Friday Fictioneers: May This Boat Hold Our Dreams…

friday-fictioneersOnce again, I forgot to link up! Someday, I’ll get this right.

A belated tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr and his Dream– one day, may it truly be real, for all of us. Until then, black mothers and fathers will bury their children, and no doubt question the “progress” that so many others see. Until we are all free, none of us are. To the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr– who stood by his dream until the end.

Friday Fictioneers is a highly addictive, weekly flash fiction challenge. Photo prompt, 100 words or less, and take the time to read the other stories. I apologize that I was unable to read as many as usual last week; I was out of town and away from my computer. Check our Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog, Addicted to Purple, to join in or read more. Thanks to Georgia Koch for this week’s photo.

As always, I welcome honest and constructive feedback; please leave a comment.

© Georgia Koch

© Georgia Koch

 May This Boat Hold Our Dreams (99 words)

We will bury this child, and say his name as a memory. We will hold his life in our hearts, but not forget his death.

We will continue to dream.

We will teach our sons to walk proud, but to always be vigilant– until the day comes when we can all rest, peacefully.

We will stand at the water’s edge and cast our sorrows out, in a rotten boat that still floats steady, on stormy seas, and carries our dreams and hopes.

And as the waves kiss the shore, we pray they bring the freedom we still dream of.

© Johnny Nguyen

© Johnny Nguyen

*     *     *

GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

 

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Friday Fictioneers: Oh Sweet Anticipation…

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly Flash Fiction challenge, with photo prompt. Visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted To Purple, to read the stories in the collection, or to join in the fun.

This story is dedicated to L and A, who I love– and who are poised on a fabulous leaping off point. As always I welcome honest feedback; please leave a comment.

© Jan Wayne Fields

© Jan Wayne Fields

Oh Sweet Anticipation (100 words)

We stand at the window, looking out at the great unknown. Days pass into weeks, and weeks in to months, as we find new meaning and realize new dreams– our world expanded beyond this moment, by you– our mystery love.

I look into your eyes and see the years ahead– a magical adventure, begun from this leaping off point, but open to endless possibilities.

You kiss me, caress my belly, and I know that we will be a family, that whatever is outside this window will bloom and expand, and our lives will be filled with adventures and moments sweet beyond words.

*     *     *

GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Sure, Sleep Tight In Your Facebook Bed… But Do You “Like” It?

I cannot deny, I live in a Facebook world. I log on every day; I like things; I comment and interact with friends and family, near and far. Admittedly, I lose hours to Facebook every week. I wont justify or explain; it is what it has become. I see many wonderful advantages to Facebook and have felt grateful for the opportunity to connect, on some level, with many people who I might not see for long periods of time, and who– if left to letter writing and phone calls, I might lose touch with altogether–Friends and family alike. It’s a reality of busy lives, geography, and changing social norms, and there are benefits to these changes.

This girl was a little lost and clueless... in 1981

This girl was a little lost and clueless… in 1981

Take my high school graduation class: These are people I grew up with, but admittedly, many of them I hardly knew then and wouldn’t know now…if not for Facebook. Back when we were in school together, we were kids– living in that adolescent haze that we only recognized as blurred, much later in life. Prior to Facebook, I attended two high school reunions, and honestly– I left feeling disconnected and disappointed. I moved away from my hometown a long time ago. My childhood and youth were fraught with struggles that made me feel separate and isolated from the frivolity and social themes I saw around me in high school. I was busy trying to look normal, each day when I left my troubled home. While I knew that my mother was doing her best, I also knew her best wasn’t something I wanted to share with others. So, I covered well and tried to fit into a world I believed was better than mine. At reunions, honestly, I came back and felt just as outside the box, as I had at 12, 15, 17 and 18. That was even more disconcerting, as I aged and knew that I didn’t need to put myself in those situations anymore. Why go?

While the woman she became danced and enjoyed the connections!

