Staying in on new years eve is a habit of mine.
I’ve disliked it since I was old enough to go out.
Before then we’d watch TV in the family home,
and that was one thing,
With peanuts and brandy and a three piece suite,
Mum slipping off at eleven with kisses and smiles,
Dad hazily breaking open another dark ale.
Me and Pete could feel a world out there -
But we knew it was not our time yet.
Our time when it came was not all that;
In crowded halls with heaving bars I half-danced
amongst an army of estate agents:
Liam and David, Vicki and Caz, Martin and Steph,
whirling arm in arm to the Stone Roses.
I was most often found hiding in the bar queue
before sneaking out,
with the glow of my future for comfort.
The drug years suffered from shit drugs,
hours of street corner taxi-seeking
as comedowns came down;
The London years by an aversion to
going out at all.
So I tried something new,
a party for some friends
most of whom pulled out on Dec 30th.
Alice and I stayed in
but one friend showed up anyway,
And the three of us watched the fireworks of Hackney
from my attic window
In the end I planned a solo new year,
with a good film and a long book,
and as much food and wine as I might want.
I turned down invitations and shut the curtains tight,
Satisfied with my own company
Then a long walk in the bright morning.
I count this one as my biggest success.
When I fell in love,
it changed again.
Suddenly I was booking a four-poster room and a nine-course meal
in the gothic hotel that glowered over Robin Hood’s Bay.
We trained and taxied around Yorkshire and ate until we couldn’t,
then lay side by side,
me in my suit, and she in her lace and glitter.
At midnight we threw the windows open wide,
watched the fireworks blossom over the sea
and kissed a cinematic kiss among snowflakes.
In the morning we walked along the snowy beach
And talked about getting a dog one day.
The curse was lifted!
For a whole week until,
blind drunk and baleful,
she fucked someone else
and broke both our hearts/
I try not to let that tarnish the memory…
We spent one more together:
that pitiful couple who row in the street.
Now, new years eve is neither happy nor sad.
There are no new avoidance tactics and no new plans,
It’s just a night:
one easy hurdle before
this new year I’m promised.
Written in 2012, first published on Alternative Literature