The night of our little community’s Christmas party, here
in Boca Raton, I got dressed, came out of the bedroom and noticed that Dan had
fallen asleep in front of the TV! I
nearly jumped for joy, but I didn’t want to wake him. I’ve never told anyone this before, not even
my children, but I’m afraid of parties.
Right before I have to go to one, I get painfully bloated. At first,
meaning the first forty or so years of my life, I didn’t know what caused the
bloating, but I eventually figured it out. It’s parties.
So I got undressed,
poured myself a glass of wine, sat down next to Dan and started flipping through
the channels without making any noise.
And then Jesse walked in.
“How come you’re not dressed?”
“Shhh!! I was dressed, but then dad fell asleep, so now
we can’t go.” I tried to frown, but I was glowing.
“Just wake him up.”
“Wake him up. You told our new neighbors you were going. You can’t
not show up.”
“Even if my husband is passed out cold?”
“Mom, he’s just napping.”
As soon as Jesse left, Dan opened one eye.
“How come you’re not dressed yet?” he asked.
“I thought we weren’t going because you don’t feel well,” I whispered.
“I feel fine.”
“Well, you don’t look right to
“Go get dressed.”
So I got redressed, got in the car, and we drove the three seconds to the
When we got there, there were
about thirty cars lined up in the parking lot.
“I can’t do it,” I said.
“I can’t walk in there. We don’t know
“You know me, and we know our neighbors, and we’re only
staying for a little while. Remember, we
don’t actually live here, so what the hell.
Besides, you know lots of other people from walking the dog.”
“That’s not true. I’ve been lying to you about how many
people I’ve met here. I only know one
“You’re lying now, too.
He literally pushed me in. And as soon
as we got inside, I spotted my neighbor.
And then some other guy came up to us who I recognized, and before long
we were meeting his wife and then another couple and then about ten more before
I realized we’d accidentally chosen to rent a house in a community filled with
the nicest, friendliest people I’ve ever met in my entire life. And they were
I wanted to dance too, but I was sure Dan wouldn’t want to.
So I just sat there dancing in my head.
“Hey, wanna dance?” I finally asked him.
“Wanna go?” he said, yawning.
“We just got here!”
“We’ve been here for three
hours. We were just going to say a quick
“I know, but I love these people.”
“They do seem nice, but I’ve been up since four. ”
“I don’t think you understand.
I love everyone here. I really, really love them.”
“We’re not staying in Florida. This is
temporary. Don’t get any ideas.”
“I know. I just feel we should make the
best of it while we’re here. Oh my God,
look at those pretty flowers!!”
He walked over to say goodbye to our neighbor and explain why we were leaving
“Steph and I are both pretty exhausted,” he said, “So we’re gonna
My neighbor looked over at me. I was jumping
up and down, dancing with his wife and hugging her.
On the way back to the car, I
couldn’t help noticing how beautiful everyone’s holiday decorations looked.
“There’s nothing like a
cleverly lit palm!” I said, hugging a nearby tree.
“Steph, we still have a house in New Jersey and I
have a business there. As soon as this
is over, we have to go back to New York where we belong.”
I thought about what he was
saying, and it was true. But there was
one other little thing on my mind.
“Just so you know, we got
invited to a New Year’s Party!”