These New Years Eve celebrations were one of the best…. scratch that, THE BEST of my life. In years past he and I would both work late, come home and have a low key evening by ourselves: thoroughly enjoyable but always uneventful. Before him New Years would usually find me disappointed after I couldn’t find a suitable man to kiss at midnight.
In fact, even last year was a bust.
I made fondue with my mother and Sendal. She and I were both newly single and I refused to ring in midnight sitting in my 60 year old mom’s cramped condo, I insisted Sendal and I join Suki at a local restaurant that was hosting live music. Suki picked us up and we made it to the venue in time for the countdown. It seemed everyone in attendance was part of a couple.
“3… 2… 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
Suki and her boyfriend Monty kissed, everyone else kissed, Sendal and I held each other tightly while rocking back and forth and yelling: “Lonely Hearts club for life!”
Monty was getting over the flu really wanted to leave and Suki was DD so Sendal and I decided to catch a ride with them and return to our quiet evening. We were saying our goodbyes and Monty told us he would meet us at the car. We walked out to the parking lot: the car was gone. Monty decided we were taking too long and left without us. It was impossible to get a cab so it looked as if we were stuck where we were. We walked back inside, sat down at the bar and started drinking excessively. One of our girlfriends insisted we come back to her house for a wee after party. We were already half cut so we thought: ‘Hey, why not.’
A bunch of people crashed the party and our hosts kicked everyone out. Sendal got in a huge argument with some guys over a cab. I smoked almost a whole pack even though my resolution was to smoke less. I woke up and felt like shit. Happy New Years to me.
It’s not just the events of last year that have me reflective, its my state of mind at the time. I was depressed and confused and unsure of my future. I was insecure and needy, It seemed impossible to find someone who was on the same page as me.
This journey I have been on this past year astounds me. I can’t believe everything that has happened in such a short time and how I’ve grown as a person. The prospects of what could happen in the next year is astounding.
But anyway, I digress…
This year was heaps of fun. We started off with no real plans at all (always good, keeps one from getting disappointed.) We knew we wanted to spend it in Nelson with our friend from home, Jill, but that was about it.
We arrived at Jill’s, showered, dressed up and started drinking. It was the 3 of us, plus her 3 roommates and one other friend. We all threw together our last remaining groceries and put together a huge stir fry feast. Everyone dispersed to do different things and only Kennedy, Jill and I remained. We consumed drink after drink, Kennedy busted out the guitar, Jill busted out her ukelele and the two girls jammed Amy Winehouse covers. I participated with an apple shaker. We started to get pretty silly and Jill performed a burlesque show for us and then insisted that we both do the same for her. We were all laughing and having a great time, but decided we should head into the square for the countdown.
We arrived just in time to watch the last band and stood amongst the crowd with a huge bottle of champagne tucked safely out of sight. The music stopped and the crowd started yelling, “10… 9… 8… 7” you get the idea. At the words “HAPPY NEW YEAR” we popped open the champagne and downed it in no time at all. We chatted with several other foreigners before starting off towards the bars to get our dance on.
On our way we’re approached by a some people wearing shirts that say ‘Freedom.’
“Would you guys like some free sausages?” they ask.
“Free?” I ask suspiciously.
“Yeah free! You just have to tell us what freedom means to you.”
Kennedy said something short and profound, I launched into a rant about how blessed I was to be born in a free country. Jill came running around the corner screaming,
“YOU GUYS! These people are Christians! They’re luring us in with free sausages to try to convert us. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” Yet we still went back for seconds. What’s a little religious banter when free food is involved?
Once again, we found ourselves en route to the bar just as a girl came flying past us on the sidewalk, holding her shoes, balling her eyes out, make up running down her face. We all immediately blocked her way and began cooing to her: “Aww sweetheart, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Where are you going?”
She couldn’t even begin to explain why she was so upset.
A guy? We all asked.
“Don’t let this douche bag ruin your night! Come out with us instead!”
“Okay!” she agreed, her face lighting up. “Help me put my shoes on!”
I crouched down and look at her shoes. They were huge white platforms, circa 1995. I half heartedly struggled with the buckles before giving up and kinda interweaving them together.
She started telling us about this jerk guy, how he’s her baby daddy and how she’s only 21. She really wanted to go to one bar in particular, we all kind of agreed since we couldn’t think of any better venues.
After a short wait in line we got inside and to bumping music and glowing black lights. I bought us a round of shots and we all immediately went out into the smoke pit to get our fix.
I perched atop a picnic table and noticed in my peripherals, seated directly beside me, a rather cute boy.
Now in the last couple days that I had spent with Jill and her roommate Sam I realized something rather profound. Watching the two of them out at pubs I couldn’t help but notice how they effortlessly met men. It was so simple: they saw a guy they thought looked interesting, went over to him and just struck up a conversation. And every single time the guy was interested right back. Never was there any harsh rejection or awkward moments it was just as easy as saying, ‘Hello.’
I was determined to try out this amazing approach rather than wait and hope for guys to strike up a conversation with me. With that in mind, I turned to this guy and said:
“So. What’s your New Years resolution?”
He turned to me and with a big grin answered: “To stop swearing so fucking much.”
I laughed and we started talking. His said his name was Rod, he was from the North.
We were headed inside to dance and as we were leaving Kennedy chimed in: “She’s really awesome, you should definitely dance with her!”
I blushed and simply said, “Maybe I’ll see you on the dance floor.”
Us girls got close to the DJ and started busting out our best moves. I was meeting all kinds of people from all kinds of places and having the time of my life.
