It's December 31 somewhere in the world and also in this basement.
I'm at my roommate's friend's cousin's boyfriend's party.
I'm half in love with said friend.
Chinese lanterns are hanging from the pipes.
Leftover Christmas lights flicker in organized patterns from the windowsill.
In my right hand is a plastic cup of beer.
It's Molson Canadian from the keg under the stairs.
My left is buried deep into my jeans pocket.
I have a memorial quarter in my pocket.
If I drank more I'd be less self-conscious.

The beer isn't working and I'm not talking to anyone.
I feel stupid standing in one place.
I'd rather stand in one place than have someone walk away.
The girl with the noisemaker is getting on my nerves.
There's an underage drunk kid puking in the bathroom with the door wide open.
My cousin had asked me to baby-sit tonight.
Her son is seventeen.
He's sitting next to the fireplace and talking dirty to my roommate.
I'm going to be in so much trouble tomorrow.

There's a girl on the other side of the room with her eye on me.
Maybe it's because I'm in front of the keg.
She comes closer.
I try not to look her directly in the eyes.
I am neither predator nor prey but I can't tell the difference.
Neither can she.
She stops right in front of me.
I can see her nipples through her shirt.

I hold my breath.
She just reaches past me and grabs a cup.
I don't touch her at all.
Instead I swig back the rest of my beer.
The guy beside me does the same.
He salutes and walks off.
I stand there and feel tired.

I don't want to be here.
I don't know anyone.
I don't have the energy for partying.
I don't want to enjoy myself.
I can smell vomit from where I'm standing.
So I move.

"This year was so great."
"Next year's gonna be awesome."
"It's crazy how we had snow in November and now it's raining."
"When does that extra second happen?"
"I am so drunk right now."

I end up on the couch.
It'srose pink and smells like ethanol.
I go to take a drink and realize my cup is empty.
There's a full one on the table so I take it.

A body flops down next to me on the couch.
It's someone I don't know already.
The countdown is just starting but people are already shouting Happy New Year.

Like it fixes everything and everyone instead of just an excuse to make out.
Everyone's wrapped around another person and my roommate is defiling my cousin's son.

I turn to the person next to me and he kisses me first.

Happy New Year.