How the past new years eves were spent I have no idea. There were no celebrations in our home, no watching our parents dress up for some party and no loud horns blowing at midnight. In our neighborhood, new years was celebrated in the fall and the only horn that blew was the shofar at sunset announcing the new year had begun and the fast of the Day of Atonement could be broken.
Then came high school in another neighborhood with kids from other neighborhoods. It was very exciting. Especially when one classmate announced that her brother who went to another school in still another neighborhood which had even more kids from even more neighborhoods was going to invite his friends and she could invite her friends and it would be a real co-ed new years eve party.
Then it got even better. The brother and sister lived right by Central Park and there was going to be a rock band playing so we would even go dancing. Boys, dancing, new years eve. This all added up to one thing. Kissing.
Other than my insistence that Florence kiss me or my kissing my father good-bye in the morning, kissing-kissing was non-existent in my corner of the Lower East Side. However, Didi, a classmate who was also invited to the party had kissed. She dragged me into the girls bathroom of the 6th Avenue Horn and Hardart.
"Ok! If he [imaginary love of my life boy] goes like this..." and she tilted her head inches away from mine..."then you go like this..." and I tilted my head the other way.
"Now, if he goes like this..." and she moved straight into my face..."Then you tilt like this..."
We practiced. Tilting one way and then the other always stopping inches away from one another. I was 13 years old. I was ready.
The parents were welcoming but the only thing that mattered were the boys. It began to rain as we headed to Central Park. I don't remember anything about the music except that it called all of us to dance and dance and dance in tons of puddles and the cute boy with the sweet smile was great to dance with.
What happened after that belongs to the fog that embraced me for years before and years after, surrounding any event that was overwhelming and too upsetting to me. But some vague details remain. There were some negotiations with the other boys and girls to allow cute boy and me kiss in the bedroom the boys were suppose to sleep in. And that first kiss and the couple we got in after were dazzling and breathtaking and I felt things I had never felt before and was really really enjoying myself when a tall lean and very angry parental figure appeared.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.