While the woman she became danced and enjoyed the connections!

Then, just before our 30th reunion, someone started a Facebook reunion page– and an entire world of good people opened up to me. I was hesitant about another reunion, unwilling to travel so far to possibly leave feeling empty again. Instead, as former classmates greeted each other on our private FB wall– as they shared their family pictures, their status updates, their joys and challenges– the walls came down, on the wall. I saw that much of what I’d thought I’d known about people, in our youth, was just as fictional as my own story. Other kids felt outside too. Classmates were bullied, were gay, were insecure, were happy and unhappy; some were losing parents to divorce and early deaths, or struggling to fit in and look normal… just like I was. We each had our own stories, and few of us really knew how many other stories were happening around us. We knew surface. However, at nearly 50, on our new Facebook wall, the need to appear any certain way melted, and I saw good people who I might connect with in new ways. Because of the connections we made on Facebook beforehand, our 30th reunion was a fantastic weekend of really connecting with each other. These people know from whence I come, and because of FB, went into the weekend with a clearer idea of who I am now.

Yet, for each reason I can give for being grateful to Facebook, I also struggle– mightily, with the downside. As someone “who came of age” at a time when we memorized phone numbers and called people, wrote letters, visited– it comes down to this: I just don’t get how real, meaningful connection can take a back seat to Facebook’s easy “Likes” and false sense of meaning and connectivity. I don’t get it. And herein is my struggle: I believe in connection. It is central to who I am and how I live my life. Admittedly, my connection may not appeal to everyone, and I am certainly old enough to understand that one can only sustain so many real ties. We’re not all meant to be friends; ok, I accept that.

However, take real life… the life that unfolds on a deeper level, and I believe, is not enhanced by Facebook. I have far more friends on Facebook than I have in real life, but what do I mean to most of them? People meet you at a conference, or a party, or the grocery store, and they friend you on FB. It’s hard to decline. As a blogger, I get requests from folks who have only read my writing. What are they seeking? What should I offer? That’s why I have a FB page for my blog– that’s where those friendships should live. Others have gotten to know me through my writing and have reached out to know me better. I appreciate their interest, but I am not my blog; I am not everything I write. Yet, in some cases, Facebook allows us to share those same family photos, goals and adventures, and get to know each other.

But should family and friends– real connections, rely on Facebook to maintain connectivity? No. If we cannot share a real phone call, a lunch or coffee or meeting face to face, where we share some reality, why do you need to like my new haircut, or birthday celebration, etc… on Facebook? If you can’t call me to say you want my advice, or like my taste in restaurants, doctors, movies– if you don’t really want to spend time with me in person (and let’s be honest, some of you don’t), how is it ok to write to me on Facebook and ask me to do you a favor? If you chat with me on-line, and play games, “chat,” socialize– but wouldn’t include me in a flesh and bones get together, that you know I’d like, why make the effort on-line? If I call you and try to share real-time, and you can’t reciprocate, why be my Facebook friend at all? How do you benefit from seeing what I did today, on Facebook; how do reality and cyber blur?

Who is this person, versus the one writing this post? I am sure that I don't actually have 477 friends!

Who is this person, versus the one writing this post? I am sure that I don’t actually have 477 friends!

The ability to watch each other’s lives unfold on Facebook can be fun and sometimes the most realistic way for friends and family, who live far away and live busy lives, to keep up and share things sometimes. But it can also be a very superficial way to think you are connecting, when in fact it’s as empty and meaningless as reading the news and thinking you get what people in the stories are feeling. I am so much more than the happy birthday greetings, the photos of fun times, the news of events that I post on Facebook. My feelings are hurt when I try to connect with people– reach out to say: hey, let’s have lunch; let’s go birding; I’d love to join you– and you don’t respond… but hit like on a FB posting. My feelings are hurt when I call you, and you don’t call back or acknowledge the vulnerability that goes into trying to reach out for real, but you like my photos and leave your mysterious imprint on my Facebook wall. Some days, those imprints– those cyber footprints, those mysterious breadcrumbs are haunting… why were you there? What do I mean to you? Or, is it only my Facebook image that you like?

