The Expired Metro Card

Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall…I repeated, watching my silver high heels cascade down the subway stairs. Logically, I knew the rest of my body was with me, too – but my New Year’s champagne intake made it difficult to actually feel it. One of my dear best friends J, who kindly invited me out with her and her boyfriend D, grabbed my arm and together we finally made it into the tunnel below.

Of all the nights in New York — there are really only two that it’s a better idea to take the train than to attempt to get a cab: Halloween and New Year’s. Though you may be wearing a dress that has little to it and heels higher than appropriate to ring in a new beginning — those assets won’t get you a cabbie unless you have some magical stroke of fate. We weren’t that lucky, so we braved the great underground at Union Square, along with hundreds of others.

In the hectic maze, I realized that on 01/01/13, my subway passed expired, and I needed to buy a ride to get me home. Just a few more steps and your toes will stop pinching. You can do it, you can do it! I encouraged myself as I wobbled over carefully, wondering if anyone else could detect my buzz or if they were equally intoxicated and uninterested in the drinkers around them.

As J and D waited, I went through the clicks on the screen, something I have memorized after buying subway cards for the past 34 months (wow!), to receive my golden ticket uptown. The pass flew out — and though it looked totally different than it normally does — I accepted and went with it. Within an hour, I was pushing the button to the 7th floor, excited to see my fluffy white bed and fluffy white dog.

The next morning, after some much-needed coffee and sleep, I took Lucy to the puppy park to get some energy out (and to feel less guilty for leaving her alone for so many hours). As I watched her spin around with the other pups and the cute couples who always hang out at the dog runs, holding hands and watching their “child” frolic, I reached into my coat pocket to find my expired subway pass.

Once the New Year came, this sucker wouldn’t grant me new rides or travels. It wouldn’t get me anywhere at all actually. And though looking up at the guy who was now placing his hands over his girlfriend’s ears to keep them warm, I thought about the love I miss having. And I considered the New Year as my new subway card — valid in 2013 to get me anywhere I wish to go. But that old one in my hand? It doesn’t work this year and it no longer can give me access to memory lane.

I can’t go down the “what if” trail that only leads to anxiety and making phone calls or returning text messages I really shouldn’t. I won’t even entertain the idea that the best love is behind me or that the intimacy I once shared with certain someones isn’t possible again. I won’t let thoughts of what I once had or the future I once envisioned keep me warm at night when my bed is just a little too cold for my tough skin. I won’t believe that I’m destined to wear these single shoes forever — but while I have them.. I better rock them.

Though I spent the New Year with couples and gladly took pictures of their New Year’s kiss instead of having one of my own, another single gal and I toasted to each other and smiled. And it was a genuine one — I’m happy with where I am. I feel the most beautiful, the most in shape, I’ve ever been. I’m fulfilled by things outside of relationships, and though everyone could probably use a little more loving, I don’t find myself aching too badly.

That being said, I spent a good portion of 2012 really working to get over Mr. Possibility. Though for half of it, he was overseas, he continually sent emails. Flowers. Macaroons from France. Paintings from Prague. Gifts and tokens of admiration — making sure he had a spot in the back of my mind, a sore spot on my heart, some kind of hold on me, even though he wasn’t  and isn’t ready to be anything in my life but a bittersweet, no-strings-attached memory. And while I really hate to admit it, I loved the attention. I loved knowing that some man did care about or miss me — even if I know he’s not right for me. So, before 2013 got here, I took all the steps to leave him in 2012 where he belonged. I cut off all communication and asked him (nicely) to do the same — and though I received a New Year’s text I didn’t respond to, I hope he’ll listen. I hope he’ll love me enough to let me go.

Because I don’t want to live in memory lane or with fear that I’ll never find someone to be in love with. I don’t need a place in yesterday or in the days I’ve already had. I don’t need to know what comes next because it’ll get here all on its own without help from me — but I know what’s in my past. And I know it needs to stay there — where I can learn from it, where I can grow from it, where I can move on from it. So that my bright shining future that I know in my heart-of-hearts is waiting for me in 2013 — can actually get going. Once the anchor is up — the sails will just fly out of the harbor, right?

Bye, bye, I said to that expired metro as I threw it in the trash. Lucy looked up at me with a big puppy grin that still makes me melt. Alright Lucy girl, let’s go! And without the old pass — and heavy past — the path and the year ahead somehow seem a little easier (and much more inviting) to trek.

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