When I first saw you in Times Square, at the heart of New York City and one of the great hubs of America, I knew you were going to be something special. We were standing there with thousands of other people, and millions watching on TV, ready to welcome you with open arms even though we didn’t know what to expect.
I had my reservations and I didn’t want to like you too much, because I was a little cranky when you arrived, and you know how I’m kinda superstitious about these things (not a lot, though – just call me a little stitious). My legs grumbled at me for standing in one place for 10 hours to get to you. It was also like 2 degrees outside and it didn’t even snow. I hadn’t eaten since 2014. And were there any functional bathrooms between you and Harlem?
But I have to say, you looked good when you showed up. My sister and I will always have that memory of throwing ourselves on our hotel beds right after we met you, eating overpriced, underperforming turkey sandwiches from the little bar in the Aloft lobby. We secretly wanted pizza–even McDonald’s would’ve done the job–but you insisted that we be flexible, and hey, the sandwiches weren’t so bad after all.
How weird is it to look back on what we were 365 days ago? I was an Italian graduate student, teaching freshmen how to conjugate verbs. You were just a day old. How strange that we’d evolve so profoundly from that day forward. I finished a Masters degree, moved across the country, changed jobs, turned 25, wrote a short story, and watched it grow into a novel. Was that your intention all along, to make so many of my dreams come true?
I met a lot of great people during our time together. I said goodbye to many others. Tomorrow I’ll have to say goodbye to you, too, but I want you to know that I’ll never forget these days. You’ve been magical since those first frigid minutes in Times Square… the laugh-filled hours in Charlottesville… the days of gut-wrenching food poisoning (from what I can only assume was a chicken possessed by demons) during comps season… the nerdful tears I had to hold back the whole week we were at Comic Con… the all-nighters we spent on The Carver for months at a time, analyzing characters and words with almost surgical intensity… you weren’t always pretty, but you were magical, and you were meaningful.
I don’t know everything the next year will bring, but thanks to you, the time we shared, and the wonderful years that came before you, I know that I’ll be ready. Enjoy your last day, 2015. You’ve earned your rest.