Twas a cool breeze out that night on the streets of Manhattan, but for me, it was as frigid as the snow queen herself. I felt the icy stare of me mistress, my friend, see straight through me as if I were nothing but a ghostly figure, not even there. To her, I may have well been as it was the deepest of cuts, a breach of faith and trust which finds me out on me ars on this New Year’s Eve.
I wander around a bit, not sure what to do and where to go. The church was me first thought, to light a candle. But if I’m honest, my faith is a bit shaken this day. Damn my big emerald eyes and Irish temper for betraying me and always gettin’ me in a spot of trouble. But I just couldn’t help meself. That bastard of a husband of hers, him and his roving eyes…and hands. He’s the one to blame. Hand to God, the mister has grabbed hold of me backside more times a day than I count me holy cards. Some days I had to use liniment just soes I could set down at night. That one, he’s always grabbing, poking and pinching any skirt that passes him by. But this time he went too far. Poor little Molly O’Brien. A mere babe, only fifteen in years. I caught the bastard up against her in the butler pantry. She looked at me like she saw the very devil himself. She was not struggling, but she was terrified. So, I tells her to go help cook right away and stop lollygagging. It worked at first, she got away. But then the mister grabs the back of me apron and drags me into the drawing room. He yells at me and I couldn’t help my Irish, I gave it right back to him but good.
The nerve he has to compromise young girls and lord over his position. And what about the mistress? They hardly even married a year and him with his devilish ways. She was so innocent and in love. She didn’t see is dastardly black coal soul, but I saw him for the messenger of Satan he was. Only me mistress didn’t. She saw the image of a young handsome rogue who swept her off her heels in the fields of gold back in Cobb County and dazed her with his impish charm. Turns out the faithless fiend has had every lass he sets his evil eyes on. My rolling green eyes always gave me away to him, they did. He knew that I knew of his wandering ways.
Just when I was puttin’ him in place though, he turned randy. The devil he was smitten with my ire and didn’t he grab me right there and kiss me hard at the exact moment the mistress walked in.
The look in her sweet eyes was more than I could take. The demon spawn lied to her of course and said I, Katherine Mary Margaret Donnelly have been chasing him around. The bastard son he is. Of course, she believed him immediately, how could she not, she’s mesmerized by love. And now I am out on my sore kiester. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to be out of that hell of a house, blast to all of them. But I worry about me poor girl. She is so young and naïve. He’s going to hurt her somethin terrible. I will never forget the look in her eyes til the end of me days. The scorn, the betrayal, it wounded her to the very core. We had been so close, the best of us since wee lasses. We’ve seen through every scrape and sorrow in our short lives. Now, she cuts me to the quick, never even a brief thought that it was himself. I pity her and the day she comes in from the mist of adoration. It will be a dark day for her, it will, and her soul will weep. But I need to put that in arrears now and think of what’s to come.
So in my own thoughts, I didn’t realize I had walked nearly ten blocks into a loud gaggle of half-frozen people in the middle of Times Square celebrating the New Year. I looked around at their joyous faces all rising to see the giant globe on the flagpole atop the building above.
I’ve never seen anything like it in me life. Took six whole men to tame the beastly wonder with ropes. Then I heard the people start chanting all at once. 10, 9, 8 and down it came like an angel lofting from the heavens. 7, 6, 5, 4, they kept going. The snow started to gently fall just as they yelled 3, 2, 1. And signs on all sides of the building lit up like the stars in the heavens to say Happy New Year with thunderous flames of colored light streaking up and bursting here and there in the sky. Twas a glorious site to behold.
Then a chorus of the random gatherers sang aloud to ring in the New Year. I recognized the tune as one from the old country I heard the Scottish shepards sing in the fields. I listened carefully to what they said, “old acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon.” That Auld Lang Syne was right. The past is just that. I’m young and sturdy and I’m in America, the land of opportunity. It’s time for me to begin anew and turn over a leaf. So I welcome ya 1908, it’s bound to be a good year.
(c) Copyright 2020 Suzanne Rudd Hamilton