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Happy New Year

by LMJT 

Posted: 02 January 2016
Word Count: 695
Summary: For this week's challenge. Thanks in advance for reading.

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‘Okay, that’s it,’ Sarah said, finishing off the bottle of Rioja she’d told herself she wouldn’t open. ‘No drinking on my own in 2016. None!’

It was twenty to midnight on New Year’s Eve and she was curled up on the sofa in her giraffe onesie; the one that Paul used to wear to make her laugh and that still carried a trace of the Paco Rabanne she’d given him for his birthday in June.

As a raucous group of revellers passed the window of her ground floor flat – heads thrown back with laugher - Sarah yanked the curtains closed. Not for the first time this evening, she regretted declining invitations from friends, a decision driven by pride. Most of her friends were coupled now and, while she didn’t exactly resent their relationships (envy would be a better word), she couldn’t face being the only single one in the group: no arm around her shoulder to watch fireworks, no-one to share telling a story over dinner. Nothing more than a platonic kiss on the cheek at midnight.

She and Paul had spent the majority of their five New Year’s Eves at home, curled up on the sofa with a movie or two. This time last year, they had ordered Chinese and settled down at 6pm to work their way through the original Star Wars on Blu-Ray, breaking only to get wine from the fridge (her), run to the corner shop for ice cream (him) and for impromptu, cosy, surprisingly comfortable sex on the floor (both).

Now, though, 365 days later, it was a different story; as a summary of the year’s highlights played on the TV in front of her, Sarah’s attention drifted and a montage of her own year played in her mind: the Easter break in New York for her 30th, the engagement in May, the two-week summer holiday in Greece: the lazy days on the beach and the late night dinners at candle-lit trattorias. Life just couldn’t have been better, but it was on their return home that things started to change. First came the petty squabbling, then the full-on, no holds barred arguments; the separate bedtimes and cool silences over dinner; the embarrassing return of the engagement ring to the jewellers in October and Paul moving out in November. And now December, the first full month of her being alone.

Just before midnight, she changed channels to Jools Holland’s Hootenany to countdown the New Year, the happy faces of the audience and guests in stark contrast to her own melancholy.






Happy New Year!

The people on TV embraced as multi-coloured ticker tape fell from the ceiling and a musician that Sarah had never seen or heard before started to sing Auld Lang Syne. Sarah’s bottom lip began to tremble and seconds later tears flowed freely down her cheeks. The song had always moved her, not least of all tonight, the eve of a new year that she was greeting with increased apprehension.

She was so absorbed in the song that she almost didn’t hear the phone ringing in the hallway. The answer machine kicked in before she could pick up.

‘Hi, it’s Paul and Sarah’, (his voice - she hadn’t got round to updating the message). ‘We’re not in right now, so leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.’


There was a second’s silence before a voice came on the line: ‘Sarah, hi, it’s me. You’re probably out and about, but I thought I’d try you just in case.’

Another silence. Her heart raced against her chest; her hand hovered over the phone.

He sighed. ‘I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this via the answerphone, but I’ve been thinking about you. I’ve been thinking about you so much.’ Another sigh. He cleared his throat. ‘Give me a call when you get this message. If you feel like talking, I mean. I know things got a bit weird towards the end, but I miss you. I really miss you and-,’

She took a breath and picked up the receiver. ‘I’m here,’ she said. ‘I’m here.’

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Comments by other Members

euclid at 20:44 on 02 January 2016  Report this post
Evocative. A fine story.

Thanks for the read, Liam.

I think I would have cut it short at the word: 'receiver'.


Bazz at 21:39 on 02 January 2016  Report this post
Neat story, Liam, so much summed up in the one night, the recollections, the loneliness, and then a surge of hope at the end. You paint something very real and painful in such a short piece, well done.

V`yonne at 00:02 on 03 January 2016  Report this post
I'll bet he on the corner on his mobile and he'll be there before the chimes end laugh

LMJT at 14:30 on 03 January 2016  Report this post
Thank you all for your comments.

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