THE Tree

K. and I bought our tree on Monday, exactly one day after every decent tree in Toronto had been purchased by other people and one day after the nice weather ended. It was a balmy -20 Celsius and unless I note that we were on the streetcar, we were on foot. I might even put up a map of our expedition later.

We started our mission south of St. Clair on Bathurst, where we had purchased a tree several years ago. They had five sad, Charlie-Brown trees. We bought none of them. We then walked up Vaughan and stopped at a different fruit stand. They had more trees but K. wasn't too keen on any of them. We decided to visit the fruit stand near our apartment. They had an even more meagre selection of trees than the first place. We started heading towards home. As we approached our street, K. informed me, "I'm going to keep walking to see if I can find anything. You can go home, if you'd like." I kept on walking with K. We stopped at a couple more fruit stands but they either had no trees or sad-ass ones and we were going to avoid sad-ass trees that reminded K. of her childhood trees. As we walked along, she told me about the tree so pathetic that she had sawed off a lower bough and wired it a bit higher to fill in a hole. That is a pathetic tree. After the last fruit stand within walking distance, I was contemplating curling up in a small ball on the sidewalk and K. started walking in circles. We decided to hop on a streetcar and go to Keele and St. Clair, where there's a Canadian Tire, Rona, and Home Depot.

All three failed us. Miserably. At least Rona had a sign, "Fresh Christmas trees are sold out. We apologize for the inconvenience." K.'s a bit to big for me to drag her into the store, balling, so that I can guilt some poor employee. "You've ruined her Christmas," I could shout to cover up the fact that I've ruined her Christmas by not wanting to buy a tree earlier because the thought of leaving the apartment last weekend made me want to crawl into the bed and pull the duvet up over my head.

The trip out was not a complete waste, however. We did acquire another in-joke as some young girl with a walkie-talkie or at least a really bad cellphone was attempting to defend herself. Loudly. "Hold on. Hold on. Hold on!" Pause. "Hold, ho-ho-hold on! You two always - HOLD ON!- chattin' me." Pause. Hold on. Hold on. No, hold ON." We have since derived an unbelievable amount of mirth from that one-sided conversation. Other people's misery. Yeah.

We got back on the streetcar and headed toward home. Instead of going home we got off at Dufferin and visited Sonny's Trees. Sonny had some beautiful trees that were too tall for our living room or too small for K.'s tastes.

Once again, to the streetcar stop! Once again. This time we went back to Vaughan. To the second fruit stand we visited. And. We. Bought. A. Tree. Now to get the damned thing home. I decided that we were walking, which we did. At one point some young buck asked us if we had far to go. K. answered, "Yes." He asked, "Let me carry the tree?" We laughed and continued on and spent five minutes deciding why he wanted to carry the tree. I assumed that he wanted to sleep with K. K. assumed that he wanted to case the joint for a later break-in. We were also told by leering men that we had "a nice tree." I never knew that a Christmas tree could be so filthy.

So, the tree is now home and in our living room. It has not been decorated. I don't know that it will be decorated. But we have a tree, damn it! Let the holidays begin. -Zh.


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