New Year’s Eve 1978 — I’m 31 and single. Harry Greenberg is in a similar (single-seater) boat. We decide to ignore New Year's Eve and go see a movie. Someone told us that Days of Heaven is a beautiful film, but didn’t mention that it is also devastatingly depressing.
We leave the movie theater leaden-footed, emotion-drained, and in need of a drink. It isn’t until we enter Marvin Gardens and someone blows a noisemaker that we remember it is New Year's Eve. I look at my watch: 11:45.
People seem relatively subdued, so we take a table near the door, out of T.V. range. Harry orders a beer and I ask for Wild Turkey, which I hate drinking but love ordering.
At 11:55, a woman walks in alone, gets a mixed drink at the bar, and sits at a table near us. She is wearing a dark green, silk dress just above her knees. We assume she is waiting for someone, but she doesn’t even glance at the door as midnight nears.
The woman in green sips her drink. At midnight, there are a few shouts and some screeches from the noisemakers. New Year's Eve is over. The woman finishes her drink, drops a dollar on the table, and leaves the bar at 12:05.
“I feel awful for her. She’s not very happy,” I say to Harry.
“Alan,” he replies softly, “we’re not very happy.”
from the working draft of Based on a True Life: A Memoir in Pieces