Saturday, January 7, 2012
For New Year's Eve
In at least one respect, 2012 started out better for me than any year before it. To be sure, I've had my share of enjoyable New Year's Eves, but each of them, without exception, has seen me alone or in the company of family members. In fact, from 2005 to 2011 I had an unbroken stretch of watching the Ball drop in my living room.
This year I decided to spice things up.
"Listen, Mature Girl can't come," Black Dress Girl cautioned me on the phone.
"Yeah, Beautiful Cousin bailed on me, too," I replied.
"What a hooker. So, are you still going to come? It might be boring with just the two of us here."
"It's better than being home by myself."
With less than an hour to go before 2011 retreated forever over the horizon I got in my car and drove out to Western City. Black Dress Girl met me at the front door of her house and then together we went to downtown Western City, where a surprisingly large crowd had gathered to watch a citrus fruit be dropped from atop a telephone pole at midnight.
"Oh, my gosh!" I exclaimed, looking around the cobbled square and its adjoining restaurants and shops. "Black Dress Girl, this is so nice! How have I never known all this was here?"
Western City is known, even beyond our region, as a nexus of working-poor misery, but the section in which we stood was filled with fashionable restaurants, quixotic boutiques, and well-dressed young people.
"This is the nice part of Western City," she said. "I'm surprised you don't know about it. There's even an art gallery in that building over there."
"It's not very good, but it's the principle of it."
As we awaited the fruit's descent we reflected on the end of 2011 and the uncertainty that the future year would bring.
"I'm really glad you're here," she said. "And I'm glad it's just us. Gosh, it's so weird to think of where we'll be this time next year."
"Do you have any resolutions?" I asked.
"Well, I really do want to move to Humid State," she replied. "I have family there and housing is so much cheaper in that part of the country."
I grimaced; Humid State, where Uncle Car Salesman, Aunt Ostentatious, Blonde Cousin, and Pretty Hair once lived, is hundreds of miles away.
"That would suck," I said. "I'd miss you a lot. I'd be happy for you, though."
"Well, you might not be here anyway," she reasoned. "Don't you maybe have a job out in Movie State?"
"I have an internship, which I'm doing remotely," I clarified. "But if they offered me a position I'd take it in a heartbeat."
I realized then that, sad though the thought of being gone from Southern State in a year's time made me, it was something I wanted. I'm ready to start a career and a life.
A falling fruit, half a movie, and a warm parting later I drove home and promptly walked to my neighbors' house, where the mood was far less reflective.
Black Boy and, to a lesser extent, his brother, have been neighbors and friends to my family since we moved to Mountain Town on December 17, 2005. Black Boy is twenty now, but his penchant for a good joke and a good time has been undimmed by the years since we met as teenagers.
"This nigga," he exclaimed as I walked into a house filled with people. "One beer away from being fucked up."
"That's so not true," I denied.
"Yeah," he smiled incredulously before turning back to a girl he'd been talking with.
"BB!" Blonde Boy Friend, my brother Powell's 21-year-old best friend, yelled when I crossed into the kitchen. "BB, do shots with me!"
"No," I held my hands up. "You know I can't. I'll have a beer or two, but that seriously has to be it."
Four shots later my reservations were a great deal lightened.
In that state of mind, with my face pink and my laughter uncontrollable, I didn't so much believe I was a good dancer as I didn't care that I was a bad one.
"Oh, gosh, I'm so terrible at this," I said, stumbling in a way that had nothing to do with my inebriation.
"No, no," Black Girl giggled. "You're totally good."
"You do not believe that!" I laughed, and then we were both cackling as I continued my arhythmic jerking to the music.
"BB!" Black Boy called over.
I turned a rosy face his way and he started laughing.
"Nigga, you drunk, aren't you?"
The rest of the night went on in a procession of absurdity and good cheer that ended with me walking back home and falling into my bed at six-thirty in the morning.
So, I spent the first hours of 2012 in the company of happy and loving friends. I hope that augurs well, and I hope I'm able to ring in many more years in similar fashion.