On One Hand

January 1, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:26 am

I’m saving my New Year’s kiss for someone who couldn’t be with me when the corks popped. I was with old friends from high school, my lips dry as they were through those thankfully expired years in the parched sands of adolescent Purgatory. Two of the girls I spent the holiday with were pregnant and the rest of the boys were driving, so needless to say we all drank champaigne. Our countdown was of little enthusiasm and three seconds late. In our rambling conversation we barely noticed the moment the new year arrived.

2005 passed away with a whisper and continued west to part with California, Alaska, and the last few islands in the Pacific before leaving the world forever. The last of my innocence went with the old calendar and with just as little thought or protest as the moment of transition. The year that just ended was the last year I could say I maintained the old idealistic faith in love, the last year I was a virgin, and the last year I could say my emotions had never driven me to the brink. It was my last year as a teenager. It was the last year I had bedroom at home with my parents I could go back to if all else failed, and the last year my parents felt like protectors. It was the last year a pillow gave me comfort. It was the last year it was OK to be skinny. It was the last year I could say I never used sex as a futile attempt to cure depression, or hedonistically lusted for a person’s body and satisfied those cravings without regard for the anger we held in our hearts for each other. It was the last year I thought I would be able to do what I want with my aspirations. It was the last year fantasy was remotely satisfying. It was the last year I could say I’d never been utterly and consummately selfish. It was the last year I thought I was smarter or better or kinder or more sane and reasonable than any average fucked-up person. It was the last year I could say I had never been intoxicated to oblivion or done cocaine.

I hardly noticed those old relics of innocence shatter one by one. I was eager to grow up, like an angsty teenager itching to taste the pleasures of vice and rebeliousness. Now I’m looking down at myself, thinking, God, there’s not a scrap left. Not a scrap. I didn’t feel any moment of transition, only a moment of realization, too late, that everything is changed.

The old things we all clung to in our youths matter less now. My friends and I spent the evening talking about independence and responsibility. The high school dramas have turned to adult dramas – homework and puppy love is now raising children, marriage, and paying the bills on time, and it has come much sooner than I expected. Questions are not about who I will see tonight but about what I’m going to do, and who I will do it with, for the rest of my life. And I’m more doubtful than ever. I’m increasingly confronted with my human wants and imperfections while I still don’t know what I can be when I grow up. Despite all my experience to give me strength, I’m more vulnerable to myself than I’ve ever been.

I’m detached from all those old comforts. But knowing the emptiness of deap-seated desires is to be freed from them, and I haven’t lost all prospect. There are things and people in the world who can show me that the wonders I hoped for weren’t naiive wishes. Like I said, I’m keeping my New Year’s kiss – because there are still a few scattered things in the world worth holding on for.



  1. Thanks for the reminder that the new year is also about reflecting on the past year, not just looking forward to a better new year. I found your LJ through the Connexion UU group; hope you don’t mind I added you.

    Comment by lemonnada — January 2, 2006 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  2. Did I ever give you that kiss? –Clay

    Comment by Anonymous — May 23, 2006 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

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