Facebook has become a double edges sword that is a major presence in our day-to-day world. The powers that be at FB have determined that we need to know when someone has “seen” something we posted; that we can be liked for things as widely different as our daily run or the birth of a child. If you’re on FB, you are constantly reminded that people you know, are there, looking at something you wrote, or posted– but not necessarily connecting with you. People can avoid you in real life, but still let you know that they wish you a happy birthday, or like your outfit, or just looked at something you posted (“Seen by 10 people,” but who, and why?), and then retreat to the background again.

Where does that leave us in 2015, in regards to relationships? Are we destined to become more and more dependent on sound bites, hit and run Likes, and comments to show our feelings? If you haven’t been kind to me in person, but are nice on-line, should I give you the benefit of the doubt– and visa versa? I’m not suggesting that it’s all one-sided; I am just as guilty of drive by affection as the next person. But these things creep into my thoughts regularly, and trouble me. I struggle to know who do I invite to a party, based on real life versus Facebook ties, and what does a given person feel about me in real-time versus the way they Like me on Facebook? These things keep me up at night, trying to come to terms with reality versus the Facebook bed our culture has made– and in which I find it hard to sleep.

Share your thoughts in the comments, and if you haven’t already, stop by my Facebook page… and hit Like. Yes, I’m ironic that way.

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Friday Fictioneers: I’ll Take Your Word

Love this photo prompt from Jean L. Hays; it offers so many options and possible directions to go. I am opting to be intentionally vague; this could be any number of situations. Thanks to the intrepid Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who wrangles this weekly group of Flashers. Check out the photo and write a 100-word (or less); then spend some time reading the stories that the Fictioneers write. This is one of my favorite things I do each week! Join the fun or find the other stories on Rochelle’s blog, Addicted to Purple.

As always, constructive, honest feedback is welcome. Leave a comment; I’d love to hear what you think. Happy New Year Y’all!

© Jean L. Hays

© Jean L. Hays

 I’ll Take Your Word   (99 words)

“Where do we begin?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what to say.”

“I don’t either, but if we can just try to get back on track, I can live with that.”

“It’s complicated. Where do we start?”

“Isn’t this a start? Aren’t we starting right now?”

“This? We haven’t done anything yet.”

“Well, I don’t know what it should look like, but this seems as good a place to start as anywhere.”

“I want to believe that, but what does ‘on track’ even mean?”

“We’re talking; we’re listening; we’re sitting with our feet in the fire. That’s where we begin.”

*     *     *

GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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What Comes After? A “Stop, Drop and Roll” Approach to a New Year…

Now, my mother dances through my memories.

Now, my mother dances through my memories.

This is a reblog of a post I wrote, three years ago– four days after my mother died. On this, the day after the third anniversary of her death, I’m sharing it again. Each year, when I read it, I feel new things… notice new elements of that post and what I was feeling, in the early days after that enormous loss. Each year, I still miss her. 

This year, on the anniversary of her death, I was in Times Square (click link to read Huff Post piece), preparing to fly home from a 4 day trip to NYC. I’ll be honest (and it’s shocking to me): I didn’t think of my mother at all yesterday. I didn’t remember the anniversary. I didn’t feel that pitt in my stomach, I’ve felt the two years before. I’m in a happy, exciting place this New Year’s Day, with big things that I’ll share later, and some that you all know about. My writing is progressing in an exciting direction, and I’m in a good place in my life. My writing has sustained me. When I wrote this post, I had only a very few readers, and the posts just before this one, and after were so raw and vulnerable… but it was like writing in a vacuum. I wasn’t sure who would read the words, but I knew the words were my path to healing. I am so grateful to all the words that I’ve dug down for, and that have helped me heal and move forward… and I am grateful to all of you who have shared and read them. I am grateful to Word Press first and above all, for sharing my words through Freshly Pressed; I am grateful to Huffington Post for first sharing one post and then making me a featured blogger… my words are what sustain me. It is where I go to heal, to celebrate, to live my life fully. I express it all, and I’m grateful for these 3 years of growth and change. 

