It’s no secret, I hate the period between November 1 through January 2 often known as “The Holidays.” I hate the lights, the seasonal fare, the false family “togetherness.” I like to be alone when I’m off of work, not sitting on someone else’s couch. God, the sort of small talk! Its asinine.
Every year one of my nice friends calls and says, “I know you hate the holidays but…” and tries to suggest something they think will be fun and un-holiday like. As much as I appreciate their kindness, that’s just the thing I hate most, being with people on a day that I’d like to have as what it really is: a holiday. A break. A retreat. My own time on the mountain top. Honestly, it all a ruse to excuse myself for behaving like a curmudgeon once a year. (Yadda, yadda, decrease the surplus population, yadda, yadda.)
My sister and I typically do Thanksgiving at a restaurant in the city, the sort of event funded solely by our very generous parents. We eat a large, gluttonous meal, with a glass of wine or champagne, and I always toast to the same thing, “I’m thankful for never having to go around saying what I’m thankful for.”
Ah, I love it.
That’s exactly what happened this year. My sister and I went to Brasserie 8 ½ in midtown; joined by one of her friends. I ate a steak, a glass of wine, and glacial apple pie. An elderly woman stopped by our table and smiled. “Happy Thanksgiving,” she said, before slipping into the booth next to us.
We made a big effort to make sure she wasn’t eating alone, and if she was, I suggested that she join us. Soon her son appeared from the bathroom and took a seat with her. It was the first time that my heart softened in the last few weeks. I told myself: “Don’t get used to it.”
I took a cab back to my apartment. I asked the driver if he would have a chance to have a good meal.
“Maybe when I get home, maybe I will eat something,” he said.
Influenced by my previous brush with emotion and my heart (oddly) still plushy and soft, I suddenly wanted to have my “Scrooge” moment where I would appear at his apartment with a turkey for his family, my broken heart mended, my life suddenly full.
But that stuff is for the movies.