Another New Year's Eve - 1982

Saturday, December 31, 2011
New Years Eve always held a certain amount of hope for me: hope for a new year, new possibilities. Most of my years were spent alone, though. Alone working or helping someone celebrate their own New Year’s Eve.  I can remember when I was approaching adulthood I spent one particular New Years eve staying at my Uncle’s house. For madpoet’s version, you can read his account from last year’s blog. This is my story.

I enjoyed spending time with him. He was easy to be with, we had quite a lot in common, and we seemed to ‘click’. I had no illusions about us ‘clicking’ in any romantic way, though. For one thing, he was a little younger (which is a much bigger deal when you are young) and he was my ‘cousin’ through marriage. That night was odd, though. The vibe was different. He did seem ‘older’, and I felt more like I was spending the evening with a potential date as opposed to a friend. I know there was wine, other things. We were alone for the evening with his brothers being out at a party and somehow I remember we started listening to records. We disagree here: my recollection is that we were slow dancing to “Come in From the Rain” by Captain and Tennille. The reason that was so memorable is because I loved that song and for years it always made me think of him. He did not recall how ‘it started’. I do. In the midst of slow dancing, he began a very slow line of kisses up my neck. Weak knees. Heart pounding. And the next thing I recall thinking was ‘my goodness this boy can kiss!”

New Years Eve 1981 I was living in Orange County, California, working full time and going to school full time at Cal State. I had a convenience ‘boyfriend’ and we dated because it was easy, but there were no romantic illusions there. I was spending New Years at my friend’s apartment in Huntington Beach. I think I recall a party, though I will admit to not remembering much of it. 

The next late morning/afternoon, January 1, 1982,  we were sitting at her table chatting when my roommate called. She called to tell me that my “cousin” was at the apartment to see me. I hadn’t seen him in a couple years at that point in time…but I knew with certainty we were both older.  Old enough now that the age difference didn’t seem so big. I distinctly remember turning to my friend and saying “I’m in trouble.” When she asked me why I told her about that New Years Eve years before and said “He’s legal now.” And I laughed.

I don’t remember much of the rest of that day. I remember going home, being amazed at how different he looked, looking through some of his photos from his adventurous trip to California, hearing about the Rose Parade. I remember feeling like I could be lost in his eyes.  I remember going to bed that night (alone) feeling like I had lost my footing. Everything about my neatly ordered life was just about to be turned upside down.  I thought I was an 80’s woman, strong, determined, and singular. But within a week, maybe two, I was in way over my head, truly head over heels in love in the most real way.  By the end of January, we were engaged.

The beginning wasn’t that romantic, but every day after that has been. We’ve certainly had some ups and downs. There was another New Years Eve in 1988 that I’d just as soon forget. But every year since that first year, it is always him: Filling my day, my heart, my life. There are times when I can’t remember it ever not being always him.

I listen to some of my young students who are so enthralled with the ups and downs of infatuation. They get all their energy from playing the highs against the lows, living in the moment of emotional crisis. What they miss is that there is nothing like being with someone so completely part of who you are, that also lets you be all of who you want to be. You can still be strong and needy, singular and dual, independent and one hundred percent part of a whole. 

I have known people in their later years that remained married without passion, without connection. Married for companionship.  Married for convenience.  There is nothing as wonderful as being able to look at someone who you have slept next to for thirty years and still have your heart beat faster just seeing them, still feeling every day as if you’re in some kind of dream. And after thirty years, there are still moments all the time when I think “my goodness this man can kiss!”

He doesn’t believe in forever- but I believe in always. We are always. Every New Years is another celebration of that one year when I stopped trying to be so strong and independent and let myself fall out of control in love. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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