Happy New Year
I should have never gone to that New Year’s Eve party last night. All that drinking left my head spinning like a top this morning. But, thank God for black coffee. After three large cups, I was functioning sufficiently again. At least to the put that enabled me to dress myself and find the front door.
Outside in the street, a fierce chill slapped my face and reminded me that I had promised to go visit someone special in the cemetery. After walking four blocks through cold streets, I now was seated in a bus crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, I pressed my nose against the frosty window and just gazed at the water below.
Like the traffic on the bridge, my thoughts zoomed in and out, all over the place. I was glad that I was keeping my promise to visit my friend, but I wasn’t so thrilled about the wintry conditions. What a way to bring in the New Year: cold and half-drunk. I couldn’t remember the last time my head throbbed so much.
By the time I arrived in the cemetery, it was beginning to get dark. I must have had about thirty minutes left before nightfall would douse out whatever light was lingering in the sky. Head down, I put my my coat collar and started up the narrow winding leading to my friend’s grave. How I wished I was visiting her at her apartment, as I had done in the past, instead of this place.
I carried white flowers which I purchased at a florist outside the cemetery. I didn’t know what kind of flowers they were, and I didn’t really care either. I just picked them out because once somebody told me the dead like white flowers. So remembering those words, I bought them to place on her grave.
Kneeling on the freezing ground, I focused on the flowers. I set them down gently in front of the small headstone and then made the sign of the cross. I was never really any good prayers, so I closed my eyes to mentally speak a few words. Truly, I wished so much this moment never existed; but, nevertheless I told her, wherever she may be, I'll always love her.
After I opened my eyes, while still on my knees, I scooped up a few pebbles lying on her grave and put them in my pocket. I had already chosen place for the pebbles—on my night table by my bed. My eyes wandered from her grave, and my memory relived some happier moments, moments when her laughter sounded sweeter than a canary's song.
Daylight had gone by now, and I realized I should be leaving soon. With a lump in my throat I rose slowly from her grave and stared at her headstone one last time. Though the wind now fiercely whipped through the cemetery, I no longer felt cold. The lovely memories provided a surge of warmth. I started up the path for home, before turning to whisper "Happy New Year."