Last night was New Year’s Eve.
My redheaded poetess friend Irene phoned to invite me to a 20-something party in Bushwick.
“You’ll be the oldest man there.” Irene was going solo.
“Almost three times older.” We were just friends.
“I think of you as 16.” She had seen me being silly on more than one occasion.
“I like to think of myself as 15.” I was really immature when it came to watching sports in New York City. I hated Jets fans and Ranger fans were no bargain.
“You’re much older than that, plus most of the ‘boys’ at this party act like ten year-olds.” Irene liked older men. She was 26, but still more than two times younger than me in actual years.
“I know.” Even thirty year-old men were more like teenagers. Nothing had ever happened in their lives. It wasn’t their fault; however, the lack of life experience angered them upon hearing my monologues of ‘back then’. “I’ll think about coming.”
“It’s just another night and you’ve had plenty of those.” Irene was wiser than her years. She was only foolish in love.
Same as me.
I hung up and returned to watching ZATOICHI THE BLIND SWORDSMAN. It was episode 23 of the TV series. The blind masseur gambled with cheats. He scammed them one by one. They paid with their honor. The sun was setting over Brooklyn. Two bottles of wine were in my fridge. I could take one to the party. It didn’t start until 9.
After the end of episode 26 TRAVELING ALONE I decided to go out. I hadn’t left the house on South Oxford for over a day. The night wasn’t as cold and I walked down to Mullane's. Will was behind the bar. The bearded bartender had gone out on a date with Irene. They had had a good time.
“What will you drink?” asked the Islander fan.
“A Six Point Lager.” It was made in Red Hook. “And put on the Bruins-Fishmen hockey game.”
Will left at 7. The face-off was at 7:05. The Bruins had a 1-0 lead by the end of the 1st period. I know no one in the bar. Most everyone was stuffing their faces. The two young men beside me spoke with Valley Girl accents. They drank Chablis. I texted Irene that I was staying home.»
Photo by Tom Giebel
She liked an economy of words.
I went home and cooked a pasta of bacon, mushrooms, and gruyere with a butter-garlic-olive oil sauce.
At 8 I called Thailand.
My daughter was having her 10th birthday. Her mother sounded happy. Angie never speaks with me on the phone.
“Tell her I love her.”
“She knows that.”
Next I phoned Fenway’s mom. Our kids were having a good time with fireworks in Ban Nok. None of them wanted to speak with Pa-Pa. I was on the other side of the world.
“Love you,” I told Mam.
“I love you too.” We haven’t seen each other in a year.
2013 was a tough one.
I hung up and poured myself a glass of wine.
ZATOICHI drank sake. He killed yakuza by the hundreds. 9-8-3 made up the word ‘yakuza’. It added up to a losing hand in hana-fuda. 2013 was 6. Six or Liù meant wealth in Chinese. Its Cantonese annunciation ‘lok’ signifies a drop.
2013 was certainly a drop in wealth in my life.
I had another glass of wine, then Wikipedia solicited a donation.
I use that website everyday. It saves me a trip to the Main Library on 5th Avenue. I wasn’t hitting the bars tonight. Frank’s Lounge was asking $20. I gave Wikipedia a little more.
At midnight I heard the fireworks from the river.
I ate a chocolate and finished my wine.
It was the end of my second glass.
ZATOICHI killed some more yakuza. They were bad men.
I felt good about giving money.
2014 added up to 7.
7 was good luck in every language.
ZATOICHI knows that math.
ps Good night Irene.
I've always wanted to say that.