It is powerful to look back, and think about 3 short years ago. My mother is still with me, and always will be. I would trade all of the words, to take away her suffering and strike Huntington’s Disease from our family, but short of that, I wouldn’t change a single step.

Three years ago:

dsc_00241There is only one thing for me to write about right now, but I’m not really sure what I think about that. I’m not sure what I feel, yet.  Mainly, because I don’t actually know, what comes after. After years of watching my mother change and then deteriorate. After months of seeing things accelerate faster than we could adjust to or comprehend. After weeks of daily falls, many of which led to hospital visits, bruises, breaks and finally the broken elbow that led to the end.  After nearly three months of Hospice Care in which we knew what was coming, but could never seem to grasp when or how. After, after, after… so many things that I tried to prepare for, but inherently knew I couldn’t be ready for.  Stop, drop and roll. Prepare for a disaster and you hopefully will know what to do, when it comes. Not this time.

My mother died almost four days ago and it is still sinking in. The day she died was by far the most surreal day of my life. If you’ve been following, then you know (from What Doesn’t Kill You… and Peace) that I was sitting with my Mom, holding her hand and trying to ease the very profound fear she seemed to experience, in the thirty minutes leading up to her death. I know that I did, calm her, help her. But in the end, when the room went silent and I felt her finally leave me, I just went a little numb. Ok, maybe a lot numb. And, I’ve stayed like that for four days now… The sounds from that night, those last minutes, play back in my head at odd times. As I lay in my own silent bed at night, I hear that rattled, difficult breaths she took.  As I close my eyes to sleep, I picture how smooth and calm her face was a few hours before she died, and how young she looked again. I see the smile, the very slightest smile, that she made when I told her that I knew she loved me and that I was grateful for her love, and then (right then) watched her take her last breath. But mostly, I just feel outside myself and numb, as all these things, mix with the daily hum, and wash over me… hour by hour.

Friends and family have called. I have spoken to some and not to others. Not playing favorites, but unable to speak, depending on the moment. The gratitude I feel for all the kindness and love that dear friends have shown in these past weeks is overwhelming, an shakes me almost as much as the loss itself. The friends who came to my mother’s room, just to see her and say goodbye. Humbling. The friends who wrapped me in blankets of warm meals, hugs and sweet words.  They were my family, my shelter and I am so very thankful. But now, it is hard to face anyone with ease. It’s hard to think beyond where I am right now. Writing, feeds me and helps me process, but speaking strangles me.

I’ve ventured outside for only two things and both times I felt so exposed. Having come out of the strange cocoon that I was in for four days, I don’t feel like a butterfly. I feel raw and exposed. Part of me wants to say to each person who says: “So, did you have a nice holiday?” or “How are you?”… My mother died, she’s gone!  The part of me that wins stays quiet, smiles and says, “Ok, thanks.”  I know the grief is bubbling to the surface and I know this is normal. This is what happens and it will pass… I believe that, even if I don’t know what comes after that. For now, I am sitting Shiva… alone.  I don’t know how else to do it right now, but I’m listening to myself and doing what I think I need. Solitude. Surrounded by beautiful flowers people have sent, my Christmas tree that still sparkles (despite its dry, sinking branches), and the security of my house for the few hours it is silent. (Thank goodness school started today; thank goodness my husband returns to work; thank goodness for silence.)

