There’s excitement in the air going anywhere in Manhattan around the holidays, especially when you’re going to a hotel party hosted by a Rockefeller. Dressed in high heels and Forever 21 tops, me and my lady loves excitedly made our way over to the lavish occasion that was being held for a whole bunch of scruffy college kids.
We were having ourselves a grand old time on the floor we’d been given full reign over. But just before we got to midnight, I felt the urge to make a call.
“Hello? It’s me. I just…miss you.” I could hear pity and disappointment on the other end of the line. I knew I shouldn’t have called him. He was with his new girlfriend, too — that was pretty clear by the hesitance in his voice. Then again, we hadn’t spoken since we’d ended things five months earlier — what right did I have to call? “Well, happy New Year‘s.”
I wiped away my tears and stumbled past the pool and into the green room, where the hotel had set up a bar for us, which the overwhelming crowd of fellow Skidmoreans had taken over and were now serving free drinks from. A dear pal greeted me, and ordered us two green concoctions. We clinked glasses before promptly slugging them down. It was good to be friends of friends of friends with a Rockfeller.
My strongest memory of the night, thanks to my shaky video documentation, is of the entire subway car singing Auld Lang Syne, arm-in-arm, with goofy grins and 2006 glasses.
We woke up late the next morning, and the six of us lazed around in our air mattress slumber party room. We shared stories and looked at photos and slowly fit the pieces back together.
As much as I’ve forgotten of that night, I remember the warmth and comfort I felt in the company of true friends. It helped me fill the gaping hole in my heart for the love I’d given up. I’d spend the next year trying to live on and move forward, but would ultimately find that a massive, irreconcilable piece of me was still missing.
But my dad has always said I have the life of Reilly so as fate would have it, everything would come together in the end. And 2006 — my first Year without Jim — would also be my last.
It’s been seven years since that day. There’s not a chance in Hell our New Year’s will be at the Rockefellers‘, or that we’ll even get out of our pajamas, but at least we’ll be together. And if my heart is bursting with love for the guy I’ve always wanted to be with, I won’t have to call and hope he’ll pick up. I just have to reach out to hug him.