Zbyszek turned into a lovely, snow-covered tree.
That’s what my friends told me that New Year’s Eve night many, many moons ago in Poland. He had been madly in love with my friend Grazyna – who, it turned out, was madly in love with someone else. And apparently, she told him so that night.
In his despair – and after
a few many shots of Zytnia wodka – he ran out of the house, sans coat, and into the woods behind the house we were celebrating in.
“O Matko!” wailed Grazyna as she noticed the front door left wide open, blowing snow was beginning to collect like powdered sugar in the hallway, and a gasp followed by whispers, rippled through the room.
I took this opportunity to get my champagne glass refilled while some of the guys grabbed their coats to go look for him, cursing him under their breaths for making them leave. It was the last years of the eighties and the song “Klub Wesolego Szampana” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Y-M4IiZK8) was playing – “Chcialabym, chciala…”. (It’s so funny how that is stuck in my mind!)
I shrugged my shoulders and giggled at the drama, innocent to the “enormity” of the situation.
“If you’re drunk on New Year’s Eve and stupid enough to wander outside, the Blessed Virgin Mary turns you into a tree. You will have your voice to tell others what happened, but make no mistake,” said the party host – rather somberly – as he handed me back my crystal flute, “you will be frozen into a tree.”
Zbyszek drifted into my mind because as I was folding my 16th load of laundry of the day, I glanced out my window at the wood line behind our house (did you know there is a man who lives in the woods there?), and really noticed for the first time how the naked grey branches of the deciduous trees were covered with lush, new growth.
Not too long ago, the barren arms seemed to point directly at me, the delicate twigs swaying – wagging disapprovingly, demanding to know, “OK, Victoria – what are you STILL doing New York? Are YOU frozen? with only YOUR voice left?”
“Mom!!! YUCK!! Charliesheen wants me to play fetch with him,” Izabela, my oldest complained.
“And he wants to play with Brownie.”
“What’s wrong with that? It’s his favorite toy.”
“Right, Mom, that’s the problem – it IS his favorite toy. He “butt-danced” with it all afternoon.” “Butt-dancing” is, well, what my younger daughters call – forgive me for using the term – “humping”.
“Speaking of ‘butt-dancing'”, Randi interrupted my story when we Skyped later, “did you sign up for that pole-dance exercise class? You had a coupon, remember? And we all know You NEVER pass up a great deal…”. My best friend is always teasing me that my tombstone will have chiseled into it – “I Hope You Had a Coupon For This…”
No, I have no signed up – not for lack of drive – for lack of time!
“Vicky, you NEED to relax.” She was getting ready to go out – Duke sweatshirt, shorts and SNEAKERS (Christian Leboutin has to be in utter shock). And jewelry.
“Going over to Mike’s?” I asked, knowing the answer, but still asking. “Things heating up?”
She laughed, “We’re just taking care of fantasy baseball…”
“It’s all good,” she smiled wickedly, “you NEED to get down here to Myrtle Beach.”
But, for the moment, I will hold on to what I cherish here – my girls, my family, and my friends. Saratoga Racing season will be here soon – and the world is simply begging me to open up moments gifted to me by destiny and revel in them passionately.
This, I can do 😉
Zbyszek was found, of course, that New Year’s Eve night. He ran halfway up the hill in the witchy darkness, in the deep layer of snow, and huddled under an evergreen tree.
Grazyna went on to marry – not him.
And so, he didn’t turn into a tree. And he didn’t lose his voice.
And neither, will I.