I grew up assembling a fake tree every December, and I've always admired the scent and feel of a real holiday tree; I begged my boyfriend for a pine one this year and he obliged. Christmas morning, my boyfriend and I sat by our decorated tree. Admittedly, I love getting presents, but at Christmas time, I'm used to being disappointed; in my family, I'm a generation of my own and have always gotten slighted. I couldn't wait to give my boyfriend his gifts - I listen closely for hints and find pride in surprising him with that thing he really loves. This year, it was personalized collar stays with our sweet nothings and the Sebastiao Salgado photography book he really wanted. He gave me four bars of soap and a costume jewelry bracelet. The soap is made from olive oil and the bracelet has the Greek eye on it - both things he knows I love. Last year, our second December together, he took me to Paris and bought me a diamond heart necklace for Christmas; this year, bald and sick from chemotherapy, I got soap. I went upstairs and cried, feeling slighted by his offerings; although thoughtful, the meager gifts held a significant message - the beast was intervening and disassociating us.