I have had years end in pleasure, years end in pain, years end in soft-focus sorrow and sharp-edged rancor. I’ve had years end in bitterness, years end in a kind of victory, years end flat and years end unmarked.

But a year ending in doubt? This is a new one.

I started dating someone one year on New Year’s Eve: it was a surprise to both of us. I spent two years ago New Year’s Eve in the hospital: it was a surprise to three of my ribs, one of my lungs and several liters of my blood and humours spilling out of a chest tube.

At least Allen had the good sense, will and manner to die in the summer, far enough away from the previous holiday season and far enough away from the coming one to avoid connection with either. That was the year of soft-focus sorrow, a year of desperate up’s and too-frequent downs. Down, down, down into an unknowable hereafter. Which left me here, after.

Not after: After.

No one ever said that a calendar flipping over and separating time into last and next couldn’t be a macabre thing.

I’m timid, walking up to the rim of a terrible funnel, peeking almost over and into it, but not quite. Fear of falling, thus and such. On the surface it’s the counterpoint of fear of flying, but at the end of the day, end of the tether, end of the perilous fall, aren’t they the same thing just lit from a different angle?

The overlap judders the mind, working loose the studs and brads that keep it all together, keep it focused, keep it sane and rational. The overlap joggles judgment, a distraction that may remove choice and throw you down anyway. Dumb luck is abundant, especially the dumb part. Thank god [of biscuits].

Adventitious elements figure more into things than one might think. Good news, right? A cushion upon which to land, a broken fall instead of a broken foot? But that just leads to more doubt: what was my doing and what was death by a thousand tiny deus ex machina devices?<?p>

It’s not an all or nothing thing. It never is. The givens are taken away but are there for the taking. The floor drops, but gravity’s on holiday. Money lends no purchase. Love is for the true of heart and mind and all directions means no direction, no truth.

So are you flying or do you lack sure footing? Two sides of the same coin, but a coin you can’t flip because nothing lands in this no-man’s-land.


I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know anything.

But I’m not even sure about that.