Reflect [ 2004-01-02, 12:20 p.m. ]

Over the sourse of the past 5-6 weeks, I feel like Iíve barely had any time to myself, and even less for this site. I just re-read my last entry, and I feel like it was a bit of a cop-out. Kent and I have had houseguests for the better part of the last month, and so itís been hard to get uninterrupted time to writeÖbut enough with excuses. First, to sum up the Holidays:

My sister-in-law visited for the week before Christmas. She spent the days at galleries and museums and the nights huddled on our couch, writing in her journal(s). I imagine entries were as such: ďMolly just opened another bottle of wine. Hmph. Does she always drink so much? And she keeps talking about Sex and the City, which is apparently some sort of television show. I wouldnít know as I do not own a television and think popular culture is below me. Kent is too good for her. She has nice shoes though. Frivolous bitchĒ

Iím being petty, but relations between her and me have always been somewhat strained. I try and try to be her friend, but she has Issues and Insecurities (just like we all do), and her visits are often tenseÖalmost like she feels territorial over Kent, and so she and I end up in a silly power struggle. If she was young, I could forgive her for being so protective and, wellÖsnotty, but sheís 30. Kent and I are married, and I think itís kind of oneís adult responsibility to make nice with the in-laws. Kent actually had to talk to her about the constant sulking while she was here, and so the visit ended much better than it began Ė and she gave us some very thoughtful gifts, including a beautiful piece she made (sheís an artist), as well as some great books. Still, the days before Christmas were kind of emotionally draining.

Christmas itself was quiet and lovely. Kent and I exchanged gifts (a bathrobe and new earrings for me, an iPod for him) in the morning, then went uptown and walked through Central Park. We cut east and walked down Madison, admiring the Barneys windows (Each is a Sex and the City character, and theyíre FAB. Simon Doonan has a kick-ass job), then made our way down to Grand Central. Back home we drank champagne and wine and Kent fixed dinner (which I was nervous about, but he did VERY well), and we stuffed our faces with chocolates from Seeís and Jacques Torres. The next day we saw LotR (which pretty much took the whole day!), and then cleaned up the apartment in preparation for the next round of visitors Ė my family.

My parents arrived on December 27th, and my brother M and his girlfriend came two days later. We all celebrated New Yearís Eve together, which was new, and very, very cool.

And now itís 2004.

Kent is at work, Tuesday is sleeping on the bed and Iím wearing fleecy pants and a sweatshirt, drinking coffee, completely disheveled and messy. And it feels awesome! Iím supposed to meet up with BritGirl later this afternoon to go shopping (sale prices only), and tonight Kent and I are taking my brother and his girlfriend (who have been upstate since yesterday, and return to CA tomorrow) to Grimaldiís for dinner tonight Ė itís a pizza parlor thatís basically at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and serves awesome brick-oven pizzas and cheap wine. There is usually a line half-way down the block to get in, but itís the perfect Friday-night place to take an out-of-towner. To take anyone, really. Yum.

On a somewhat related note (well, related in my own head Ė pizza, New Yearís, resolutions, relationships, etc), I watched the movie Beautiful Girls the other night. Something about this movie just gets to me.

It wasnít a movie that a lot of people liked, I donít think. I donít remember it being in theaters, but I rented it once and was instantly hooked. Timothy Hutton plays a 30-ish piano player in NYC who returns to his little upstate New York town for his 10-year high school reunion. He is hot. Iím not a huge fan of his, and previously thought of him as kind of a weenie, but as a piano player with sideburns and commitment issues, he is hot. He returns home and sees all his old high school friends, who are basically all the same. Matt Dillon is the ex-stud, currently dating Mira Sorvino but cheating on her with Laruen Holly, his ex-girlfriend. Michael Rappaport is the obnoxious big lug of a friend who lusts after supermodels and talks a whole lot of shit. Rosie OíDonnell is in it, before she got all scary. Oh, Uma Thurman is a visiting hottie, in from Chicago to teach the guys a lesson about the beauty in a real relationship. And Natalie Portman is the 13-year-old neighbor to Timothy Huttonís family, whom he meets upon arriving home.

And itís their relationship that always tears me up. She is a child, but precocious and funny and sassy, blah blah blah. Timothy Hutton has a serious girlfriend back in New York (Annabeth Gish), but he clicks with this teenage girl, and becomes infatuated with her. They have that mythic spark, or at least he thinks they do. And he falls in love with the promise of her, or of who she will grow up to be. Something like that. And even though Timothy Hutton knows he canít be with Natalie Portman, even though he goes home to Annabeth Gish, and even though I know they canít be together, I always want them to find a way. Maybe years after the movie ends, Natalie Portmanís character moves to New York and they bump into each other walking down 9th Avenue late at night, and they sit down for a drink and catch up and the sparks are still there and he takes her home with him, and they are crazy in love for ever. Maybe. But the end of the movie always leaves me with a lump in my gut because I want them to be together so badly. Itís something about the combination of their chemistry (and I think they had it) and her promise that makes me sad and jealous at the same time. I mean, she grows up to be Natalie Portman, who I think is one of the most beautiful girls around. And in the movie, she is all promise Ė young and unformed with so much ahead of her. Itís something you never get back, and itís something you never realize you had until far too late.

New Yearís makes me reflective, and often times a little sad. Watching the movie made me realize that here I am, greeting another year, soon to be 30, soon to perhaps be a parent, a homeowner, a studentÖitís hard to say. But Iíll never be 13 again, and Iíll never have all those options again. I think now about all the infinite alternate paths I could have taken in my life. I am happy with the one I chose, and I feel fulfilled by it. But whoís to say what those parallel lives could have included. I suppose the movie gets to me because I wonder if thereís a path I could have taken that would put me on 9th Avenue, late on a rainy, dark night. I wonder who I would have bumped into.

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