I spotted Rod on the dance floor and tried to dance with him. I was trying to grind up on him a little while he was flailing around spastically. He went to get a drink and didn’t offer me one.
What’s this guys deal? I can’t tell is he’s really into it.
I decided to cut my losses and continued doing my own thing.
At some point in the night I asked Rod if he had any smokes as I had already smoked an entire pack (despite again resolving the cut back.) He didn’t. He made it his mission to find me some. He asked the bouncer if he could leave to buy a pack and the bouncer informed him that tobacco could be purchased at the bar. He splurged on an overpriced pack for us to share. A man true to my heart. At some point (before the smokes? after?) we had started making out. He may have kissed me, I may have kissed him, but it was now obvious that he was, in fact, into it.
Outside, one of his friends cornered me:
“Are you taking Rod home tonight?”
I blushed and became flustered.
“Um, yeah, sure, I guess.”
“Don’t just ditch him! Cause he has no where to stay and he doesn’t know the city.”
“I swear I won’t leave him to sleep in the street,” I promised, I just wasn’t sure how he, Kennedy, and I would all fit into the van.
Jill had split without a word long ago, the ugly lights were on and Kennedy had also found a guy. We stood outside and discussed the situation. Neither of us had the option of going to our respective guys’ residence, so we agreed to go back to the van and one pair would sneak back into Jill’s house and sleep on the pull out couch.
20 minutes later we were totally and utterly lost. Kennedy was getting frustrated, I was practically napping while Rod carried me and tried to GoogleMap the location. We eventually found our van, right on the street where we left it. Kennedy and her friend disappeared into the house (we later discovered that they literally had to break in by climbing in through a window.) Rod and I were left to our own devices in the, somewhat, privacy of the van. We started fooling around, but neither of us had a condom. I was too scared of Jill’s stern roommates to risk trying to break into the house and then possibly walk in on my friend getting laid on the couch.
We tried to think of other options, but we were at a loss.
“That’s alright,” he assured me, “let’s just have a cuddle.” (I LOVE the way Kiwi men say the word cuddle, its so fucking endearing.)
We cuddled and started talking. He admitted to me he has been on acid all night and was just coming down now.
Seriously?! How do I never notice these things when I pick up men at the bar? Is it my own drunken stupidity?
He told me everything about himself, all about his job, his family, his taste in music and showed me endless pictures. He asked me lots of questions about myself which I tried to answer enthusiastically, despite the fact it was 5 am, the sun was rising and I was passing out.
In the morning I wanted to go inside and make coffee and breakfast with my friends, but didn’t quite have to heart to wake up the sleeping form beside me.
I shook him gently: nothing. I shook him a little harder: he stirred slightly. I nipped his neck. His eyes opened.
“Sorry to wake you, but I gotta go have breakfast soon. Can I drive you somewhere?”
He directed me to his friends dads place, left me the remaining cigarettes and gave me his number while insisting I call him later to meet up. He gave me a quick kiss and said, “Talk soon.”
All day I wanted to text him, but stopped myself. I finally sent him a message telling him we were hanging out at the beach and to come join us. He and his friends were literally just leaving as we arrived. I texted him later to say we were going to the local jazz festival. He messaged me to say he and his friends had decided to do the remaining acid, but they might come by the fest. I strongly advised against it. What a crazy dude.
Regardless, we soaked up the sun and the sound of bluesy melodies and then all headed downtown to watch a Gypsy Swing show. It was an amazing day spent with incredible people and beautiful music (and weather!) They say the first day of the new year sets the tone for the entire year. If that’s the case then I have a lot to look forward to.
Stumbling back down the alley to the van (Kennedy has bowed out early and gone to bed) my cellphone started ringing. It was Rod, still totally fucked up on acid, but proclaiming that he really wanted to come see me and where was I. I really wanted to see him as well, (acid or no acid) but the reality of my situation was as follows:
I was in a parking lot at 1 am. There was no where to go, nothing to do at this time of night on a Thursday.
My friend and travel companion was fast asleep in the van.
He was with his friend and they were both fucked up.
Was he expecting to get laid? What was the point of this visit?
I explained this to him as tactfully as I could and asked if maybe he wanted to go for coffee in the morning. He said he understood and apologized because they would have to leave too early to catch the ferry. We said our goodbyes and promised we’d try to meet in the North.
The next day I texted him to ask if he made it back okay, he responded that they weren’t able to book a ferry so they were still in town. I told him we were going to the beach. He showed up minutes later, friends in tow and sprawled out on the blanket next to me. I actually felt nervous in his presence. We hung out for a bit and then he and his friends had to go have dinner and then head towards to ferries; they managed to get a reservation a 2:45 am boat.
“Give us a cuddle,” he said in that adorable accent. I went in for a hug and he leaned in and kissed me. I was so surprised and taken aback it took me a minute to react and actually kiss him back. All my friends gushed about how much he must like me to come all the way out to the beach for under an hour just to see me one last time. Later that night he texted me to say how glad he was that we had met up. I beamed and patted myself on the back for picking him up and managing to play it cool.
The point of this post is not to brag about the hot guy I managed to meet. It’s to paint a picture of the stark contrast of myself back then and myself now. I truly believe that 2015 will be a prolific year for me. I’ve found the courage to come to another country and make a life for myself. I have the strength to go after the things I want and the wisdom to move on if things don’t work out the way I hoped. Right now I’m happy to follow this path I’m on and see where it takes me, rather than try to plan every stop and detour along the way.
Good bye and good ridden 2014. I deserve a fresh start.