New Years

We walked a long way—miles from Pelham to Broadway. The streets went from slushy to icy at the end. The trudge took from about two AM to seven; the sun was beginning to rise on a bitter New Years’ in 1964.
We loudly discussed everything from girlfriends, schools, jobs, and lack of prospects. We started very drunk but finished desperately sober, looking for a place to urinate. Our status was the delicate sort that creeps up on you when you’ve drunk a lot and exercised off the worst of it. You realize that you are almost sober but are still undeniably inebriated, wishing you were still genuinely drunk.
We assured each other that this was the year that it all would change. We had no plan for this change; like the 18-year-olds we were, we assumed that this would happen magically. Radically. At the train station, we went separate ways.
Hope. Without it, very little can change, but without actual effort, what’s next can be a random mix of despair and joy, heavy on the disappointment.
That year was like the walk, drunken, through adversity, but hopeful. It took a while for effort to kick in and justify the hope.

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