“Happy New Year, Babe.” And a sweet questing kiss. Every year for 25 years and more. It meant a lot to him and, so, to me. More than the rest of the festive season.
We did New Year in every kind of way. A fancy party at a pub in Victoria. A cold night in a van, emergency parked due to snow, in an empty school yard in Washington State. Alone in our cabin near Hazelton with the wood fire and the kerosene lamp. Many many years at neighbourhood parties on Cortes island.
But always as midnight rolled around, he was there, grabbing my hand, with a questing kiss, our private troth for the coming time: “Happy New Year, Babe.”
About 4 or maybe 5 years ago, I guess, – he was already ill but still well enough to go out – we were at a small party at Zocallos in Courtenay and he was more interested in the band than New Years.
I grabbed him anyway and kissed him happy new year. He looked bored at the interruption, completely unimpressed by the champagne, and went back to cheering on the band. New Year was an empty concept to him. Well, it is pretty arbitrary.
And now it is New Year again. He is locked up in a safe ward for dementia not having any idea about time, and i am sitting here, alone and weeping or to be honest, howling.
But I say it for him this year and all the years to come, our troth:
“Happy New Year, Babe.”