Well it’s Saturday morning and I survived, not that I thought I wouldn’t, but still I’m glad it’s finally behind me. You see, last night had been a long time coming, almost three years in the making, and in the weeks, days and hours leading up to it, I thought the butterflies had gotten the best of me. In the end, though, I learned a lot about my life from the experience and though I hit a little bump in my road yesterday, I can now get right back on that wave and keep moving forward with my head held high knowing I’ve still got a whole world to conquer.
My Christmas tree before the crash
A Bad Start to the Day
The day did not begin well for me yesterday and I was hoping that what happened wasn’t going to be a bad omen of things to come. I awoke to my alarm clocks blaring and my kitty Dylan nudging me to take notice, not an unusual circumstance. I went downstairs to feed the cats and to turn on the coffee maker and when I reached the bottom I noticed a huge shadow on the floor in my living room. I walked over towards in and was jolted awake by the realization that it was my Christmas tree lying across the floor.
Oh it was a huge mess, glass shards and hooks all over the place, unbroken ornaments had rolled into the dining room and hallway, and the skirt beneath the tree was soaking wet, along with the floor. I rushed feverishly to get the tree back up and secure and to clean the huge, huge mess that it had caused. In all, I lost between 30 and 50 ornaments, some of which can never be replaced.
After checking that the tree was secure in its place in the stand I began to wonder how it happened, but not for long. As I had been cleaning up I noticed that Diego had followed me down to be fed, but not Dylan. He had stayed upstairs, which is very odd and very telling. I’d heard about cats doing such things, but I never experienced it before. Joe and I had Spike for 17 years and I’ve had Dylan and Diego for almost 4 and this never happened before. Of course I couldn’t be angry with him, though. He’s just an animal and doesn’t know any better. So now I have to get new ornaments….
The morning’s events were upsetting, and not a great way to begin this dreaded day that I’d been anticipating for weeks. But I’ve been on a really good high lately, and I knew that how I reacted to it could just bring that high I’ve been riding crashing down and spin myself into a new low, which I did not want to happen. I understand that attitude is everything in life, and how you react to things usually dictates how your days will go. For the first time possibly ever, I decided not to let the Christmas tree get to me or allow it to carry over into making the evening a bad one. I thought of the words of Mary J. Blige:
“It’s up to us to choose whether we win or lose, and I choose to win!”
That’s not to say that the day was easy, far from it. On my way to work a song came on the radio that made me think of Joe and I began to think of him and a long lost past, some of which came crashing down with the tree. I cried, but only for a moment, and quickly eradicated those thoughts from my head.
The rest of the day was very busy, and I had little time to think about the impending encounter with my ex Joe and his new partner, Brian, but towards the end of the day the butterflies began to flutter in the pit of my stomach and stayed there until the time my buddy Rich came by to accompany me to the party across the street.
As we approached the house, the anticipation was a little unnerving, especially after my friends Margaret and Monica rushed over to me at the front door to ask me if I was alright. They told me how good I looked, which I know was their way of giving me a little boost before going into the kitchen to meet them and I appreciated it, but it didn’t help. I took off my coat and walked straight into the kitchen.
There they were, standing next to one another at the far side of the room. I didn’t wait for Rich to come along and I walked right on over to them. “Hey,” I said to Joe, giving him a hug and a peck on the cheek. Then I turned to Brian. “Hey, I’m John, nice to finally meet you.” We shook hands and like that the introductions were over and done with.
The remainder of the night was a couple of hours filled with mixed emotions. My friends all kept an eye on me throughout to make sure I was doing alright. At one point, while I was standing there making small talk with the two of them, Joe had gone off to make a drink and left us standing there in awkward silence. Margaret was on it, darting across the room to get my attention and relieve the uncomfortable moment. Whew!
I made my rounds through the party, chatting with several of the other guests, but every once in awhile I just had the urge to get out of there. I persevered, though, and before long it was time to make my exit around 11, but just before that I had ann experience that told the tale of my night and my life.
One of the fun things about Terry’s Christmas parties is her grab-bag raffle. Upon entering, everyone is given a few raffle tickets and the numbers are called out throughout the fiesta, with the winners getting to grab a surprise gift from beneath the Christmas tree. I was outside smoking a cigarette with Joe and Rich when my number was called. Margaret’s boyfriend Serge came outside to tell us the winning number and after rrealizing I had the winning ticket, I went inside to claim my prize.
When I went in, Brian had been sitting on the couch near the tree talking to two of Terry’s friends, “Trey and Bunny” (a whole story unto themselves!), and I grabbed their attention as I chose my prize, a coffee mug and Christmas ornament (one less I have to buy, lol). I sat down across from Brian and joined in their conversation.
“Hey John,” Bunny said to me, “when are you going to find a boyfriend. I mean, you’re so good looking and you have a nice job and you’re such a good guy…” I could’ve crawled under a rock!
“You know, I’m kind of happy the way things are,” I answered, and I meant it. “When the right person comes along, they will come along and I’ll just know it” (I do believe that!). The conversation moved along and as we all talked jovially for a bit. Even Brian and I shared some nice conversation. "This is so civilized," I thought to myself as he and I spoke.
During those moments I thought to myself, yeah, I am pretty cool with my life. I’ve got a lot of people who care about me and that I care for, and I have a lot of freedom that affords me endless possibilities for my future, wherever it may lead. Things are as they should be. What a revelation!
By now it was time to depart. I shook Brian’s hand and gave him a little hug. “It was nice to finally meet you,” I told him. He agreed and said he looked forward to maybe seeing me again one day. “Yeah,” I thought. "That would be cool." I made my rounds saying goodbye to everyone, leaving Joe for last.
“Are you okay?” he asked giving me a hug.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I told him, and it was the truth. “I am really good!” The hump that I needed to get over was done with and I'm happy. It's good to go through life in a civilized manner, with no unnecessary drama, isn't it?
*I want to thank the many friends who have called and sent me encouraging messages both before and after the party. I appreciate all of your caring and I want you all to know that it makes me feel really blessed to know that you all care about me. I got over a big hurdle last night and I want you all too know that I am just fine!