See you when I get back. Happy new year, K. Have fun at CF’s.
I sighed heavily, tossing my phone on the bed. I’m heading over to CF’s for her New Year’s Eve dinner. CF, the band’s stylist, was the first of H’s friends I’ve ever met, mainly because H dotes on CF’s daughter, Lil. And she’s a really, really adorable kid, so much so that there are days that H and I would head on over to CF’s house just to play with Lil.
CF and her family were adopting me for this holiday celebration while H is gone.
He’s in New York City, off to see the ball drop at the Times Square for the New Year. 2011. We’ve known each other for two months, still trying to feel our way through it. The awkward getting to know you stage that I hate.
Yes, we’re not celebrating our first New Year together.
And to top it off, there is an ex that keeps getting in the way.
Hey, don’t look at me—my ex is far, far away. His, on the other hand, while far away, couldn’t seem to let go.
And I think she has a semi-valid reason to hang on if the man hasn’t really completely let go of her either.
Don’t get me wrong—I would probably like her had she had not been H’s ex. She seemed like this really, really sweet girl, who is most likely misunderstood by everyone else because she’s projected as a lady who has dated half of Hollywood—and beyond—before she was even 25. (She’s 24, and as of the last count, she’s dated 20 guys… including H). We’d probably be friends if we met—and most likely we will meet in the future, should H and I be together for a long time.
But there is another side to the proverbial coin that is the ex. She writes songs about her previous relationships, with little to no care at all if the public would know who the song is about. I must admit that I had enjoyed listening to her songs before, including the experience of trying to figure out who the songs are about, but this is different.
When H is involved, it’s different.
So yes, when she and H broke up, everybody knew why. Everybody knew what they did when they were together—and even when they’re not. Everybody knew what they fought about, and every single little thing about their relationship (e.g., how H would hug her from behind or how he blows kisses at her just before he leaves, how they both favor blueberry pancakes and how H likes his with tons of whipped cream, etc.). If I am correct with my guesses, out of the fifteen songs in her fourth (post-breakup) album, twelve were about H.
They were too private, too secret memories that she had shared to the world. I told H one time that I felt a bit betrayed for him when she released those songs, but H had shrugged me off.
“I wrote about her too, you know,” he said, and I rolled my eyes at him. “Sure, but your songs about her are as vague as they can get. It could be just about any other girl. Hers? She had stamped your name all over those songs.”
He told me it wasn’t an issue, so I shouldn’t be bothered about it.
She called a couple of days ago, when H and I were at his place, preparing dinner. H had to leave the room but I could still hear his half of the conversation.
I dunno. It’s a bit of a short notice… Yeah, but— Okay. I will see what I can do. Thanks for the invite, S…. Yeah, maybe. Will let you know…. Take care too.
When he got back to the room, he told me that S had invited him to head to the New York City, for the annual New Year’s Eve party at Times Square. She was performing, and she’s wondering if he’s interested to fly over and celebrate New Year there.
Just like old times, huh. Last year they were there, in a liplock at the center of Times Square, most likely hoping that they’d end the year right if they start it together. Four months later, they broke up.
“Well, we still have no plans,” H rationalized. I knew at that moment that he had already considered it and made a decision prior to even discussing it with me, so I didn’t even bother bring up that CF had invited us for New Year’s Eve just yesterday.
“Okay,” I merely said, making sure that disappointment was evident in my voice that he could actually feel it. He walked over to me, cheese in one hand. He reached over and touched my hand, and I gave him a sad smile.
“Why do you want to see her, H?” I asked, my voice still able to manage the pain. We are still happy, aren’t we? I added in my head.
He opened his mouth and then closed it again, and then I just sighed in response, pulling my hand away from his and started off to drain the pasta. He did a sigh of his own before heading towards the range for the sauce.
I am pretty sure that on any other day the pasta was delicious, but it was tasteless to me on that night.
I was about to leave for CF’s house when my phone started to ring, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick it up because it was H on the other line. I did a quick mental count and I know that it’s close to midnight in New York already, as there was five hours difference between here and there.
“What, can’t find S to kiss when the ball drops?” I asked loudly, still not picking up. I ignored the call, seeing that H didn’t leave any voicemail, and then locked the door of my place. After a few minutes, I get a text from him, saying, “Hey. Text me when I can call?”
Again, I ignored it, not wanting any contact with H just yet.
I was already hopping into a cab when I get a call again from him, and when I ignored it, I got another. He didn’t stop until I picked up. “Yeah,” I greeted, albeit a bit cold. I could barely hear H with all the noise going on behind him—the performances on stage, the noisy crowd.
“Thank God, you finally picked up—”
I had to pull the phone away from my ear a few centimeters as he was shouting. “Please stop shouting because I’m already regretting I picked it up,” I answered loudly, and then I heard him cover the mouthpiece of his phone, and then I heard a bunch of “excuse me” and “coming through” from him, and then a number of people squealing and calling his name.
When he came back on the line after a couple of minutes, the sound was a bit muted, like he went into a building or something.
“Sorry for that. It’s crazy out here,” H said, breathless. I heard him utter an ‘oops, sorry,’ before it felt like he wasn’t on the move anymore.
“I can hear that.” I was calm this time, surveying the streets and seeing people with their loved ones and friends heading off to various parties and dinners.
I heard him exhale slowly, and I stayed quiet. He called, so he should be the one doing the talking. A few seconds ticked by and then he whispered, “Where are you?”
“On my way to CF’s.”
“I wish I’m there with you.”
I smirked, and then said, “What, not enjoying NYC?”
He chuckled a bit, and then he said when he stopped, “I can see your smirk from here.”
I rolled my eyes and he plowed on. “I think I might have made a mistake of heading here. I should be there with you.”
“May I ask how you got to this realization?”
H cleared his throat, and I checked my watch, seeing that we’re thirty seconds away from New Year in his time zone. “It just felt like something is missing. You are missing. I look around and I see people together and all I could think about was you and you’re there and I’m not there with you.”
“I can see and feel that.”
“Shh!” I cut him off, and seeing the time down to fifteen seconds. I think he heard it too—as I heard the crowd starting the countdown behind him.
“Eight…” I started, my voice trailing, and H picked up on it. “Seven.”
H sighed before saying it. “One.” We both took deep breaths, and then said the three words at the same time, “Happy New Year.”
The crowd behind him cheered, and I smiled. I could imagine the atmosphere there, and I could imagine H, inside a building away from the festivities, talking to me. The fireworks started to boom behind him.
“You should be there, outside, enjoying the fireworks, H.”
I smiled, and even though he was far away, I could feel that he smiled too. We stayed on the line, waiting for the fireworks to finish, the silence between us comforting.
“I’m taking the first flight home.”
The cab slowed down to a stop in front of CF’s home, and I paid the driver before scuffling out of the taxi. “Hold on,” I told him. CF opened the door, with Lil bopping happily at her hip, and I covered the mouthpiece.
“H is on the line. Can we gather—”
CF didn’t even let me finish as she was already calling out instructions to everyone at the party. And then I held the phone up, and after a quick count of three, everybody shouted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR, H! WOOHOO!”
I went back on the line just in time to hear H chuckling. “Hurry back. Be safe. Will wait for you,” I told him. “Take care.”
“Have fun at the party,” H said, and then he ended the call. I turned to CF, and she winked at me. “He took an expensive way to realize he doesn’t like S anymore,” she said, and I took Lil from her, grinning from ear to ear.