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Christmas in Palm Springs photo

I can’t sleep. Are wood panels healthy? As I lie down my sinuses get so tight my nostrils disappear. I know there’s a village of dust behind this headboard. I pray these pillows were changed recently. I hope I’m a good son. Absolving my notion of Christmas is the best gift I can give my parents.

I understand them; they don’t want to spend their time off at home in the dead of winter hosting family they see once a year. So we’re staying in a mid century desert rental beside an Indian reservation. It’s quiet here. We walk my dog and we remark on how uninhabitable the land looks.

While we’re in line for a table at Sherman’s some retirees flock over to flirt with me. I’m painfully reminded of how much I don’t have a sibling. Even more when my parents are flattered by the interested men. Exchanging information. I need someone to save me from these chapped grins. They don’t see these men want something more. I hope they don’t see it.

As my mom lounges in the hot tub, she expresses to me how she “needed to chill.” I can’t bear to join her. How many men have fucked in this hot tub? Imagine the hoards of debauchery that went down where she’s sitting. I smile and dip my feet in.

It’s a marriage of two worlds too soon. I want to pay zero mind to the men at Sherman’s and their wet smiles. Or to the hot tub and its body count. I want to enjoy the scenery. I lie into the stone wall above the spa and flip open my copy of Less Than Zero to the corner I folded on 69. A passage on Christmas in Palm Springs. How isolating and harsh it is. I’m grateful I’m living it.