The day I left Hospice, I went home, and I wrote the post Peace in my car, in the dark. I didn’t proofread it, or check it; I just hit send and then felt ready to go inside. It was the first “letting go.” I knew that once I left my dark car, and went inside my house, it would all be different.  It was. From the minute I came in, it all just amped up. I had to shower and go directly to a Bat Mitzvah, for a 13 yr old girl who I adore. She is such a sparkle in my life that I would not have missed her big day for almost anything.  My mother had asked us (my sister and I), repeatedly, not to leave her; and the night before she died, I told her:  “at 8:00 A.M. I need to leave you, Mom. to go to M’s Bat Mitzvah. I don’t want to leave you, but I’m at peace with this decision. IF you don’t want me to leave you, you will need to leave me first… before I go at 8.”  Those were my very words. My mom really liked the family whose Bat Mitzvah it was, and I will always believe, that despite her fears, she let go and left me, just in time for me to go and be with them. Call it dreamy, call it whatever; I believe it was a gift.

The Bat Mitzvah was amazing, beautiful, and yet so strange to be in a huge room full of people, when my mind kept going back to the fact that my mother had just died. “It’s been four hours… five… six,” my brain kept registering. Such a shock to hear the Rabbi say her name out loud for Yahrzeit , as having died that morning. The party, after,was a blur: of wonderful people; fun music; silly, delightful 13 yr old girls imitating Justin Bieber and dancing; meaningful conversations with people I care about… bold color, sound and movement. Ten hours, eleven, twelve.

After that I went home for about three hours and knew that if I stopped, I’d pass out. I had slept less than 6 hrs in four full days. I hadn’t even tried that in college, let alone at this age!  My husband had had surgery while I was gone (on him, not him working) and was not really able to provide any support, nor I for him. “In sickness and in health,” bah. I had been surviving mostly on Ritz crackers and Kool Coffee creams (decaf). I hadn’t left the building, except to get something from the car, once.  So, it would have made huge sense, to just get into bed and pass out.

Instead, I had decided to go to a Bikers and Babes New Year’s Eve party that other friends had been pushing for me to attend. I know: what the hell was I thinking?  Well, I was thinking this:  In a 24 hour period, I had “finished” and submitted my novel to a publishing company (the biggest goal I’ve had in many, many years– BRAVO!); I’d sat with my mother as she died; I’d attended and done a reading at a Bat Mitzvah (a very meaningful and important life event for a young girl I love); and now I wanted to just kick the shit out of 2011 and really send it packing. I dressed up like a biker chick, flannel shirt and bra showing (why the hell not, I figured by then) and went out to laugh, dance, wear glow sticks and see 2012 come in. While I did not drink (it might have killed me) and I was slurring my speech from exhaustion; it was so amazing to be with friends and so many crazy ass people, the same day I’d washed my mother’s body and said goodbye to her. How prophetic, I believe, that my Mom did not linger one day more. She died before 2012 could come, and in doing so, she allowed me to walk away from all that this very hard year has symbolized, and be open for a new one. She didn’t drag all of that pain into the New Year, nor did she herself enter one more year with all of that suffering. It was a beautiful thing. I am so grateful to her.

2011 was a wicked bitch of a year. Can’t sugar coat this one folks. It wasn’t all about my Mom, not by a long shot. There were lots of other demons I dealt with and sent packing. It was a lot of struggle with some sublime, life changing experiences as well. Writing my novel and seeing it to completion, brings me so much satisfaction and pride, whatever come of it. Truly. Being in Yellowstone, for two weeks alone, still sustains me and brings tears of sheer joy to my eyes, at moments that just jump up and slap me.  I will always remember those days of finding myself again and knowing that I would, in fact, make it. I am grateful for finding a wise, old friend in Siyo Yona, a wonderful man, who found me on a mountain top, and has stayed beside me since. I will never hear Eddie Vedder sing Society or No Ceiling and not be transported to a place of solitude, clarity and peace.  In my mother’s last few weeks, she too came to love those songs and we listened to them together many times. Music, my life long friend, who never fails me.

