I sit on new year’s eve. I’m drinking wine, cooking for family. And thinking of those not present.
My mother, alone in the prison of her home and her infirmity and her fear; she could come here, but will not.
My father, my brother, dead now ten years or so; the first, a heart attack because he loved his cigarettes and brandy and bacon better than he loved – well, than he loved anything; my brother, because he chose self-pity and the need to justify himself, to himself, over treatment for an ailment that was mostly between his ears.
My father in law, who lies now in a hospital bed, drugged into insensibility because waking forces him to deal with his own mortality; a surgery that took half his insides to save his life. He sleeps, thanks to chemicals, with the innocence of a baby, while tubes bring him nutrients and fluids, and take away his waste; machines help him breath, and insure his heart keeps beating.
And I imagine others; some who should be here and are not, friends with families or loves or responsibilities; or those across a country or an ocean, missed, longed for, desired.
I drink to you all; be ye here, or me there, or all us in some fine, warm place where the new year can be welcomed by the light of bright stars.
My wine glass sits empty, and i’ve a pot of soup to stir, stock from christmas’ roasted turkey, a bounty of vegetables, butter and cream and herbs and fresh baked bread perfuming my kitchen.
Happy new year, friends, lovers, loved ones, relatives, readers.
Happy new year, those gone, across a distance of miles, or years, or below a layer of simple dirt. Happy new year all ye; love to all, and I drink to a better year for us all.