“Happy New Year!” Holly declared as he plopped down on the bench next to Aaron and immediately chugged half of her coffee.
It was New Year’s Day and the best friend were seated on their favorite bench next to the river.
Aaron made a big deal of checking his watch so that Holly was aware that she was late. Then he took a sip of his Snapple.
“Happy New Year,” he replied without much enthusiasm. “Looks like someone had a rough night.”
Truth be told, Holly looked as beautiful as ever, but her hair was pulled back in a lazy bun that was half falling out of the scrunchy. And she wore sunglasses on an overcast morning, which Aaron knew was her go to move when she was dealing with a hangover.
She shrugged. “Some of us aren’t recluses who never leave cold, loveless embrace of their basement bunker. It was New Year’s Eve, so I went to a party. And even though I’m hungover and exhausted, I still dragged my butt over to meet my best friend for our regular Sunday chat.”
She stuck out her tongue at him before gulping down more coffee.
“Bully for you,” he remarked. “You wear the aftermath of your social mingling well.”
Holly made a face. “That was an awkward sentence even for you.”
He shrugged, but did not disagree. “Well, go ahead. Get on with it.”
Holly was confused for a moment, but then she smiled. “You want me to ask if you’ve made any New Year’s resolutions.”
“It’s your tradition, isn’t it? Akin to my locking myself away to avoid the drunken rabble on New Year’s Eve, you insist on kicking off every New Year’s Day by asking me about my resolutions even though you know I don’t make any.”
“Would that have anything to do with the fact that you think January 1 is just like any other day of the year? That all the day symbolizes is another journey completed around the sun? That the holiday was created by Big Calendar to sell more products? That promises to make life changes can be made and broken any old time of year?”
He worked to force back a smile because he was proud of her for remembering the key bullet points of his argument without any notes or prompting.
“Sounds about right,” he conceded and then took another sip of Snapple.
“I know you’re a big believer in signs,” she pointed out. “Well look across the water. There’s a massive rainbow spanning the sky over Stephen King’s side of the river. That must mean something.”
“Yeah. It means our neighbor is going to churn out 800 pages this year about a New Year’s Day rainbow that appeared over Bangor and brought about the end of the world, or a zombie invasion, or caused dogs to talk and cars to come to life.”
Holly chuckled. “You’re so demented. Only you could see a New Year’s Day rainbow as a harbinger of horrible things to come.”
He raised an eyebrow to the comment. “I accept your compliment.”
Now she full on laughed. “Come on, weirdo, work with me here. Let’s pretend the rainbow is a sign from the Fates that you’re supposed to try something new and make a New Year’s resolution.”
“Does this really mean that much to you? If I make up something will you finally shut up about it?”
“Let’s work under the belief that I will drop it if you give me an answer,” she replied.
“Fine. Then I resolve to be less of a prick in the new year.”
“Well you’re certainly not off to a good start,” she quipped.
“Leave me alone before I steal your sunglasses and make high pitched screeching noises to encourage your hangover headache to achieve its full potential,” he threatened.
“Why do I put up with you?” she grumbled.
“Maybe figuring out the answer to that one should be your New Year’s resolution…”
She just shook her head and then turned her attention to the rainbow.
Happy New Year!!!
Lovely photo of the rainbow over Stephen King’s side of the river, Austin, and good writing working it into Aaron and Holly’s New Year’s story! Happy 2023 to you, good sir.
Happy New Year, Mark!
Even hungover Holly is fiesty! I love their banter!!
I certainly wouldn’t mess with her. 🙂
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