love letter

New Year's Eve is a night in which, by all repute, you're supposed to post something thoughtful and pithy and resolute. Or just drunken, depending on your inclination. Instead, it's just me and Joey Negro, riding the end of my alcohol intake for the night off into the land of sleepy buzz.

2005 was quiet. For the most part, I've come into my own. Life is good, if quiet. House. Cats. Friends.

It is easier to look around me now and forget what it took to get here. Forget how achingly lonely Huntsville was for the first year we lived here. Over the years, the nest has grown feathered with friends, even as my accent has changed from an Arkansas twang to Alabama/Georgia drawl.

I resolve to make no resolutions that I cannot keep.

I resolve to remember what it took to get here, to remember the girl who sat on a succession of college dormitory beds in sterile rooms, promising herself that it wouldn't always be this way. I resolve to remember how strange it felt, driving into Huntsville on I-565 for the first time, thinking to myself, "Someday, this place will feel like home, no matter how strange it feels now."

I resolve to remember you, and you, and you. You know who you are.

I resolve to remember, no matter the color of the days that come, that I was happy here.

Today, I did a little more prep work for PHE (our party in two weeks' time). I printed up tags for every known attendee for PHE, with names and party logo, and attached each person's little wine charm—individual for each person. When I was done, I hung them in a row from the mantel. I marveled at them, silver things, fluttering in the slight breeze; marveled at their number and the quiet joy I took in reading each name.

The first new year I rang in, here in Huntsville, was 1999. I knew none of you that year, but desperately hoped that people like you existed, and that I would, somehow, find you.

I raised my glass in a champagne toast to 2006 and whether or not you knew it, it was partly to you.

Happy new year.