On New Year’s Eve

Bookends, I like bookends, hard shapes to frame the stories that we made.

I like bookends, these long hard shapes to say: here, you wrote a sentence, a lyric, a love song and a year. I like forgetting where I am to live forever in how I got here. Usually, it involves a yawn and a ketchup stain, salted cheeks and a cat purring the refrain — life goes on, so life it goes on.

Two-thousand-thirteen began in a wasteland for me.

Bookend on the last side, what now lies behind, is the devastation of last winter. Jobless, hopeless, mouth filled up with bitter bile and the thought that things very well might never get better — feeling aging, old, feeling hollow and cold, a scarecrow perched on a sagging couch to warn the young away.

Then there was this day -

The second day of March, and everything changed -

This is what happened on that day, two separate items so long awaited and only coincidence birthing them the same: I went back to work, and I first held my love. He found me in a pile of wreckage, he found me in a junkyard, he dusted me off and picked me up and saw we were the same.

I stood (and stand) on slight and trembling legs.

But would you believe, that after all the destruction of how it began, the right bookend of 2013 upholds the most beautiful moment of my life at its end. I did a lot of things. Cleaned up, stood up straight, started working, fell in love, moved into a space I can finally call home, laughed a lot, wrote a lot, struggled to stay afloat. But still. But still.

I like bookends to remind that things to change, in fits and starts.

So on the shelf I now file all the people and places that sheltered this fractured heart. Some gratitude is due.

To the sports writing crew, who welcomed me and propped me up when I was too scared, or shy, and made me feel like I may yet carve out a niche somewhere in the middle of this sportswriter life: among others, Darrin Bauming, Patrick Williams, Gary Lawless, Steve Lyons, Paul Friesen, Kirk Penton, Ken Wiebe, Paul Wiecek, Ed Tait, Jim Toth, Scott Billeck and all the others I will leave to ellipses but most assuredly have not forgot.

To Josh, my forever best friend, my buzzy bee and the light of my life.

To Lao Thai green curry, and to Lucky Penny white wine, and to The Sexual Politics of Meat. To the Tall Pines lodge in the Whiteshell where I threw my worries into the lake, and to the Rundlestone Lodge in Banff where I hurled them again into the mountains.

To Twitter and every Tweeter who comes there to play with me, our little Twitterpond made me laugh far more than was right. Taught me things too, but you’d be amazed how often our little Twitter comedies would pull me out of a funk and into a hot bath and a comforting night light.

And above all, to Greg, upon whose smile my words always trip and slip away. It’s something to still be left speechless when you share one bedroom and a bathroom with a person. But I am tongue-tied by him every day — my love, my partner in crime, and the finest man I can imagine.

This year, 2013, began in devastation, and ends now in delight. It was a good ‘er. Hopefully the next will continue on so right.