Punching in the New Year

Her visit had been warranted by their plans to ring in the New Year, though so far, their only plans had been to spend it together. As December 31st was at its halfway mark, they decided to solidify what they would actually be doing, not wanting to just sit around at home. They thought going down the street to the local pub for a beer while watching the ball drop, would be a good plan. His mom had given him a large bottle of Moscato that they guzzled down quickly. They had set aside a bottle of red for the occasion as well. This bottle had been one they saved for months, since it had been expensive (well expensive for them). A few quick smells and they decided that the bottle may be corked due to the moldy smell. 20 bucks was 20 bucks, so they drank it anyway.

“You know what we should do?” He asked her as she changed from one outfit to the next.

“What?”

“We should go downtown to the bars. I can park my truck there, we can get a cab home, and then tomorrow we can go get it in your car if you want to.” Her expression changed into elation. She was finally going to get her late drunken bar night with him that she had always wanted. Before leaving, they ordered Chinese food, knowing they would be hungry when they got back and that no one would be delivering when they did.

One of his buddies from back home was in town. They agreed to meet up later in the night, as he and she loaded themselves into his truck. The three large glasses of wine, though drank over a four-hour time span, had already gone to her head. When they decided to leave, she gulped down the final few mouthfuls quickly. He had finished his last sip of wine long before she even hit the halfway point, making him more than okay to drive.

It took several minutes for them to find a side-street parking spot that they wouldn’t have to pay for. The chill of winter bit at their limbs along the five-minute walk to their first bar of choice. “It shouldn’t be too busy. All the students are gone.” He suggested, though she figured the opposite.

“Babe, its New Year’s Eve. Everyone probably came back to celebrate at the bars.” She was very right. Their first stop was a place they had been to a few other times before. It was packed full of people wearing their New Year’s Eve best, laughing and drinking with friends, lost in their own social circles. They decided to belly up to the bar. He ordered a Guinness while she got a BIG beer of Blue Moon. She hadn’t realized just how big the BIG beer was until it was set in front of her, emasculating his pint-sized glass of Guinness.

He finished his beer much quicker than she was able to finish hers. After a while he began helping her, it was coming time for a change of scenery. She snatched up a New Year’s Eve headband from the bar top upon their exit. It made her feel festive. The night was going great. Not once did she ever worry about anyone else around them, including the girls who didn’t think at all about the freezing weather outside when they got dressed for the evening. Down the street was a bar that was popular downtown. As they pulled out their IDs, the bouncer asked for a $5 cover, which to them equaled an entire beer. This turned them around immediately in the direction of the bar right across the cobble stone walkway.

It was almost 11 when they ordered a round of Blue Moons. They looked to the TV that was showing Times Square. He and she longed to go back. It seemed as though they were taking a moment of silence, as they mutually imagined being there. Their conversation turned into a discussion about how crazy the subways would be. Almost missing the ball drop, they kissed for New Year’s on New York time. There was still another hour before they were greeted by 2014.

He texted his buddy, inquiring on his whereabouts. For a while there was no word. They finished their beers, finally finding out his buddy was at a bar a few streets over. It was one that usually held small concerts. If she had to choose her favorite bar downtown, this was it. They again stepped up to the bouncer with their IDs, their hands already marked with a stamp and a smiley face. He asked them for a $10 cover, which made them leave without a thought. “Guess my buddy will have to meet us somewhere else. I’m not paying ten bucks to get in. That’s like two beers each.”

Right down the street, they moseyed into a bar that graduate students usually flocked to. It took longer to get beers since the place was swarming with people. They were feeling pretty drunk at this point, though they maintained a balance by taking breaks in between drinks to bar hop. Just as they found a good spot to stand with their beers, the final seconds of 2013 ticked by. “5…4…3…2…1 Happy New Year!” The crowd roared as he scooped up her face in his hands, kissing her passionately.

“I love you so much!” They both exchanged while smiling. They rushed to finish their beers so they could move again, hopping next door to a bar where they had once shared a drink. More Blue Moon was served. They found a dark corner booth where they sat and attempted to take pictures. The bar was far too dark and they were far too drunk. Out of the twenty-five photos they snapped, there were only about four that weren’t blurry.

His buddy was able to coerce them into returning to her favorite bar. He and she were still very reluctant to pay the $10 cover. As luck would have it, he couldn’t open the zippered pocket of his coat where his cash was. They stepped to the side as she tried to assist him but it wouldn’t budge. The bouncer was distracted. He saw this as an opportunity to blend with the crowd and sneak in. She was initially upset, since he ditched her to do so; but she ran into his buddy. All three of them were finally united and he and she were able to keep their money. His buddy got them a round of Bud Light tall boys. They were drunk enough that the beer seemed to taste like nothing…luckily. They all got talking, mainly about school and drunken nonsense. At one point, the conversation turned to his buddy kissing a girl, and for a reason unknown he offered her up. She refused.

He bought the three of them Vegas Bombs. After taking his, he headed to the bathroom. While he was away, a very tall man with a beanie offered her and his buddy two tall boys of Bud Light. “I can’t find my friends. Do you guys want these beers?” She and his buddy took them gratefully. When he returned, she gave him the rest, while explaining what had happened. He laughed, shocked that someone had been so generous.

It was later than they thought. The lights came on bright, signaling that the bar was closing. They headed out the door along with another friend of his from high school. When they stepped outside, she noticed one of her friends. She tried to introduce him to her, but it somehow became an icy conversation that couldn’t have ended fast enough. The boys had to pee, deciding that the nearest alley way was the best idea. She was frantically calling cabs with no luck, the good mood of the night dissipated.

In the distance, they could see the figure of a man approaching them. They thought nothing of it, continuing conversation in the alley. The man broke the distance between them, beginning to yell out vulgar comments. He wasn’t happy about this, especially as the man drew closer. The man attempted to fight him but he defended himself, checking the man with his body. She could see the man tumble to the ground in a lump, the boys laughing in the background. That was their cue to leave the alley.

The man hadn’t had enough. He and she were confronted by the man who could barely put together a coherent sentence. A punch was sent, hitting him in the face. The man was greeted with another check to the ground, as she began to cry in hysterics. She was not about to have him go to jail, especially not because of some creepy drunken idiot. His buddy grabbed her by the arm, dragging her down the street as she cried. Some random guy inquired, but she explained that she was fine. Meanwhile, another man had attempted to pick a fight with him. He refused, not wanting to fight if he didn’t have to.

Once they all met back up, they walked to a distant hotel. They were able to snag a cab, though the driver ripped he and she off once they dropped his friends off. When they got inside, she was already upset by the night’s end. He wasn’t happy either. They fought for over an hour, with loud fights and crying.

The next morning, they melted the ice that had frozen over their relationship. They recounted the contents of that final hour at the bars along with pieces of the fight. The conversation ended in a hug and a promise to stray from having another spat like that again. Their hangovers were ever present, but they spent the day napping in each other’s arms.

Hello 2014, it’s nice to meet you, too!

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