The best thing about the winter months is that it gets dark early. This means that the night can begin at four in the afternoon. If you had been working, it would have meant that the night would have started at six, or seven, or even eight in the afternoon. But then again you’d be even more tired than you already are. And you promised. You already failed to do anything on your birthday, or Halloween, and you said you’d go but never did to the Christmas bash. If you miss this one, people will think you’re avoiding them.
You are, but you don’t want them to know that.
Christina has good parties. And she’s been asking you to come out for months. There’s no theme: a bonus. It’s north of the river, in a part of town with terrible connections home: a hindrance. If you’re out, you can’t leave before midnight; you’d be better off staying in if you’re doing that at this time of the year.
You’ve not done anything, but still feeling tired. Still recovering from a winter illness someone else gave you, or maybe you’re still digesting from Christmas dinner. Either way, mix it in with this arctic-level sun disappearance and it’s already beginning to feel like midnight.
It’s helpful to remember never to go to any parties that start at 4PM. These will inevitably devolve into horrorshows long before it’s advisable to. Christina’s part starts at 7. This gives you ample time to choose something to wear, leave the house, travel over a river you know is there to divide the likes of you with vastly more outgoing, happy and altogether better balanced Christinas of the world, and stumble your way into finding her place all the while being fashionably late.
The sun has been down almost four hours by the time you arrive, and you can feel the strain on your eyes as you try to convince yourself that this was a good idea. Dammit, it’s new year’s, and you’re going to make yourself enjoy it even if it kills you.
You stop at the front door and make sure you have everything before you knock on the door: keys, phone, wallet, bottle of wine to leave on the table while you drink other people’s drinks. Check. You briefly consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you that the necessary time is up, but even you’re not that neurotic. That’s a level of neuroses even Woody Allen wouldn’t touch. Besides, now that you’re out and about, you want to at least try to have some fun. You’ve spent too much time not going out that it seems like a daunting monster of a task that won’t be enjoyable. You quickly remember that you’re an idiot who does not go out nearly enough.
Good job you’re fashionably late. There are already people here, which means you can at least try to start a conversation and not just stand in the corner with your phone in your hand. Arriving too early is a great way to look awkwardly at people still fixing decorations. Better hope the corner shop is far away, you’re going to want to get out as soon as you can and stay gone for some time. Thankfully this is not the case here. You pour yourself a glass of your own wine and drink it, wishing you’d spent more time choosing one out.
Hey, these people are actually alright. Christina knows how to invite good people.
How is it not even midnight yet? It feels like it’s been night for days now. Months. No wonder people used to sacrifice lambs in the winter months in order to make the sun come up. You get the impression for a split second that this a sort of purgatory. Not nearly fun enough to be heaven, and not quite as terrible as Hell should be, but a sort of middle ground that stretches out from now until the end of time. Is this your wine? Tastes better this time around. Maybe there is something to this party business. Other people’s fun seems to be infecting you, on top of other people’s stomach flus (but you won’t know about that until the following morning). You’re starting to have fun.
The alcohol does not interact well with your general lethargy though, but you fight it. You’re glad you came out, and Christina does throw a good party. Where is she? Now seems like as good a time as any to talk to her, and tell her how great it is.
She’s by the sofas, talking to people you don’t know. If it had been Adrian or Boz or Greg, you could have interrupted. But these people? You swear they’re not even people, more the three-headed God of Not Being Able to Escape A Party Conversation. You turn around: the group you’ve been talking to has vanished into the sea of people. Great. Well, at least she’s by the couch. Just sit down and wait until she’s free.
How long until the clock strikes 0? This sofa is comfortable.
The party is still going at six in the morning, not that you’ve seen the last six and a quarter hours. You ask Christina, who appears to be free now, what happened. She says you fell asleep before the new year, but no one wanted to wake you. You thank her for a great party, and begin the weird, grey-lit walk home. You don’t feel tired anymore.
Well, people wanted you to go out more this year. Six hours in to the new year and you’re already out and about. And you thought that New Year New You stuff was crap.