"Our Christmas-tree is Fake"

Our Christmas-tree is fake. When I get home from work, before my family gets in, sometimes, I stare at it. I look at the ornaments that hang from plastic. I touch the golden macaronis I glued onto my first-grade soccer picture. The ball is close to my chest and the bowl-haircut is nearing the smile between my fat cheeks. My brother's rosy kindergarden face is cut out and taped onto an angel underneath its halo. His eyes are big and black and his lips are ringed and chapped. He doesn't like the tree - he told me. Nearby, Santa is hanging, lounging on a lawn-chair in a NY Giants jersey and cap. His thick belly makes him heavy for an ornament, but the plastic branches never bend. There aren't any pine-needles on the floor. There isn't any water leaking at my feet. There's no rich, bitter smell - nothing - at my nose. But there are red and white lights resting systematically on symmetric pipes. I hear our heavy front-door push open and light steps pitter-patter in the other room. My mom is home. She shouts and asks if later maybe I would help her set up the manger, since, this year, I didn't decorate the tree. I walk into my room, and I close my door. I don't shout back. I'm on my bed with my face in a book when I hear my brothers feet dragging. I know they're my brothers feet, because his are the only ones that drag like mine. They stop outside my door, at our fake tree. I keep reading. I hear a creak, a snap, and a crash, and I put down my book. There are heavy work-boot steps rustling when I feel my dad's voice through the wall. He says, calmly, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" And my brother, he says he didn't mean to.