I’m going into this New Year with a perspective I’ve never had: total wonder. The world is wide open right now. I am letting go of so many years of holding on. I’m ready to be honest in all things important, wherever that takes me. I’m excited to write, write, and write some more… regardless of whether it gets me anywhere other than where it’s taken me so far. I’m ready to let old pain go and move on to whatever comes next. I feel entitled and free to really reach for what I want, what I need… not just what I think I should do.  There are so many amazing things that have presented themselves that I’m excited to finally explore. I’m so grateful to be free of my mother’s suffering and the suffering I felt in watching her, even as I dread really accepting that she is gone.

I go into a New Year with no regrets in how this all came to an end. The day after my mother died, I told my children this:     “There is one really important lesson I hope you all learn from me. There are ways in which your father and I differ, and this is one of them. I am not always practical, he is. I did not eat well this week; I didn’t sleep for days; I got virtually no exercise for the past many weeks… but I didn’t do this mindlessly. I didn’t do it without thought. Central to who I am is my belief that there are precious moments in life that we can’t miss. You skip meals, you stay awake, you are present and real. The simple ones are the ones when a good friend, who you rarely see (this will come later in life) is in town for one night, and you stay up until 2, knowing that work will be really tough the next day. You do it to reconnect and share a moment with someone who has meaning in your life. That one is easy. Then there are the hard ones: when you sit with someone you love, when they are dying (or truly suffering) and you let go of your own discomfort.  You might miss some meals, or not get enough sleep, but you are there with them in their most vulnerable moment, and you try to show some grace, some compassion and love.  Perhaps you will do it for me, or someone else who you don’t know yet, but who you will love deeply. You are present and real. There is always time to eat, sleep and get exercise… later.”

I hope my children remember, as they go through life, that this is central to who their mother is and what she believes. Who I am, and who I want to be remembered as. 

For now, I’m stuck in this specific moment, and there are no real short cuts, I think.  Stop, Drop and Roll…  No matter how much or how little warning you have,  no matter how many times we think about the things in life that we need to face, and silently practice who you will face them, they can still just blow you away. All those years of fearing my mother’s death, that I would be an orphan: well here it is. It came in the dark stillness of a hospice room. It came to the sound of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. It came despite the fact that it terrified me, even as I prayed for it. My mother left me, and now I will begin to live without her, and without all she has meant, for so very long. In the end, it didn’t matter if I visualized it hundreds of times; or if I imagined what I would feel, or do, or think. Stop, drop and roll only takes you so far;  for now, I still feel the burn.

Happy New Year folks, and thanks for sharing the journey… so far.

*     *     *

GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

 

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New Year’s Eve… Not in Times Square, But I Coulda Been a Contender!

IMG_8095

As I write this, I am sitting in Times Square, New York. I’m not sitting in the long line– that started early this morning, of people waiting to see the ball drop at midnight. I’m not waiting to see the star-studded show that will happen, just a hop, skip and a jump from the hotel lobby where I’m writing. I’m waiting to get out of the city.

My husband and I decided it would be fun to bring our 18-year-old son to NYC to see some of the renowned holiday windows; visit the famous museums; the lights, and the Broadway shows. We knew it might be very cold, but we’re people who prepare. We knew the city would be busy; it’s holiday break for all public school kids. We found out that by leaving on New Year’s Eve day we could save a lot of money; so we booked our flight home to the west coast for late in the day– knowing we’d forego celebrating the end of 2014 anywhere interesting. With all likelihood, we’ll be on the highway driving home when the clock chimes midnight.

We visited The Met; we spent much of a day at the Museum of Natural History; walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, and visited 1 World Trade Center and the memorial. We saw two shows (The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime and Hedwig and the Angry Inch); we ate specialty foods in the places that made them “famous”– donuts at The Donut Plant, cronuts at the Dominique Ansel Bakery, pizza at Johns. We walked in Central Park and listened to a buskar play John Lennon’s “Imangine,” at Strawberry Field, the memorial just outside The Dakota, where John was shot, 34 years ago this month. We stayed in Times Square, right at the hub of where it’s all happening tonight. The stage is literally right outside our hotel door.

