It was early morning, midnight had come and gone, but dawn was far from rising. The heat of the day had been replaced by a cool bordering on cold, breeze. In the distance was the faint sound of dance music, carried on the wind. The Christmas lights flashed and reflected on the pool surface. The outside garden was dim except for the tea lights and flood lights obscured by the bushes.
It had been difficult enough to find him in the corner of the garden behind a giant umbrella, obscured by darkness.
Once upon a long time ago they used to sit outside like this and discuss things. Mostly him and his goings on. They hadn’t caught up in a long time. They were seasonal like that and the seasons had changed in the past year. It became difficult to just catch up now, ulterior motives were too close to the surface now. She didn’t entirely trust herself to not read into things at were both said and unsaid.
But they chatted. Initially, there were teething pains in the conversation, he spoke like he was being interviewed, charming but guarded. She asked him about his year in review and where he saw himself going in the new year. Hey, it was New Years Eve, it was appropriate.
She asked what his resolutions were.
“To be more focused, to get the school up and running. To find love somewhere along the line.”
She smiled, sad and wistful. Her immediate response was, “well, you won’t find love here.” But, she bit her tongue. The cynicism would serve no purpose.
He stared into the sky, fingers locked behind his head. She retreated into herself and thought, “love and relationships sound fun, but I’d rather have a friend.”
It was soon time to call it a night. Nothing good happens after 2am, and the hour was fast approaching. They hugged. He gave good hugs, firm and encompassing. Pressed up against him, she could inhale the mint from his chewing gum, mixed with the scent of cigarettes. She looked up at him, he leaned in, lips met and a kiss was shared. It was brief, nearly over before it began.
What’s New Years Eve without a kiss?