Topic: What’s the best thing about being single during the holidays…and the best thing about being coupled up over the holidays?
Posted by: Sherry Amatenstein
I’m the Grinch of this group. My story is about the worst experience I ever had during the holidays as a single person. It’s also about the worst experience I had as part of a couple. Both were on New Year’s Eve – the same New Year’s Eve. That December 31 began with me starring as Sadie, Sadie unhappy married lady.
My then husband and I knew our marriage was on life support, but were trying to hold things together into January. Who wants to be totally alone you know when? But in the week before the balloon was scheduled to drop at Times Square, our relationship took a sharp spiral downward. Bob moved into our neighbor Gerard's apartment but kept coming upstairs to verbally harass me. Even the cat, usually a Nosy Nelly needing to be in on all the action, couldn't take the tension and disappeared under a bed whenever "daddy" appeared.
The evening of December 30th: We were still planning on spending the 31st together, delusional to the last, as if irreparable marital angst would take a moratorium to spare us the pain of a ruptured New Year's. The sound of Bob's key rattling in the lock sent the cat scuttling as per usual. My husband came in and began his berating almost exactly where he'd left off the previous night. My mouth opened but instead of a rebuttal rebate I announced, "I'm leaving in the morning."
His lip trembled. "But... but tomorrow's New Year's Eve." I shouted, "Yeah well, spend it with Gerard. I'm done."
The next morning I left, plastic bag in hand (I returned a few days later for the cat, the only shared possession I wanted), work-bound. Bob followed me all the way to the bus stop. "How cruel you are, to leave on New Year's Eve."
My co-worker Ronnie, hearing my tale of woe invited me to spend the evening with her and her husband. This meant joining them at a party. Blissfully I entered 'Numb town,' an emotion-free zone, though at midnight when the couples embraced (I was the only single) it was hard not to think of past New Year's when I'd been happily coupled. Well okay, when I'd been coupled.
I vowed to myself that if I made it through this evening no other New Year's Eve ever, ever would be as poisonously sad. There was nowhere to go but up. Surely there'd always be something joyful to celebrate, even a small accomplishment. Some years I've been 'Party of Two'; other times 'Admit One.' But having survived the Ground Zero of holiday time I've always felt grateful and blessed come December 31st. If nothing else, January 1st is a new beginning.