Turning The Page
I’ve been alone on the gritty streets of New York City, head down, nocturnally wandering and wondering, on New Year’s Eve; I’ve been lovingly ensconced in the nurturing, warm arms of a woman that loved me, on New Year’s Eve; I have held the woman of my dreams in my arms on New Year’s Eve; I’ve felt incredibly alone in the arms of a woman who used to love me, and I her, on New Year’s Eve; I have embraced a bottle, hummed along with Tony Bennett, and wrestled with a bushel full of regrets in front of a roaring fire, on New Year’s Eve; I have spent a wonderfully intimate evening with a loyal, unblinkingly devoted dog, who instinctively licked away my tears, sensing somehow, a need to quell the inner torment that often visits New Year’s Eve; I have, with narrowed and jaundiced eye, scrolled back over the preceding year and winced reflexively at my behavior, on New Year’s Eve; I have toasted the soul-drowning suicides of the two most influential men in my life - father and brother, and somehow emerged a stronger man, on New Year’s Eve; I have made love at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, at once indelibly imprinting the image in both our minds forever. I know she thinks about it every year; it’s our very special little secret; I have felt abandoned, barren, destitute, empty, and cold, all while in front of a fire by myself, never feeling its warmth, like a fraudulent January sun, on New Year’s Eve; I have been wistful and ached for the beautiful cities I’ve visited, on New Year’s Eve; I have never NOT felt some sense of longing on every New Year’s Eve, every birthday, every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, every anniversary…a longing, no matter how good things may be, for life to be better, for everyone. It’s as close as I will get to religion, but my sentiments are no less heartfelt than the Believers; I have rarely approached New Year’s Eve without at least some trepidation, rooted in that dark, dingy little cave of self doubt we all harbor down deep where we let very few people visit. Simply, it is the fear that I will gallivant through another year without living up to my expectations, cavalierly flipping off fate, stupidly wasting my talents; and finally, I will not forget this New Year’s Eve, 2011. Those who truly know me, and there are probably few in this room who do (until now, maybe), would realize shrewdly that my presence in here: joking, laughing, crying, questioning, singing, thinking, reflecting, musing, mulling and flirting, all in a public forum, is so not me. This room and by extension you folks, however indirectly, have helped me shed some of my reclusive nature, and allowed me to let it flow from the heart and mind.
Happy New Year.
© Copyright 2016 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.