seconds out, round ten

I am standing at the kitchen window with a small cup of Columbian freeze dried instant granules. Watching the snow come down in flurries and leap back up on a suddenly warmer cushion of air. Those fat soft flakes resemble something out of a tv advertisment for dishwasher detergents.

A couple of seagulls wheel into the frame. Gliding. Snapping at the flakes with their beaks. Puppies chasing an avalanche of tiny rubber balls. Let me tell you. New Year\’s Eve is one of those few occasions when I am not provoked into hoovering up more alcohol than a general practitioner would safely allow. It has something to do with seasonal overindulgence being not just permissible, but roundly encouraged. Like a father catching his twelve year old smoking and reining in his disappointment and wrath.

\”Go on then. Smoke the whole damn packet. Every last one of them.\” You know what the game is about but you roll into the sucker punch regardless.

New Year\’s Eve is a lot like that. Hogmany. Ordinarily recreational drinkers pouring down one tumbler after another and taking a dive.

Well, of course. I went at it just the same – a shade earlier than strictly seemly, maybe – and while I didn\’t weave clear of a standing count just before the bells, I didn\’t go down either. I wobbled on my feet. I ducked the KO; all bets off as 2010 sidled in like a nervous scout sent before the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

I pumped hands and exchanged kisses with my son and stepchildren. Grinning lopsidedly with nothing more alarming than Merlot staining my lips. Not a bruise in sight.

\”Happy New Year, dad!\” they chorused.

\”Happy New Year!\” I conceded. The tv flashbulbed in the corner. The routine inanity and the bagpipe drone. Auld Lang\’s Syne.

What a lot of piss. I went into the kitchen and lit a cigarette. Emptied my glass into the sink.

On the good foot. Not so much a resolution as a tiny pocket of resistance.


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