And that is why we’re leaving today. The cost of staying one more night brought the entire trip (airfare and hotel, in particular) up, up, up! Add to that what most people who head to Times Square for New Year’s Eve don’t know: there will an estimated 1 million people in the square tonight; it’s bitter cold and will get colder as the wind chill drops; you can not leave once you get in (or, if you do, you can’t get back in), and here’s the clincher: there are no toilets anywhere in the square! If you come to drink and be merry, you better have an ironclad bladder. My 18-year old might in fact be able to do this, but as a 50’something mom of 3, that seems well out of my comfort zone.

Our hotel is issuing letters that enable you to come in and out of Times Square, to get in and out of the hotel, but they gave it to us with a stern warning: Just because you have this letter doesn’t mean you’ll actually be able to get here. In fact, the staff laugh at the idea of trying to go anywhere. We were told to leave for the airport– and we have to walk 4-6 blocks with our luggage, because the NYPD closed off local traffic hours ago– by 1:30pm for 5:30pm flight. That’s if we can find a taxi. Again, 4-6 blocks with our luggage… in bitter cold!

So we took the smart route, and came five days ago and saw what we wanted to see. Let’s face it, you can’t see everything in NYC with five days. Our first day we walked 15+ miles, and we averaged 8 miles of walking each day after. It’s fun to ride the subway, but then you miss the sites. This is an infinitely walkable city, and I hate to miss a thing. I’ll have time to rest when I’m dead; while I’m here in this amazing city, I want to see as much as I can.

Admittedly, whether it makes more sense to leave or not, I have some regret about leaving today– when CNN is right outside, the crowds are filling in, the excitement is palpable. I’ve been watching the ball drop in Times Square, on television, all of my life. We stayed up as children to watch Dick Clark and the festivities. It’s been on my bucket list since I was in college. However, faced with the reality of the challenge, we opted to flee.

The live cam from the hotel, shows we were there!

The live cam from the hotel, shows we were there!

Tonight, I will miss the show on TV, as we drive home. I’ll look at the digital clock in my car and know that we were here, right here, where it’s all happening… and we left. I may regret it for a long time, but looking at the crowds just in this lobby, watching the live-cam of the crowds outside, it seems a smart move to slip away and welcome 2015 in the quiet of our evergreen world at home.

Where are you spending New Year’s Eve? Have you ever been to Times Square for New Year’s Eve? Happy New Years!

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Friday Fictioneers: Scotch, On the Rocks

And… Another day late! Thanks to Alicia for letting me know that I hadn’t added it to the list.

The holidays and a trip to NYC have thrown me off! I’ve had very little wi-fi, or chance to read anything this week. Sorry folks– I’ll try and catch up, as soon as I can get on-line for more than a few minutes! Check out Friday Fictioneers, a weekly 100-word flash fiction challenge, with a photo prompt– this week provided by Björn . Rochelle Wisoff-Fields runs this wild and wooly circus. Check out the other stories, or find details on her blog, Addicted to Purple. A very happy New Year to my fellow Friday Fictioneers! I truly look forward to each and every week with you all.

© Bjorn Rudberg

© Bjorn iRudberg

Scotch, On the Rocks (100 Words, exactly)

“I hardly recognize you anymore, Jack; all you think about is money and what else you can buy.” Shelly folded her arms and turned away from her fiancé. “You’ve lost all your charm.”

“You didn’t mind my ambition when it paid for this penthouse, overlooking Central Park, or when you go shopping… and something tells me that rock on your hand, wasn’t got with my winning personality.” Jack stirred the ice in his drink with one elegant finger, and licked the scotch from it.

Shelly removed the ring from her finger and dropped it in his glass. “Stir this, darling.”

*     *    *

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