Auld Lang Syne

New Year’s Eve of course has been a topic of conversation for the last week or so. It’s been discussed with the kids, online friends and my friends.  I always say that I don’t like it and I can count the number of times I’ve been out on both my hands.  I preferred being home, either with my loved ones or by myself.

So a walk down the New Year’s of my past.

The first time I went out I was a teenager.  I am thinking about 16-17.  It was a group of girls – Debbie L, Susan W, Judy G and me.  We had become friends through political action.   It wasn’t a sleepover, someone’s parents must have picked us up.  All I remember was almost from the beginning, I wanted to be home.  I had been looking forward to it, first New Year’s out and all that.

Next time was in Jamaica.  My mother and I went down to see my Grandmother.  I already knew I didn’t like going out.  My favorite cousin asked me to come out with him and his wife.  I said no.  Grandma said yes.  I thought it might have been the last New Year’s I would ever spend with her and it was.  She died in December the following year.  She insisted.  So at the last minute I said yes and put my gown on.  Cousin rustled up a “date” for me with the name of Elvis.  Elvis was the same age as my baby brother. It was a fabulous party in Kingston.  There was a private tennis court, in ground pool.  I was MISERABLE.  I put such a damper on things that we left almost immediately after midnight.

Glutton for punishment.  The next year I went out with my two friends. See my previous blog “Politics, Friendship and Mortality”.  That so did not work out.

Skip to almost a decade later.  I was seeing someone, an alcoholic in recovery, my specialty.  He asked if I wanted to go to a party.  I told him I didn’t want to go to anyplace crowded mostly with people I didn’t know and noisy.  It was a Black and White themed party but he told me it wasn’t formal.  You know me and my clothes. I had the gowns. In fact, when I was married the first time, my mother-in-law didn’t understand why I didn’t want a wedding gown.  I was gowned out.  We arrive at the party.  It is formal.  We are the only two people not dressed formally.  It is packed with people I don’t know, noisy and crowded and he doesn’t kiss me at midnight.  I miss my family desperately.

Ah, another one.  I broke up with above.  Very messy and a story for another day.  My family always hated him.  My brother announced that I couldn’t be alone and scooped me up for a party at his former girlfriend’s house.  We are that kind of people.  Miserable again and all I can remember was that the little children had dirty feet.  I made my brother take me home before midnight.

Fast forward almost a decade.  I was mad at the man (we always got back together) I had been to the previous party with and thrown him out the house on Dec. 29.  He had turned on Howard Stern on my radio.  What can I say?  I went out that night by myself and met someone.  We went to brunch the next day and New Year’s Eve he asked me out to dinner.  We went with another couple and it was bearable and I was home well before midnight.  Everyone said I must like him since I went out on New Year’s  I guess.  I married him disastrously.

Two years after that we went to Watch Night service at the church.  I liked it. He hated it. There were less than 5 people there.  One of whom was 90!  Praying the New Year in made sense to me.

The marriage was done by the following year and I spent the next years either home with my parents, or alone or had dinner out with the man I lived with for awhile.  Even then, I hated being away from my family.

Just about a decade passes and I am dating Buster the Biker.  He has disappeared for most of the week after Christmas but we have plans to go to the bar we drink at.  My brother is there.  I don’t hate it but am not really happy.  I wanted my parents.

That was over a decade ago.  My husband and I struggle to stay awake most years.  We used to take out Chinese food when we lived someplace else but it’s where his ex-wife takes the family every year so that became slightly unpleasant.  Now, we eat appetizers and watch the ball drop. Last night we felt old.  We didn’t know any of the entertainers or the words to the songs.  It is natural, the passing of time.  I remember Guy Lombardo and the ancientness of it all as it appeared to me at the time.  This year I didn’t go through any of my rituals.  I can’t take a walk on the beach.  Break up guy and I always did that  Even when we were apart, I’d run into him there and we would walk.  He can’t walk now either.

Last night I thought of all my New Year’s ghosts and wishes.

So, a year at least as good as last year’s, love, joy, health.

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