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Right before Christmas, almost everyone leaves.

Christmas in Los Angeles.  Almost everyone leaves.  Suddenly, the roads and the stores aren't as crowded, and the city gets quieter.  Sitting alone in front of my Christmas tree, it feels like a blessing.

I've been dating The Boyfriend for over six months now, but I didn't go home with him.  I wasn't ready, I guess.  And maybe he wasn't either.

I know it's a protection more than anything else.  Not wanting to travel and meet parents, and then a few months down the line it ends up being for nothing.  Although at six months it doesn't have to be that way, to be sure.  But it is what it is.

I'm not one to finagle and scheme for an invite, and I certainly balk at the hint of a suggestion that I *need* an invitation.  I'm spending the day with a girlfriend, and we will cook yummy food, and drink good wine, and relax and talk and laugh.  I am totally looking forward to it, and I love that I'm in town for Christmas, to be sure.  I enjoy the freedom of my life right now, too.

He didn't really ask me.  He didn't say, "I want you to meet my parents.  I want to be with you at Christmas."

Still, sometimes I worry I'm too careful, too prideful, too safe.  That the divide is entirely of my own construction.  When The Boyfriend and I went to Austin this month - where my parents happen to live, so we visited them much earlier than I would have chosen - I allowed myself one moment.  Just once, I allowed myself to say, "Maybe I would like to come."  Home with him for Christmas.  I did put it out there, that I would like to go home with him, if we were there, if he was there.

We felt so natural.  Right.  Us.

He said we would talk about it, but we never did.  And that small, carefully decided on crack in my wall was all I could allow.  I didn't bring it up again.

Because in all honesty, I think this is for the best.  I miss him, but I'm glad to be home.  Glad not to have rushed into a big visit before we were ready.

Still, in the car before he left he said, "Why do I feel like I'm forgetting something?"

And I thought, It's me.  You're forgetting me.

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