Cassie was out with friends for a New Year’s Eve party, and I had expected Nikki to drag me to yet another grand ball or party at the Fairhaven Club with the city’s elite, but instead we watched bad horror movies with Elvira hosting. It was like a normal date night, and the best New Year’s Eve in memory.
“Do you know,” she began, interrupting the commercial for the latest spray-on sealant, which I muted. “I have never been one to truly celebrate the new year. The world’s claims of a time of rebirth or reinvention held no interest for me.”
“Well, yeah, immortality’ll do that to you.”
“I witnessed historic revolutions that promised to shake the pillars of nations, and was part of the smaller, personal revolutions in countless lives, and the constant I saw was that change doesn’t happen with the tick of a clock from one second to the next.”
“So you’re not going to be resolving to lose weight next year? I only mention it—”
She put a finger on my lips, silencing me. “To try and distract me from a melancholy thought. I appreciate the misdirection for what it is, but allow me to finish, Matthew.”
“The seconds, minutes, hours, or even days, weeks, months, and years to not produce change. I have never regarded the calendar as having any power over my outlook on life as the decades and centuries have produced very little change in society or in myself. However, I look back at this year as one of remarkable change, of intimacy with you.”
“Um, well, I—” I stammered, but she again shushed me.
“Do not think I am looking for some long-term commitment, Matthew. Merely take it for the compliment that I intend that for the first time in a long time I have looked back on this year and regret its passing, yet I also look forward to what the new year may bring, not because I resolve to make changes, but because this chapter of my life, with you in it, continues.”
I gave her a small grin. “I never really thought about it like that. Especially in recent years with all the craziness, I’ve kind of looked forward to the new year as a way to leave the old behind. But you flipped it. The parts of the old year you choose to take with you into the new. And for what it’s worth, I feel the same way. ‘If that new year leaves the ground and you’re not with me, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.’” I tried not to lay my Bogart impression on too thick, but couldn’t help but slip into it.
“I’ll allow the sentiment, but please leave the impression in the old year.”