The Stranger 9- Happy New Goodbye

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Harry and I were friends now, he had been in a relationship for about a year now, and I was fine with it. Or at least I was telling myself I was fine with it. I remembered the night where he introduced me to his partner. It was the biggest shock of my life, and it was the first time I felt such hatred for someone I had just met. I had looked at them both; his partner seemed confident, and sweet. Harry’s eyes were twitching. I smiled while my heart was straining for its last beat as I told them I was happy for them. While my eyes could not meet Harry’s, I looked at the wall behind him, and I said those words.

After that, I’d met him several times, a few of them his partner was with him but he had the decency not to show any sign of affection. But there was one time where I saw them kiss, and my feelings went into flames and I ran across the room to the toilet to regain my strength and stop the threat of tears.

I had said my goodbye to Harry a few days before Christmas, knowing on the holiday seasons we both had plans, me with my family and friends, him with his new love. I claimed that after New Years I would be too busy getting ready to change my life. I wasn’t busy really, I just wanted to stay away from him, and take a break from his presence before I left Beirut. I did not need any emotional holdback. My travel would become a goodbye and detachment from many things: my lifestyle, my friends and especially from my feelings towards Harry.

New Years was a day away, and I was ready to give up on him. My heart was ready to feel the goodbye I had said to him. The weather was getting colder but people’s spirits seemed uplifted. It was the holiday season. I was still in Lebanon because of some complication with my paperwork; my flight was delayed till a week after that day, and so I decided it would be the best New Years I had ever had. I did not want to stay at some house, I wanted to be out, and to party till dawn. I wanted to get wasted and welcome the New Year with friends and alcohol, loud music and dancing. Somewhere familiar, where I could be myself and get as crazy as I could want. Where else but the typical Bardo would that be, where I had spent all of my weekends?

We were full of the New Year spirit. I promised myself 2012 would be different. Reservations were made and resolutions were ready, and the 31st of December came. It was time to say goodbye, for a year that had gone by, for my home and for my friends, and for everything that had held me back. I put on my finest clothes and remembered that my life was going to take a turn in a week.

Bardo was neatly decorated, hundreds of balloons spread across the tiny place, and when I claimed my table I found my holy grail waiting for me. Bottles and bottles of alcohol. I began to drink as the music slowly rose and became upbeat. When the mid-night countdown came, I was getting emotional as a thousand ideas came across my mind in those 10 seconds. This might be the last countdown under such circumstances. Who knows where I will be next year? Where was Harry to kiss me when it’s midnight? Will my friends remember me after I leave? Consumed in my ideas, I heard jeering and screaming from around me. People were hugging me and kissing me and I felt myself at the verge of tears. But I composed myself as the music went louder. I danced on tables and couches and every surface I could find. I drank and I sang lyrics I did not know. My friends and I sat no minute of break and we rode the music up to its last beat. It was a tiresome night, but I enjoyed every minute of it. And when it was 5 am and dawn was nearing, the people were starting to leave and the place was almost empty. We were supposed to leave Bardo and resume our party somewhere else. Jad asked if it was alright if he invited someone with us, and I told him it was okay, the more the merrier. He told me his friend was on his way. I picked up my things, ready to leave, and went to the toilets. When I came back, Jad’s friend had arrived.

The drinks were drank, the music was fading, and the party was ending. The balloons hung in surrender, and confetti littered the floor. Chairs were overturned and the waiters were cleaning after everyone had left. My mind was buzzing from the alcohol I drank, and I looked at Jad in disbelief. Anger shot at me and I almost hit him with my glass. But my heart was too weak for that. His “friend” was Harry.

Harry looked at me across the remains of the party, smiled and whispered to me.

“Happy New Year”.

[…to be continued]

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6 thoughts on “The Stranger 9- Happy New Goodbye

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