Amazing how different things were a year ago…

by Penelope Smallbone

Last year on New Year’s I was in a crowded bar with a friend of mine who’d just moved to the city. We were WASTED and ended up making out with the bartenders, about six gentlemen around us, and eventually each other for a bit. The night ended early, with me puking in a trash can. The next day, the hot bartender came over and we made out a little more. A *great* way to kick off the new year.

I couldn’t think of a worse way to start 2009.

Fortunately, this year I had actual fabulous plans for New year’s Eve. I have a small tradition with the above friend to spend NYE together. This was our fourth year, and past years included getting stuck in an elevator and seeing a pile of bricks fall on someone’s car. Last year was definitely the most boring in our history… But this year we went to a swanky party in Times Square and at midnight went outside and watched the ball drop from a private (aka, not in the herd of folks freezing outside) viewing area. I want to tell you that the Times Square thing is just over-hyped, but in reality it was nothing short of incredible. As I stood watching the tons of vivid confetti fall from the arms of people camped out in 40th floor offices overlooking Times Square, I got a tear in my eye. They had just played John Lennon’s Imagine, and the whole scene was ridiculously cheesy and moving all at the same time.

I’m trying to picture 2008 as a single snapshot in my mind, but it keeps appearing more like a panoramic picture where that one obnoxious kid moves to the other side as the camera is moving across and so he’s in it twice.

Prior to last year, I had never really been hurt by a man, and I think I hit a new record. Despite the disproportionate number of assholes in my life last year (granted, a lot of that was my fault for being foolish), I still managed to have one of the best years of my life. It was completely vivid and alive compared to every other year of my life. As much as it is a crutch, I do owe much of that sensation to my living in New York. I have accomplished so much here already and all of my experiences speak to that.

Moving forward, I am in a completely new and wonderful and unknown place. On New year’s Day my roommate and I were sitting around watching TV when my phone rang. I looked at the ID: “Mr. Kickboxer.” My heart stopped. I hadn’t talked to him in almost a year and a half, and here he was calling me on the first day of a new year. He was the one that got away. The one that I felt so passionate about and with whom I just couldn’t manage to make it work. He was the one who was with me on the last night in my apartment in St. Louis. He took care of me and stood by me when I was so sick that night and couldn’t manage on my own. He was there. And now he was there again.

I picked up and we talked for about a half hour. Got caught up on everything that’s been going on during our hiatus. Good for him, he is fighting professionally and applying to the police academy in St. Louis. As I told him about all the things going on in my life, I felt like I was telling some fantastic story that happens in a movie or on a sitcom, yet I wasn’t exaggerating at all. (If anything I left some parts out!) While it was great to talk to him again, it was also a great reminder of my own strength. I can do anything I decide to do, and I am not going to let anyone or anything hold me back.

Moneypenny, no real resolutions for me. I did enough in 2008 to tide me over for a few years. : ) I do plan on keeping the apartment a little cleaner, and trying better to keep up with what’s going on in my friends’ lives.