Well, it is a new year. The one thing I like about new years is that they are, even if only for a second, completely perfect in every way. I have a feeling that 2017 is going to be a hard one, so I was intending to savor the goodness for as long as possible. We made it longer in perfection than we usually do. I achieved it for a day and a half before I forgot to do my daily writing and then got into an inane fight with Brian over bookshelves. I think that’s pretty good.
We celebrated New Year the old person way at my friend Emily’s house – by calling up the ball drop in real time, cheering, toasting, and singing at 9:00. And then Emily, Brian, and I got to talking and accidentally also celebrated the real New Years at midnight. It was fun, scrambling for sparkling cider in her kitchen filled with the detritus of the tasty pizza and carrot cake we had just eaten, clinking glasses and singing Auld Lang Syne lustily, but at a volume that wouldn’t wake the children (or Joey who had work early the next day).
It made me think of all the other new years Emily and I spent together.
Especially the one where four of my best high school friends and I went to Knotts Berry Farm with Liz’s youth group. There was some sort of major Christian rock concert going, which was great with us. No one was in line for the rides, so we gallivanted across the park riding everything. In the days before security checkpoints, Emily snuck a bottle of Martinelli’s through the gates in her backpack. She forgot the churchkey. We struggled valiantly to open the thing without making any headway before we finally managed to borrow a pair of scissors from a vendor. With much brute strength and (miraculously) no blood, Becca eventually stabbed the metal lid through. There was cider everywhere, frothing from the jagged opening, covering our hands in stickiness. We toasted and drank in the night, the lights of the carousel shining over us, the rollercoaster rattling past, midnight come and gone.
And then months later when we all graduated, they presented the bottle to me as a present. It was mostly cleaned up but the lid still held tight, the jagged scissor opening gaping. It’s lost to time now. Gone in one of the many moves I made in the mysterious way that happens. But I remembered it still as we sang in Emily’s golden kitchen this year. We were, all four of us, such different people back then. And now we are scattered to the winds; happy, still in touch, still thinking of each other, but hardly in the same city and most of us not even in the same state.
The year rolls forward, though, and so does the changing of ourselves and our worlds. I know that 2017 will bring bad things. I just hope it brings plenty of good along with it.