Hello, it’s me, the long strand of Christmas lights hanging from your house. You may not remember that I exist, it’s been so long since you acknowledged me. But I am still here.

Since you hung me up, I have watched you progress (or regress?) throughout the second half of the pandemic. From expressing feigned happiness that your children would be staying home with you for their second semester after all, despite what the school district promised you back in September, to examining that package that arrived in early January with curiosity, only to realize that it was just those back-ordered baking tins that you bought last year when you were totally going to make banana bread.

We certainly have been through a lot, but my removal is long overdue. It’s spring. Your allergies are suddenly making you doubt yourself and return to googling Covid symptoms like you were when you strung me up in the midst of the third wave. It’s been weeks since there was enough ice on the driveway to cause you to slip and fall while trying to get the mail and then prepare to bleed out in the middle of the street rather than risk a hospital visit. The guy who goes for walks in a T-shirt when it gets above 40 degrees has passed your house numerous times. The telltale signs of spring have arrived, and I know you know it.

I’m not sure why you refuse to take me down. You didn’t even really want me in the first place. Each year around December 22nd, you realize that the rest of the homes on your street are lit up like Vegas and yours is darker than a house on the night of an exorcism in a low-budget horror movie. So you ransack the basement looking for something, anything that will prove to your neighbors that you are the kind of family that has its act together.

With the fate of your appearance as the ideal American family on the line, you grab me, the first string of lights you can find. Who knows if I was even made to be a Christmas decoration? There is some orange in me, maybe I was meant for Halloween, or perhaps I was supposed to be strung around a dorm room.

We’ll never know, as you have decided to condemn me to this life and this holiday. I’ve accepted that. But please, you must take me down now. Summer is approaching and I have too much pride to be misidentified as a Fourth of July decoration.