Happy New Year from Marina del Rey, California. It's a beautiful, blue, calm day. The beach is dotted with joggers and dog-walkers. The tide is high and rollers are crashing on the sand. We are a few hundred yards from the Least Tern preserve and there are pelicans and other sea folk flying overhead.
Big John is peaceful. His breathing is much shorter and he is spiking a fever not all over, but in different parts of his body. His body is blotchy with heat and cold. We didn't expect him to survive the night but he did.
The surreal experience of watching Dick Clark and the ball drop on midnight in New York, and the drunken, smiling crowds in their 2010 glasses screaming "Happy New Year" was ours, surrounding John's bed. Outside triumphant fireworks over the Marina. People huddled on the beach in coats, with sparklers, holding loved ones, muttering greetings and mumbled appreciation of the lights bursting in silver and pink showers in the sky.
The Maharishi and I walked out to watch, almost forgot to greet each other with the new year, remembered, held each others' hands, stared at the fireworks. We never tire of fireworks, do we? The nurse shift was changing at midnight. "Tom" said the Maharishi, "come look at the fireworks." And Tom, the nurse from Ethiopia, who won the lottery and came to this country knowing no-one, walked on to the sand with us to gaze at the show. He wants to be a doctor and works 16 hours a day putting his girlfriend through nursing school. She'll in turn work to put him through medical school.
We slept soundly in the single apartment behind the house, the dogs, the Maharishi and I. This morning was like waking up on holiday. Palest blue skies, white beaches, sneakers and dogs to walk. Happy, wiggly dalmatians can't believe their luck with the whole wide world to scamper across, the beach stretched out towards the sea, containing infinite possibilities: trash cans to sniff, mussels to harvest, seaweed to roll in, waves to jump and birds to scatter.
The night nurse left at 8 and Sandy, cleverly kept talk of the angels to a minimum. "Lordy, he can see the angels now" she said. "Not quite" said Sandy, who truly should be running the UN.
And so it's not quite once again, on the first day of the new decade.
His best friend Bob calls. "He survived the night" I say. "He's one tough motherf***er" says Bob. Yep. He sure is.