I always expect New Years Eve to go differently than it always does. I expect confetti, buzzing horns, clinking glasses. I expect a guy telling me that he loves that I’m always cold and that I take forever to order a sandwich and that he can’t spend the rest of his life without me. It never, ever turns out like this:

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The girls and I were supposed to spend the holiday together, though we were scarce on plans. The cocktail party always wears us out when it comes to planning, and most years we tend to end up at some friend’s party. This year I had high hopes- I’d already turned down invites to other friends’ parties knowing that the girls and I were going to have a relaxing night of wine and cocktails in the cottage. Three days before new years, Jenny asks if she can borrow my cocktail party dress. “I’m going to this party with JR, I think it’ll look good.” I say sure, she keeps talking, tells me that they’re going to one of his friend’s places for a New Year’s Eve party. What? One down, three girls left. I find out a bit later too that Mer has decided to spend the holiday down in Delaware with her college friends. That left Becky and her boyfriend, Brian and his girlfriend, and me. This was not looking good.

The night before New Years I spent over at PK’s parents house. I’m not sure how to talk about that, nor am I sure that I even want to. It felt so amazing to be there, but it left me incredibly upset on the drive home. The Schuylkill Expressway is not exactly fun to drive in the pouring rain while weaving through every memory and word from that night. Suffice it to say that I felt down the next day, and compressed those feelings by watching depressing romantic movies in bed, alone. Yes, I know that this is torture.

I would have been terribly happy to have spent the night continuing on this path, but Becky made it very clear that I was coming out when she pulled up out front of my house. I complied, and spent the ride over to her boyfriend’s house discussing the night before. I even went as far as to agree to cut him out of my life if I didn’t hear from PK by midnight (Note: I didn’t). We got to the boyfriend’s house and it was…not what I expected.

It was depressing in fact. The two men on the couch were forty-some year old plumbers (the boyfriend’s bosses) and they were watching Cheech and Chong while talking about how they planned to smoke later. I was perplexed. Becky and I started drinking quickly. The boyfriend’s friend, R, made me some drink that basically consisted of pouring every drink there into a glass. There goes any expectation for a classy New Years. One of the two men asked me what I was doing with my life, phrased just like that. I responded that I was going to graduate school. “What do you need all of that for? If you finished college you should be good. I didn’t even finish high school and I own my own business.” I wanted to get away from this man, but he asked me what I was wasting my money studying (again, phrased just like that). I told him the name of my program, that I was focusing on Middle Eastern terrorism. Another guy listening in puts in his intelligent two cents: “What do you need to study those sandbugs for?” I saw red. I would have punched him had I not been a guest in someone else’s home. I chose to walk away, bury myself in the drink that R had made for me.

The remainder of the evening wasn’t bad, but just didn’t feel right. We watched the countdown on t.v. (confession: it is pathetic that, while watching the NYC ball drop, I searched the crowds there for his face. The crowds that had thousands of people lined in streets, and I was looking for him.) and then we piled outside to light fireworks and sparklers.

Soon after we were preparing to go home. Becky and I put on our jackets, and her boyfriend walked us out to the car. I climbed in the passenger seat, allowing them to have their goodbye kiss alone. I was thinking about the cold, thinking about how to turn up the heat when my door opened. It was R, and I got confused, thinking I’d left something inside. “Listen, can I take you out some time?” My stomach twisted and my mind shot to PK. I told him that I was sorry, but that I’m seeing someone. Technically, I’m not. But it didn’t seem fair to go on a date with someone when I was wrapped up like this, and I didn’t want to give the long drawn-out explanation of the situation.

Becky climbed in the door and we drove half a block before we both burst. “Did he really just ask you out?” I told her yes, and she said “I told him not to!” I get her to explain the whole story, that apparently he’d liked me for a bit, that just about everyone knew (did I mention that he is also close friends with my brother?) He had been upset when Becky found out, but that night had turned it to asking her for advice. Becky, knowing that I was in a bad place with the whole PK thing advised him not to. Enveloped in liquid confidence, he chose to ignore her warnings.

“Can this year start off any worse?” I whined to her as we pulled up to my house. I opened the door and stepped out…right into a very deep puddle. I’m hoping that this first day got out all of the bad jive for the year, that tomorrow will be amazing. Here’s to hoping for that to happen.

(Hope you all had an amazing New Years!)

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