The idea was to party with Angela, but she got angry because I spent Sunday watching football with my dad. But she burned a whole day shopping with her sister. It snowballed from there: I don’t call enough, doesn’t like my college friends… Next thing you know it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m single.
Mom and Dad invite me to the Wolski’s with them, but I’d be the only person without an AARP card.
Home alone with beers, until midnight approaches and I consider champagne. I go to the wine cellar, but get sidetracked among my old stuff in the basement. There’s my old runner-sled. Way too inviting. I suit up and hit the hill out back. The snow is compacted, so I fly. And laugh like I haven’t in years; pure elation.
At the bottom of the hill I spy the river. It’s quiet. The center is slow-moving water, the edges, thick ice. The river doesn’t know arbitrary markers like New Year’s, that say you’re supposed to be with a crowd, people to affirm your happiness, someone to kiss at midnight. The river is kid-me, throwing sticks just to watch them float, oblivious to the politics of pleasing others.
Which is probably why I walk to the edge of the ice and hammer with my sled until a chunk breaks off. Large enough to ride raft-like, slow down the silent river, me and the cold and the winter constellations and the silence and the approximate feeling of being ten.