It’s New Years Eve and the ground lay bare without snow in Toronto. I dress up even though you and your friends don’t believe in New Years Eve. In the afternoon we’re at your French relatives house, eating canapés that are impossible to identify. They’ve pickled herring for me and in front of a whole french audience I eat the fish I didn’t want to touch. One cannot possible let this many relatives down if I want to ever come back. The clock strikes 6pm and there is champagne and kisses and a thousand French words for everybody, because it’s now 2015 in France. In Stockholm too, I try to convince them and they play Abba for me in response. My lungs ache with approaching fever and my head spin slightly from the beers, but it feels lovely, especially as the family’s large fat cat spreads out in my lap.
With bags full of clinking bottles we enter the tube a few hours later. It’s spewing out drunk Torontonians in sequins and hopes of getting laid. Your friend’s flat fills up pretty quickly and your sister make me bloody marys because I’ve told her it’s my favourite hangover cure. I swirl around leaving traces of my perfume hanging in the air and barely know a single song we play. I’m slightly sick but happy as fuck for finally ending this stupid weird year of 2014. If I can manage the turbulence of the past 12 months, I must be tougher than I thought.
You play my favourite track as the countdown begins and the room fills with cheers and screams. It’s silly that a second is suppose to matter this much. When it’s over and done the song doesn’t stop until another minute. That’s when you suddenly stand in front of me, worryingly putting my face in your hands. I forgot to kiss you at midnight! You switch between my eyes to try and find something to confirm your fear. When you don’t you continue. Are we the worst couple in history? It makes me laugh, maybe because I’m a bit drunk, or maybe because I think all couple cliches are ridiculous. Sometimes we really do suck, I tell you, but at least we are great at making up for it. You smile and gently press me against the living room wall with all your friends around. Your fingers are in my hair and these seconds are longer than any damn countdown in the world. I do get kissed. So who gives a fuck.
Around us all the Canadians play music I haven’t heard of and they get so into it that it’s impossible to dislike any of it even though it’d never be allowed into my itunes. Nobody wants to leave the flat because it’s at that point in the night where all those brilliant tracks just suddenly comes to mind and there are too many too queue and not nearly enough time. We finish the whiskey but not the discussions but somehow manage to spill out on the street. Outside it’s icy but we barely notice. We jump some tram and enter some bars where your friends have been waiting. They are almost empty and we could not care less but order drinks and fall into walls that drop their paintings.
Hours later we somehow end up at a diner because according to me it’s impossible not to when celebrating NYE in North America. In a corner booth we squeeze in all twelve of us. It’s loud and busy and hot, with cutlery slamming against floors and girls laughing louder than explosives. Somebody drops my camera and my new expensive lens cracks and I don’t even get upset because we’ve ordered deep fried mac’n’cheese balls and strawberry milkshakes. And I feel light and not heavy. When the taxi arrives at home the snow flies furiously around and I can feel my body fainting from exhaustion and fever. I shiver the whole night but you wrap your arms around me and it almost stops. Time stops. Perhaps it’ll always be January 1 2015.
The remaining two days of the trip I’m almost unconscious from fever. I hate this stupid thing of being apart from you and having spent two weeks getting used to being together again, I ache. The flight home takes 18 hours and I don’t get well until we’re in my bed in Stockholm. My family isn’t home and the house is cold but I pass out instantly next to you eating takeaway McDonald’s.
Jet lag holds us victims and I wake up at 4.30am and whisper quietly to see if you’re awake too. You are. With two duvets and all of my pillows we go downstairs and crawl into the sofa. It’s pitch black for another four hours and I shriek because it is so nice to lie here on your chest and watch shitty tv all alone in an empty house. Just us, and a new better, kinder year.