I awoke on January 1st of this year to my first of a number of phone calls. The first sounded something like this:
Friend A: "Dude! You awake?"
Me: "Uh....yeah, yeah, I think so."
Friend A: "Oh my G-d! What a crazy night!"
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Friend A: "Yeah, I got totally hammered and you're never going to believe who I woke up with this morning!"
Me: "Uh, your girlfriend?"
Friend A: "Try again..."
Then I got this call:
Friend B: "I wasn't very good last night."
Me: "I think I just had this conversation."
Friend B: "I don't know what you mean."
Me: "Never mind. Go on. You were being bad..."
Friend B: "Yeah, guess who I didn't have sex with last night."
Me: "Well, you aren't in the same city as me, so I'm pretty sure I'm not on that list."
Friend B: "No smartass! Guess who I almost had sex with, but didn't."
Me: "Um...maybe you should just tell me the story..."
Then this call:
Friend C: "Geez..."
Me: "Geez what?"
Friend C: "I thought she'd never leave."
Me: "So, you had a good time with the New Year's date, eh?"
Friend C: "Yeah, until this morning and she decided to monopolize my bathroom."
Me: "Did everyone have oysters at their New Year's parties or something?"
It seemed that I was the only person on the planet who didn't get lucky on New Year's Eve.
I've spent a lot of New Year's Eve's out, but, perhaps because, as a teen, my parents never let me leave the house because they were concerned that the unnamed, unfaced drinkers were taking the opportunity to use a holiday to get smashed and hop behind the wheel, I was used to staying home. And this New Year's, when it became evident most of my friends were partying out of town, I decided to revert to my old ways. I figured it would be a quiet night at home, lying in bed, reading a book I had promised I would finish. I didn't think my phone would ring.
And I certainly didn't expect that it would be Alecia.
For Alecia, New Year's Eve isn't about renewal and resolutions. It's haunting. And it's painful. Two years ago, Alecia's mother and her mother's boyfriend were viciously and savagely attacked by a drug addict, beaten within an inch of their lives.
And, from her window, Alecia saw it all. Her body frozen as her eyes were unable to comprehend the sheer horror she was witnessing.
So, for her, New Year's isn't a time where she looks forward. It's a time where she's forced to look back.
And it's not something anyone would want to see.
Knowing this and knowing that she had spent the evening with her family, when Alecia called, I didn't know what to expect.
"I just left my family. When I left, my mom hugged me. For a really long time. And then she said, 'I love you' in a different way then she usually does."
"Yeah, I can understand that."
Alecia had just gotten home and decided that she just wanted to get ready for bed and wake up in the new year.
But with this beginning to our conversation, I thought we'd start talking about two years ago, but we didn't. We just talked. Talked like we had so many times before, two friends just talking and laughing. She was lying in her bed. I was lying in mine. She was dishing out her sass. I was responding in kind with my incendiary irreverence. We were thousands of miles away from one another, but here we were, having pillow talk. Even though we couldn't see one another, we knew we were both smiling.
And, in a strange way, it felt like I was there with her. Just there. If she needed me.
Honestly, it was one of the most memorable New Year's Eves I had ever had.
I guess I was pretty lucky after all.