy with aromas
and the turkey teases with a golden, honey-like translucence.

Candles, nestled in poinsettia settings, provide a flickering, golden,
almost magical light that’s refracted in windows, crystal and white tablecloth.

I hear Leeza nearby, swinging the living room with laughter. Everyone is giddy from drink, mouth watering hunger and near impossible expectations.

I wish you all a safe, Happy, Thanksgiving.
HAPPY HOLIDAY!
Anais Vionet Nov 2021
I’m surprised that I’m not upset,
I suppose It hasn’t hit me yet,
that I won’t be home this year,
and I won’t have my family near
for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Just another hard discipline
that, I suppose, is part of growing up,
but this tradition blowing up
is the comfort of home.

Still, I suppose I won’t be alone,
‘cause we’ll visit on our phones.
play the holiday blues
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