The tree needed to go, and today was the day it was going to happen. Don and the kids would probably freak out—Don because she did it without him and sooner than he’d have liked, the kids because she got rid of the tree on their first day back to school, without even asking first—but Sandy didn’t care. This Christmas (or “frickin’ Christmas”, as she had come to refer to the holiday season) had been kind of sucky. The sooner it ended the better.
She stood there briefly and strategized how best to dismantle and dispose of the tree. Then, she had an idea.
After cherry-picking a handful of ornaments to save for sentimental and/or aesthetic reasons and setting them aside on the mantel, Sandy grabbed the tree by the trunk, at shoulder level with both hands (almost as if she were getting ready to throttle it), pulled it down to her waist, and dragged the whole thing—tree, remaining ornaments, lights, tinsel, garland, tree stand, tree skirt, and that stupid country cottage-style angel on top—across the living room floor, down the front hall, out the door, down the steps, straight across the front yard, and with a final, satisfying grunt, let it go at the curb.
She took a moment to catch her breath, then turned and headed back inside. The whole way back, she thought about all that was being wasted and would have to be purchased again next year. She imagined herself pumping her fist, chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”, and she smiled a real smile for the first time since before Thanksgiving.