For the first time in my life, I didn't do the typical Thanksgiving - I didn't go to my or a boyfriend's family's house. Instead, I stayed in the city and celebrated with my friends: three apartments (i.e. three turkeys with ALL the trimmings) in one day. "Heifer" and "lush" are my new adjectives.
Since I started dating at 15, this was my first holiday single. A wave of panic washed over me a few days before the 22nd - Nick had plans to go to Long Island with his family and it was too expensive for me to go home. What would I do?
"Eat with us," all my friends invited.
The day started at noon. I went to Harlem to drink "pregame mimosas" with Kathryn, a 25-year-old contemporary ballet dancer. She's tall and blond - she's one of the most beautiful women in the city. Her mother and grandparents were visiting from Miami, where she grew up. I helped mash potatoes and marinate (pour Jack Daniels all over) the turkey.
"It ain't Thanksgiving without Long Island Ice Teas!" her 90-something grandmother said by two. She and her husband have been together 72 years. "We were never drinkers. Only in our old age," she said. "It's what keeps us going. We're gettin' that embalming under way."
It was time for dinner number two around 4: I swayed to the Lower East Side where my friend Sarah, a 31-year-old event planner, was hosting her new West Virginian in laws.
Sarah got married a month ago. She has black hair and believes in going to the gym daily - her body ripples with feminine tone. She is very liberal. Her husband's family is extremely conservative.
"Dear Lord help me," she said as soon as I entered. She handed me a glass of red wine before I could take off my coat. Apparently right before I had arrived, abortion had been the topic of discussion. "Drink up. You're getting on my page."
While the family continued with their political conversations in the living room, Sarah and I took our dinners (and a few bottles of wine) to the bedroom. We had a "bedspread picnic" and caught up.
I am thankful for taxis. By 7, buttoning my coat was laborious ... taking the subway to the Upper East Side for dinner number three would have been near impossible.
Brittney lives ten blocks from my apartment. Her parents live down south so she was having a "Friendsgiving."
We met five months ago, but it's like we've been close for years. She's 36 and was Ms. Kentucky "back in her prime." She's been married for twelve years. Recently, she battled a small bout of cancer in her lymph nodes. Luckily the doctors caught it extremely early and were able to remove it without her getting Chemo.
"We have six different pies," she said when I walked in. The apartment was packed with 20- and 30-something New Yorkers who couldn't go home for the holiday either. "I made them all. You're trying each."
It was good that I did; it balanced out the vino.
Brittney always wears a silk scarf around her neck - she is self-conscious about the small scar that was left after her surgery. I told her to look at it each day and smile - the surgery saved her life.
"You're right. I am thankful for that," she said.
I walked home around midnight. I flopped onto my bed like a beached, inebriated whale. My brain bobbed on a turbulent red sea of wine. Mooshu was purring next to my head; he likes me in this condition.
I thought about the day. I was terrified to be single; I was afraid that I would be alone. But I realized that I'd never be alone with the friends I've made in New York. That is something I am truly thankful for.
Sarah T. Schwab is a Sunday OBSERVER contributor and Fredonia State graduate. Send comments to
or view her Web site at www.SarahTSchwab.com