I wrote this awhile back. (January 2009)
New Year’s Eve is supposed to be the pathway that leads you into a new space in time, hopefully with new things just around the corner. For some it is a time to reflect on the past 364 days and look ahead to the next 365. It is a chance to find crooked places and lay them straight.
Others take another approach though: Keep the party going because nothing needs to be changed.
Back in high school, as a lowly sophomore (our high schools were only 10th-12th grade then), I bonded with several seniors whom I took electives with. Looking back on it, there was no real difference between us sophomores, who were affectionately called “Slops” and them. Maybe a driver’s license, college recruiter or two, but that’s it. Honestly, we did the same things: mock our teachers, rush to finish homework before class started and complain about extensive project assignments.
One of the seniors I absolutely adored was a guy named Terrell who I took World Geography with. I never liked him in a romantic way. What I loved about him was he had the same silly sense of humor as I did (and still have). Our class time was spent cracking on our teacher and discussing my favorite subject: Martin (before Tisha Campbell left the show). We could always count on each other for laughs and answers to blank take-home quizzes.
By the end of the year, I was sad to see him and select few graduate and leave. I think I even signed his senior book even though I wasn’t a senior. The Christmas break during my freshman year in college, I ran into Terrell at a party. Like old times, we chatted each other up laughed until tears welled in our eyes. He’d dropped his meanie girlfriend he’d had since high school, but was in yet another relationship. We exchanged numbers to keep in touch. Cell phones weren’t the norm then, so of course, I lost the paper it was written on. Needless to say, we never kept contact and as they say, life goes on.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve of 2008, nearly ten years later. My bestie and I were doing it up for the holiday and her birthday at a party in Miami (a long way from home). Just after the clock struck 12, I felt someone staring at me. I turned, and lo and behold, who did I see? It was none other than my long-lost schoolmate, Terrell. It was as random as could be, so I’m sure the look on my face mirrored his. Shock.
He immediately walked over and gave me a hug. “Oh.My.God. It’s been like….forever since I’ve seen you,” he said.
“I know! Oh wow. I can’t believe it either,” I say. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, so I know I was beaming.
“I live here now. Are you here, too?”
“I’m living at home now, “I said. We were still in awe of the random meeting, clearly.
What college did you end up going to?” he asked.
It was hella noisy, so he leaned in to hear me. “So—“
Before I could finish my reply, I was cut off by a woman reaching through the small crowd of people standing next to us. She pushed through them, grabbed Terrell’s arm and pulled him away, causing him to stumble and almost spill his cocktail on my friend. The look on her face said one of two of things: “My man knows you, but I’m sorry, I don’t, so beat it!” or “Terrell, bring your ass on NOW!” Either way, it wasn’t flattering for any party involved. In fact, it was downright embarrassing.
I immediately thought of Martin’s joke about the “crazy-deranged” woman in his first stand-up movie, U So Crazy (my all-time favorite!). “Miss Thank You, Have a Nice Day, your job is to check coats…Check ‘em, bitch!”
Everything happened so fast, I didn’t even realize he was with a woman.I kind of just stood there in disbelief for a minute over the mini-fiasco. I’m non-confrontational, I wasn’t so sure of the dynamic or history of their relationship and refused keep the drama that she created going because of her immaturity, so I backed off. They immediately got into a heated argument. I couldn’t hear it, but I definitely saw hand gestures, rolling necks and eyes and intense looks. Terrell was not a happy camper. He never came back over to say goodbye or even apologize for his girl’s behavior. I can’t say I expected him to either. He was obviously used to her antics, and it just wasn’t worth it. As I remember, his girlfriend in high school held a tight rein, as well. I guess that’s what he likes, so I love it.
Later that night, Terrell walked into the second ballroom for drinks and he still had this melancholy look on his face. My initial attitude about the girlfriend’s “snatch-up” had gone from disgust to pity. How sorry I felt for Terrell and her. If that show was a result of her insecurity or mistrust in him, they both had a long road of ahead of them.
What a way to bring in the New Year. Keep the party going, I guess.
Editor’s Note: I told an old mutual friend of ours (myself and Terrell) about the incident and she had all reason to believe that the girlfriend was suspicious of him because he was the “Infidelity King” in high school and college. Who knew??