When I was little, I loved Christmas. I loved the tree, the parties, the songs, the when-is-it-going-to-get-here countdown.

I loved the whole story.

And even though I was a godless child — I can’t remember ever believing in Santa Claus, much less little Jesus — I tried to make an exception at Christmastime.

Usually this took the form of a late-night prayer, when I was kept awake by anticipation and terror: “Please God, if there’s a nuclear war, let it be in January.”

I figured it was an especially perilous time of year: If the Russians were aiming for maximum evil, they wouldn’t just launch a bomb; they’d do it Christmas Eve.*

My father told me that an attack was very unlikely. If it ever did happen, we could go to the Metro, which in Washington is deep underground. I wasn’t convinced — how would we get enough warning? also, how would everybody fit?

So after my Christmas prayer, I’d lie there imagining armageddon crowds on the subway escalator, hoping that my family would make it into the tunnel first, leaving the other families, the other ones, to take the brunt of the blast.



* Target-wise, I knew Washington, DC was a bad place to live. I’d once expressed doubt that missiles would be able to make it all the way across Europe to our shores. But my dad explained that they’d come over the North Pole, which was shorter.


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4 Responses to “Noël”

  1. damien ruzé Says:

    Have a nice de-nuclearized year Krista.

  2. amanda Says:

    I forgot, until I read this, that I used to have these fears at night too. However, the fear was never seasonal specific. When I shared these paranorias with my mom, she suggested lighter bedtime reader material- aka no more Lord of the RIngs. I guess we would have been one of the families not in the metro station lol.

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