December 31, 2020
Time is pulling the plug on 2020 and, as with any death, my mind is on speed. I’m not sure if I’m losing an enemy or a friend. Honestly, I haven’t come to terms with anything or anyone behind me. There’s so much to say. There’s nothing to say.
The human heart is an involuntary organ. Cardiac tissue striated with transverse bands of light and dark. Cholesterol does nothing to block human emotion.
There’s a young mother who died unexpectedly. Her daughter is crying right now. This very moment another kind of funeral–the death of a year–will be followed by a bittersweet celebration of life and that particular human being will be left behind, way back there it seems, in another time, back and back. Did she ever really exist in the first place? The final date has been written in stone. A life suddenly stopped in 2020. There was nothing that I could do. I’m not God.
The new year is more than a number to some. It’s moving on without someone.
I’m chewing on a slice of pizza eighteen floors above the Atlantic ocean. Only two levels of the Paradise resort are above me. The penthouse is on twenty. I’m up here and down here with people that I love. I love them too much. I don’t love them enough.
Tonight–today–is an ending and a beginning. Perhaps the beginning of the end.
I have someone clinging to my arm and it feels good. Whenever she sneaks into the bathroom, she’s also clinging to Facebook and private messages. While I’m standing outside, waiting for her, there’s someone else on the inside.
She returns for the countdown, smiling, extra bright, distracted, looking at me without actually looking at me. Hopeful with options. And I know. I already know. I’ve been down this road before.
She smiles up at me and I only halfway believe the sweet look on her misleading angelic face. She doesn’t belong to me. Not really. She’s divided herself in half. I can see her private conflict.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Nothing,” she says.
Fireworks are being lit off a long pier. Far away and near.
A flame followed by a thump. There it goes. Up, up, up into the air. A squiggling sperm of white light shooting into the cervical os of the sky, bursting into an orgasm of multiple colors, conceiving a memory.
I smell weed.
I’m happy to be out of surgeon green scrubs and into my favorite pair of faded jeans.
People are out on their balconies.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
Auld Lang Syne. Cheering above the roar of the surf.
A little girl with Dorito breath is fidgeting in my arms. She isn’t mine. She is mine. More and more.
Another smile from the one who loves me not so completely. I wonder what she was writing to someone else in the bathroom only minutes ago. I wonder who he is and why he has her attention.
I work too much. That’s what it is. I don’t know.
I was going to ask her to marry me.
I hate social media. A constant invasion of privacy with unknown Tom’s peeping through every window and sifting through your woman’s underwear drawer, secrets whispered in clicks, easy blatant betrayal and unfaithfulness in the next room.
She clinks a crystal glass of red wine against mine. My face feels tight.
She kisses me.
Tomorrow we stop drinking. That’s what we’ve vowed to each other but who keeps a vow these days?
I’ll drink again. Because I know.
I know too much.