"You realize," I tell my friend Leslie, approximately six hours prior, "Last year we sat in my living room w/ a cheese ball that was entirely too garlicky. I drank a three dollar bottle of champagne by myself and was almost asleep by ten."
We're picking up Mart and Rachel and starting our New Years Eve-ning.
"I do." she says.
Last year, obviously, was not an impressive New Year's Eve. This year we were gathering, having dinner and would watch the ball drop from a television above the bar at a club that had 'pleather' ottomans and swanky curved love seats positioned around short little tables. Swanky. Sort of.
A few beers and a few shots later, Nicole - all sweet and hard to say no to - flashed a big excited smile.
A donation from each in our party and a few minutes later - a bartender carried a bottle of Dom Perignon and some glasses to our table. We may not have looked it...we may not have admitted it...but we felt cool.
Nicole raised her glass. "To all the people that I love that are right here..."
The DP was gone long before midnight. At 11:59 we looked towards the TV and screamed along with the countdown. We hugged each other and whispered love yous into each others ear. Then we hunkered down to the table and began making phone calls.
"Happy New Year!" I said to Oren, who was ringing it in from the comfort and quiet of his own home.
"I think this is going to be your year," he said. "I have a feeling."
"I'm going to hold on to that," I said.
"Don't hold on to it," he said back. "Go with it."
While Nicole and I spent the rest of the night sipping on water and sobering up in order to fulfill our DD assignments, the rest of my friends danced to every last song Mr. DJ played and the beers came in rounds. And every so often, one of us would catch the eye of another and smile. When she wasn't shakin' it up on the dance floor, Rachel threw her arm around my neck and hugged me. When nobody was looking, Mart and I rocked our 'white man's overbite' dance moves.
After hanging up the phone with my brother, I couldn't help but ponder over what the new year would bring. And the morning after, with the aid of the headache...I still wonder.
But one thing is certain. My nights of cheap champagne and bad cheese balls are over - Happy New Year, indeed.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give us a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.