There it is, the New Year, standing on the front step. Patiently waiting for you to open the door and usher him in from the cold. You can see the fresh hanging onto collars and dangling from earlobes. Grab the coat of the previous year, while helping her into it, one arm at a time. Kissing each cheek, a fond farewell. Perhaps not.
They brush shoulders crossing over the threshold. One gives a nod, the other a glare.
All that you didn’t do, walks out.
All that you want to do, walks in.
You embrace the New Year in a familiar way. Taking his coat and draping it on the good hanger, the black felt one. You properly place it in the hall closet, behind the red dress you once looked stunning in and the suit coat that no longer fits your son.
Welcoming new friends, your arm opens to show him the way into the kitchen, where the finger foods of meat and cheese are slowly warming on the kitchen counter. The half drank bottles of whiskey and scotch are bunched together, as if they are huddled in a secret meeting of sorts. You pour one for yourself, one for your new friend.
You rest your chin in the palm of your hand, while your waist leans over the granite. You ask your new friend, with a drunken star sickened look, if this will be the year. He takes his glass and raises it a bit before taking a small swallow. As he smiles, you feel the burn.
Between laughter and cries, you catch a glimpse of the previous year. She’s out in the yard, standing with her face held upwards towards the sky. In between branches extended like bones from torsos, the stars pop out like pin holes in velvet. You catch yourself staring too. Your own face held up to the sky, waiting for cold kissed cheeks and a runny nose.
The New Year taps your shoulder. No place for you here, out in the yard, staring up like this. You go inside, pour another drink, sing another song, raise your glass again–but not higher than your heart. Never higher than your heart. The New Year grabs you by the waist and twirls you in slow circles at the bottom of the stairs and you catch your elbow on the banister.
You’re too drunk to notice the pain.
The evening pushes on, into late night. Everyone moves into the living room, kicking throw pillows out of the way and anxiously shaking bottles of champagne. We are all carrying the stars in our eyes, at least the twinkle portion. Toothy grins and high fives. As the countdown begins, I glance one more time into the yard and watch the previous year slump off.
With a twinge of sadness, I mutter under my breath. A stack of words that I half heartedly mean, a few I instantly regret and a tiny bundle of dreams that never had a chance to materialize. The New Year comes closer and whispers at my neck, right below my ear. Words that get tangled in my hair and gold hoop earrings, “The words that leave your tender mouth are my only curiosity this year.”
I raise my glass, give a slight nod and suggest the New Year have a seat.
It’s going to be awhile.