I picked up Marie at her dad’s house, as soon as I was taking out my phone to call her she came out of the front —and only— door. I greeted Mr. Steele from my car, he was wearing a bright pink mask that he bought on amazon thinking it was red. Marie got into the car, as usual, she sanitized her hands using the last drops of Germ-X left in the bottle, and we kissed. Who would’ve thought that in these modern times kissing was capable of such harm?
“How’s your dad?” I asked, diverging my thought from the constant reminder of death.
“Alright, I don’t think he’ll ever get used to living by himself,” she replied while texting her mom we were on our way.
We were throwing a “massive” three-people New Year celebration, Marie, Kate, and I. Kate, Marie’s mom had the tradition of cooking military-level amounts of food and inviting every living soul she knew in town. Completely the opposite of my parents, who don’t really believe in celebrating the New Year. The past two new year celebrations had been great with Marie, before that, I barely cared about our little blue dot completing a circle around the sun. We got to Marie’s home, I parked, and took out a pair of party-sized Doritos bags, and went inside. Kate sprayed us both with 90-degree alcohol. Kate was surprisingly cheery even though her dad died back in august because of Covid. Those last three words defined the year. Anything bad that happened was —is— almost certainly followed by: “because of Covid.” The clock marked 9:30 PM Kate took out leftover decorations from past years, she gave us party hats that said “2010,” and “2015,” respectively.
“I threw away the 2020 ones,” Kate said.
“I wouldn’t expect less, Mom,” Marie said.
Marie and I giggled. I looked at Marie and couldn’t believe this would be our third new year together. I always thought new year’s kisses were overrated but with two —almost three— years of experience I can certify that I was wrong.
“Why are you looking at me?” Marie said probably thinking she had a spider on her head.
“I can’t look at you? Look at yourself! You’re adorable,” I said while squeezing her cheeks.
It was 11:25 PM. Kate said we should pray and thank God for getting to the finish line and pray for those who didn’t. A few tears slid down her face after saying that. Marie hugged her, I hugged Marie, we were all hugging. Hugging: another beautiful thing 2020 managed to turn into an almost biological weapon.
It was 11:45 PM. Marie and I were playing Plants vs Zombies on my phone, Kate was looking for “New year music” on YouTube. A Geico ad blasted through a massive sound system Marie’s dad didn’t manage to get after the divorce. New year’s always make me nervous, they didn’t use to since I went to sleep at 10 PM back when I spent the holiday with my parents, but now, being awake is nerve-wracking. There’s this feeling that everything will be fine and big things are going to change, the amount of weight we put on the new year is abysmal. I’m just thankful for what I have, especially Marie. It was 11:59 PM. Auld lang syne started playing, I grabbed Marie’s hand. The fireworks started to sound in the distance.
It was Midnight. I kissed Marie, Marie hugged Kate. Kate forgot about Covid protocols and hugged me as well. I could feel my shirt getting wet from her tears. It was a rough year for virtually everybody. I kissed Marie again, and we started dancing to the rhythm of Auld Lang Syne, hoping the rest of the year will be as good as the first three minutes.
© Gabriel Berm
I highly recommend this version of Auld Lang Syne, they’re great.