Fiction Friday – 4 January 2008

This Week’s Theme: What is the first New Year’s Resolution your character breaks? How soon? Why?

Five minutes to midnight. The champagne is on ice and ready, and we’re all beginning to congregate in the main hall. Another year, another set of resolutions. Why do we only think to improve our lives in the dying seconds of one year? As if that is any better time to take steps to improve our lives than any other time of year.

My hand instinctively pats at my stomach. Well, there’s the perennial favourite. Get back in shape, just like last year. I did OK this past year, I did lose a bit of weight. Christmas was my undoing, as always. So we’re going to shed a few pounds in the new year, and pack on a few in muscle. Before I get too old to be able to do anything about the shape I’m in.

Four minutes. Learn a new language. I’ve always told myself I’d learn Spanish, then travel South America, away from the tourist traps. During my gap year. After graduation. Before changing jobs. Never quite got round to it. But this year, I’ll learn the language. Definitely. Then have that adventure I always promised myself. This year.

Only three minutes now. It’s funny watching everyone milling around, trying to get close to someone they want to kiss at midnight. All the conversations are now shallow small-talk, so you can stop for midnight – or easily sneak away from someone… I’m content to just hang back here, and see in the new year in my own way.

Two minutes to go, and the champagne is popping. There are a good two dozen or so people to get round, it’ll be a close call. As the waiter hands me a champagne flute, I realise another resolution. Cut back on the alcohol. I suppose that’s part of getting in shape.

One more minute. Goodbye 2007. Goodbye bad memories. Final resolution. Not to think about her, miss her, let her memory haunt my dreams. Once again, we are strangers. I’m not going to spend another day thinking about her.

10, 9, 8…

Not one hour…

7, 6, 5…

Not one minute…

4, 3, 2, 1…

Not one second…


Everyone cheers, glasses are raised and amongst the smiles and good wishes and kisses, I raise my glass to an absent friend, and hope that her new year is happy. As the voices join together, singing “Should auld acquaintance be forgot…”, I smile at the irony. “… and never brought to mind”? I link hands with the others, and try to forget the first broken resolution of the year.

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7 thoughts on “Fiction Friday – 4 January 2008”

  1. Clever…I!!!!! Really admire you for this piece!! Let’s hope it is ‘Goodbye 2007.’……………… for you both. 2008 will be the best and all ongoing issues will be resolved…I have said so!!! Take care!

  2. This reminds me, with a slight shudder, of the email that was sent in the early hours of New Years Day, as I was sitting partially (OK quite) inebriated on the back veradah seeing the sunrise for the first time for the year. Ouch!

    And i definitely agree – what is it about the dying bit of the year that rally us to muse on the year gone and what we want for the year ahead.

    This year I’m taking the space between the end of the Gregorian calendar and the beginning of the Chinese New Year to really reflect and plan on what will be for 2008.

    Thanks for your comments also … yea those sorts of people do keep coming back time and time again – until lust sated – the division between lust and love is really understood and all parties can move on and forwards!!

    Not of course, in the slightest bit autobiographical of course (cough cough!!)

    Happy New Year!!

  3. I really enjoy the observations about the last few minutes before midnight, how the conversations change and people jockey for certain positions.

  4. I like the way it’s written – counting down to 2008. The broken resolution is easily understandable – we’ll always miss the ones who aren’t around.

    Have a good week!

  5. Don’t know if you saw tiff’s response on my FF about Shel Silverstein, but his web site is here:

    My boys (and I) love “Falling Up,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” and “A Light in the Attic.” I am sure they are all available at your local library in the Childrens section. They are delightful at worst, stunningly deep sometimes.

  6. i, too, like the structure of the piece, the counting down and the building up until we find what the real New Year’s resolution will be about. And the impossibility of keeping it. It has a sense of waste about it, which is always how New Year seems to me, more often a time when the failures and the things we haven’t done fill our mind’s than a cleansing and a clean start.

    Very simple, and elegant, and completely convincing.

  7. Regarding your question on the Write Stuff, “Has anyone been having problems getting access to my site?”

    It worked fine when I visited at 7:17 pm and thanks for the comment on my entry. 🙂

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