New Year’s Eve


It is funny how little moments in time stick with us. Don’t know if it was five, six, seven or nine years ago when I realized that my marriage had an expiration sticker on it but I do know that it was New Year’s Eve.

I am not a big holiday guy but New Year’s Eve holds a big more significance for me than some of the other days of the year.

Kind of funny to look around my apartment and think about how different life is now from what I once thought it would be. There were other apartments in those days that didn’t have pictures of my kids floating around because there weren’t any…kids then.

The beauty of hindsight is that you can use it to look back at those little moments in time and mark them with a mental note that says “I was an idiot.” That is the sort of thing I always advise my children not to do, but I sometimes do anyway.

File it under “Do as I say, not as I do” or however that stupid saying goes.

Both Pam and Sheri called this week to extend invitations to the parties that they are going to but I declined. Not really interested in being social this year. The kids are out doing their thing and I’d much prefer to be home alone where it is quiet.

Of course right after I thanked Pam for the invitation I stumbled across a box of old letters and notepads and found the first draft of a letter I wrote Ann. It was sort of a bittersweet find. To tell you the truth, if I were more superstitious I might think that the universe was trying to send me a message.

Coincidence is really what I chalk it up to. Ever since that lunch with the girls I have stumbled across things that make me think of her or remind me of things that we used to do. Since she has been on my mind it makes sense that this has happened, right.

I have to admit that I wonder about what Pam said. Has she been reading my column? Has she read my books? Does she see herself in any of the characters or recognize any of the references?

Twice. I have read the draft below twice now. I wonder if she still remembers that night and all that came afterwards.

Dear Ann,

It is almost New Year’s Eve and I can’t wait to see you in that long black dress you showed me last week. Every time I think about you in it I feel like my heart is going to burst. I know that sounds like some kind of stupid line but it is true.

I think that you are simply stunning so you will have to forgive me when I pull you into the bathroom at the party because I can’t possibly wait until we get home. Every time I look at you I wonder how I got so lucky. You are the sexiest woman I know and so very smart. Hmm…maybe I should reverse that and call you smart and sexy. Wouldn’t want you to think that the only reason I say these things is to get inside your pants.

Because that is not true. There is so much more to you and I than that. I am not real good at sharing my feelings. I mask them with stupid jokes and comments. You are wrong, I am not afraid of commitment and especially not with you. But sometimes I am slow to move because I am cautious.

Remember how you told me that you would never be the first person to say I love you? Well, this has sort of been similar for me. I do want to marry you. I do want to share a life with you because I can’t imagine life without you in it. It is not because I can’t live a life without you because I can, just as you can without me.

But why would we do that. Why would two people who have what we have ever walk away from it. When I told you to take my hand and said that together we could do whatever we wanted I meant it. We can.

Remember how scared we were that you were pregnant and how we weren’t ready to be parents. We were both so relieved when we found out that you weren’t but I was also a little bit sad. At the same time I sort of shrugged my shoulders because we are young and I figured that there would be other chances.  It is easy for me to picture us when we are old people in our forties or fifties with a houseful of children.

And no, this isn’t a proposal. I am not asking for your hand in marriage. If I did do that I would do it in person. More importantly I don’t want you to know when it is coming. You are a planner and I am not. It is part of how we balance each other. I don’t want you to know because I want you to really be surprised.

I am sorry about what happened. I am sorry about our fight. I wasn’t kidding. I am the guy who will kiss the tears away. I am the guy who can be your best friend and your lover. Together we are more than we are when we are apart. If something ever happened to us I would never forget and I don’t believe that you would either. Decades could pass and I would still love you.

One day I want to make the grandchildren groan because grandpa chases grandma around the house. But first I want to kiss my girl at midnight. First I want to hold my girl and dance with her because she is the song of my heart and always will be.

Will you give me another chance?



Want to Read More?

What you read above is an excerpt from a much longer story that I am working on. If you want to read more please click here.

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  1. Mhelgie January 30, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I am very touched with the share that you’ve posted. Looks like I need to look back for the things I’ve done this previous year and reflect on it. Sharing your own story gives other people a chance to be inspired and learn from it.

  2. Brandon January 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Damn, Jack. If this is fiction as tagged, you were certainly able to pour a goodly share of emotion into it.

    As always, good to see you sir.

  3. Brandi January 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for sharing this over on Story Dam 🙂

    I just told Brandon that I wasn’t quite sure what to reply with. I can say that I know some of these situations do have ‘happy endings’ because Brandon and I found ourselves in a similar one not long ago.

    I wish you the best of luck in whatever ‘ending’ you may have and look forward to seeing what else you share with us.


  4. kelly garriott waite January 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Haven’t run into you in awhile, Jack. Nice piece!

  5. Cathy January 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I spent NYE home alone. It was perfect. Nice writing – but I am a bit confused.

  6. SAM January 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Oh, Jack. The first couple paragraphs of your draft made me think of my husband and how he has said similar things to me (without being quite so concise). It’s nice to see it from another man’s POV too. It really brings home how much my husband really does care for me.

    I’m happy to see you hanging out at Story Dam!

  7. January 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    AAGGGRRRRRHHHH! Where do feelings like that go? How can you feel all that and then fizzle?

    • Jack January 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Bridget,

      The question I ask is what happens when those feelings never really fizzle.

      Sometimes you don’t stop loving them, but you stop living with them.

  8. Mark January 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Hey Jack, this post got me reflecting about many things in years past. Thanks for sharing such a moving personal story.

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