At 50, I've seen the darkness and I've certainly seen the rain.
In 1992, I went to Bosnia in the heart of the war with a flack jacket and helmet to write a story about a soap opera actress aiding raped female refugees for People magazine. Strangely, I never cried over the horror that I listened to. The hotel we stayed in was pitch black at night, but ironically, I slept like a baby.
I've been through the hollow echoes of 9/11, where St. Vincent's Hospital put a giant klieg right across the street from me. And I didn't sleep for a week. I was working as a producer for Good Morning America, helping anxious people fine their loved ones, or the so-called "survivors." We never found any and GMA brought in a psychiatrist for those of us who hadn't cried after seeing horrid pictures that even TV viewers never saw.
I've been to Katrina where I warmly opened my arms out to the returning refugees for the Red Cross, three weeks after it seemed God just closed his eyes on that region, and let the water come through. Again I didn't shed a tear even after I heard stories of people losing loved ones, or being evacuated.
Through it all, I've always done everything alone and I've always lived alone. I was horrified when one girlfriend parked seven suits in my apartment. Was she planning on moving in? But with Sandy, it was different. A week ago, the storm thrashed against the windows of my powerless fourth-floor apartment in the West Village. I feared a tree outside would invite itself into my home by pounding against the windows. I envisioned windows smashing and ensuing blood, and even death. I have never been as afraid as I was -- never.
That night and the night after, my teeth chattered me off to a sleepless slumber, jackets and coats turned into a giant quilt on my bed. I wish now someone would have been lying next to me, so that I could have talked to them. I wished they could have walked with me past the downed trees, or stood in line with me as I waited for a cup of coffee at a dinette for 45 minutes. I wished, finally, for a life partner, and have now decided to actively change my life to find one.
I know so much worse has happened to people close and far from me and I think I finally could feel their pain when I made it uptown for a warm shower and TV that Tuesday before I escaped the downtown darkness on Wednesday. The images finally got to me and I cried. I cried for them and I cried probably for all the sad life altering events I have witnessed. It seems the tears of Sandy jolted me out of the past and into a new beginning.
So 50, here I come! And I'm looking for that special one to hang their clothes in my closets.