One Glass Flute.
New year’s eve, after getting off work I went to my local Wegmans to purchase some holiday party necessities. I had big plans for myself on new year’s. Anyone who knows me knows that New Years is my favorite holiday. I enjoy it more than Christmas. I also get really excited. It is the one time of year that literally in a minute hope becomes almost tangible. As the ball drops and a new year is ushered in, one knows anything can happen. The anticipation of future is so thick you are able to reach out and touch it. I firmly believe that what you are doing when the ball drop will set the tone for the upcoming year. I was thinking about that as I mulled over my evening plans while shopping. Last year I went downtown,by myself. It was very important for me to go and do New Year’s by myself. I had only been separated for a couple of months and I wanted to set the right tone for 2009. Strong, independent and self reliant; as luck would have it, I met someone that night and we watched the ball drop together. He was crazy, but I didn’t know that at the time. While in the produce department, looking for the perfect head of cabbage I had a realization if you will. I put 2 and 2 together. All last year I dated. Save for a couple of months that I took off from exhaustion, I dated. 15 men to be exact. And they were all crazy. Coincidence…I think not.
Without realizing it, this year was going to be different. I didn’t get my ticket to go downtown, and decided to stay at home. I purchased the supplies for the traditional new years day dinner, you know, pork chops, black eyed peas and cabbage. For health, wealth and good luck. I also bought some other small groceries, milk, bread, ext…a cheap bottle of champagne and strawberries. I don’t even like strawberries but I’ve ever since I saw Pretty Woman and Richard Gere is like have a strawberry I’ve always wanted to try it. Why not on New Years? As I was leaving, feeling quite happy with myself (everyone knows how much I LOVE grocery shopping, honestly my spirits really did lift when I was in the produce section, shocking revelation aside) when I realized I didn’t have a champagne flute. There was no way in hell I was going to drink champagne out of a wine glass or worse a coffee cup. So I bought one. Just one. I didn’t think anything about it until I got to the check out.
I put all my groceries on the thingy with the champagne flute last. There it sat. Upright, sparkling, well as much as unbreakable plastic can, amidst a bottle of cheap champagne, milk and strawberries. By all accounts I could have been going home to have a romantic evening with my significant partner, which is probably what the cashier though until she came to the flute. “Just the one huh?” she asked. “Yeah,” I replied, and I felt my face blush…”yeah. Just the one.” Until that moment it has never bothered me when I do things alone that are normally done in pairs. I go to movies, out to dinner ext…and I have never felt embarrassment. As I watched her scan that one champagne flute I almost wanted to cry. I didn’t. Not until later.
Later came at 11:59 pm… as I sat on my couch, watching Time Square on my computer, halfway into the bottle of champagne, all most all the strawberries gone and my little horn I took home from work. In the final minutes of 2009 I prayed. I thanked God for all his blessing on me in the past year, I prayed that he continue to bless me, my family and friends, and then I counted down. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2, and its Happy New Year!! I polished off my glass of champagne, blew my little horn that had been squished previously from my purse, muted my computer and played Auld Lang Syne that I had on standby (thank you Iphone). I listened to the words as I watched couple after couple embrace, and kiss as confetti flittered down, and then…then I cried. I cried because I really do believe what you do at midnight sets the tone for the rest of the year, I cried because I thought of my realization about last year and what that meant for this one. I cried as I looked at the remnants of my party on my coffee table…strawberry tops, my horn, bits and pieces of cork because of course I broke it and my wine opener when I tried to open the bottle. I cried for all the frustration and hardships I had gone through the past year to sit where I sat then (and now as I write this). I cried for the two times my heart got broken last year from the one people knew about…and the one they didn’t. I cried because I was alone. And then I stopped. I could do alone.
I have been doing alone for a very long time. Since I was 10 and took care of my little brother so my mother could work. I did alone in my room every time my stepfather got drunk and went to beat my mother. I did alone when I was 16 and my father sat me down at our kitchen table and explained to me that I was an adult and he trusted me to take care of myself and the house, to go to school and to pay the bills while he worked. I didn’t see him again for almost a month. I did alone the night Justin died and I sat in my bathroom washing his blood off my body. I did alone in my first apartment when I worked 2 jobs just to pay the rent. I did alone the day my husband left.
I sat there, on my couch, toying with that one champagne flute and thought to myself, I can do this. I can be alone. Because I know how outstanding I am, how strong I am and how very very much I have overcome, and that matters. It matters very much. Even if the only person who knows it is me...and me alone.