Do You Hear What I Hear?

It was because I was hypoxic that I missed it for a while. That’s my story.

Part of my daily commute includes a long road bordered by stretches of grey and dun farmland interrupted by a single farmhouse with a wide roof at a shallow angle.

And on that roof tonight there were lights. Puzzling lights. A circle of gold lights, covering the whole expanse of roof. In the circle, a vertical line of white lights with a shorter line of white lights sticking out to the right at the end of the vertical line. Over the white lights, another line of lights, these red, angling upward from left to right.

What? What kind of decoration is this? My head hurts and I haven’t slept the night through in about two weeks for various reasons, and I just can’t manage to solve it. But I puzzle at it. Are the white lights meant to be a hockey stick? They look like a hockey stick. Not a fan of hockey? Enough to climb on a roof and arrange lights? Possible, but likely not. Maybe the part of the white lights that forms that little right angle to the vertical is a mistake? Or an artifact produced by available wiring, meant to be overlooked? Maybe the red and white lines symbolize candy canes. Or something.

That doesn’t feel right either. Puzzle, puzzle. Look forward to getting home and having dinner, and then maybe hot tea and cough syrup, and yet… the lights.

“They look like an L,” my brain supplies helpfully. “What don’t people like that starts with L?”

Liver? We’re a few blocks from the library, could it be a protest against the library? Not very seasonal.

“No… no… no “L” something,” I mutter. I’m almost home and the mystery of the lights will soon be swept away in the confusion of greetings from husband (who is also sicker than a dog) and the cats, who seem to sense that humans are sick and must be cuddled. “No L. No L.”

Right.

No L. Noel.

Got it.

And this, I remind myself as I turn the key in the ignition and leave the truck parked in the drive until the predawn hours when we must meet again, is why one reads one’s work aloud to oneself. The mind won’t find what the ears don’t hear.

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