My Happy New Year

I’m not quite sure why exactly, but I do know exactly what I plan to wear; my black, fluffy, glitzy oversized jumper with black leggings, a smokey eye with sparkly irridescent silver eyeliner and my starry pull-through silver earrings. It’s a bit of mystery, a bit of sophistication and a lot of glitz and glam.

Matt hands me my black leather jacket and I scowl at him. Black leather? With this? Has the boy no fashion sense?

Fashion or not, it’s raining outside and he’s giving me his best “I’m not moving until you put this on” stare. I begrudgingly accept it, though I feel now how I imagine a salami would feel – all stuffed inside a tough case and with no room to breathe.

It’s that he has a brown leather jacket in an almost identical style that most gets me – sort of bomber jacket style, though not quite. I don’t hate being seen out with my hushand, not by any means, I just don’t like that whole identical clothing, matching outfits thing some couples do. In my very personal opinion it makes us seem insecure and clingy.

The tan brown leather suits him though, annnoyingly. Highly fuckable and yet cramping my style. Only Matt could get under my skin in this way.

We arrive at Mum’s house just after eight to be greeted by an oversized wolf (I think) walking on its hind legs – my brother. Where I’ve gone for glitz and glam and my Mum and Matt too are dressed for the occasion, my brother has gone for a wolf onesie and sneakers instead. Well okay then.

“Is it just me, or are your Mum’s tights a bit dangerously close to fishnets?” Matt whispers to me as we haul Christmas presents from the back of the car. I hadn’t seen them at this point, though I am a little affronted nonetheless.

“I wouldn’t know, though if they are then that’s a bit much given I wore black fashion tights on a night out with our gang once and she said that I was asking to get raped.”

“Nah. Not raped, we would never allow that” he says, I smile reassured.

“Just bred instead” he adds with a wink. I glare at him while I think of a retort, though this time I come up blank.

As it was then Mum has opted for black fashion stockings, not tights, and her red-and-black floral dress sits a little too high for comfort. They do look nice, though I’m not sure that they’re entirely appropriate for the occasion and they perhaps clash a little bit with her dress too. Black opaque tights instead? She would have totally rocked it and probably outshone me. It’s another mother-daughter clothes shop at some point or at least another pointer or two when it comes to fashion. Either way, I got this.

It does remind me too of how I taught my mother make-up, which sounds really counter-intuitive and not at all the way it should be. Hey ho.

“Shall we do Christmas?” Mum asks, it’s 9 o’clock on New Years’ Eve and here we are, ‘doing Christmas’. Such has been the spate of illnesses and work schedules this year.

Mum bought me the Chelsea boots that I asked for, or at least ones like them, though the grips on the soles probably put my old horse riding boots to shame. They’re comfortable as hell and not too high, which is a must for me after I broke my foot back in 2020.

My brother bought me a white fluffy coat, which I didn’t ask for and didn’t think would be me at all but somehow is, ish.

“You look like an extra out of that East 17 video” Matt laughs. I know exactly which one he’s getting at.

“Ding-a-fucking-ling” I say sarcastically, ringing an imaginary bell. Everyone laughs.

There’s a hamper too, though unfortunately the “sweet and spicy winter tart” had already turned. A lot of the ingredients are things my mother and brother have harvested while scavenging, and the wild garlic green pesto nibbles recipe will be pried out of them somehow yet. It’s for science. Honest.

Our Christmas hamper with homrmade nibbles
Our Christmas hamper with homemade nibbles

Mum’s mother-and-child lamp is a success, though she opened the smart bulbs first which thoroughly confused her. It turns out Mum loves mother-and-child lamps anyway, which is an unknown to me. I was going for that whole mother-and-child thing because she loves reading, she needed some light in her lounge generally and I am her child, so you know… you can see the thought process here, right? That she likes them anyway is just a bonus.

“That’s just a silly one” I say, handing over an oddly-shaped package. Inside is six bottles of Dove shower cremé.

“Oh, brilliant! I love Dove” she squeals. We’re both Dove girls. Its simple, feminine, powdery fragrance is a great base for many perfumes.

“You put it four times on your Christmas wish list, so you know, I’d just hate for you to run out now” I tease. She laughs and shakes her head.

“You were this close to getting it on a susbcribe and save” I say, holding up my finger and thumb to show a really small amount, “if I didn’t think you’d probably end me for spending my money on ‘just because’.”

“Well at least you know” she says. Exactly it. Pick your battles.

“Shall we play a game?” Mum suggests. I’m open for games, silly games, board games, card games, whatever. Not poker, though. It’s not fun when you’re playing with people who are in it to win it. Poker players like my brother.

“Sure, how about charades?” I suggest. I’m expecting whines and groans at the idea. Who even enjoys a game of charades these days?

“Go on, then” Mum says, pointing to me, “you suggested it, so it’s your turn.”

Lesson learnt. Keep your mouth shut next time and don’t play silly beggars.

We pile out onto the street just after midnight, to the fireworks going off to our left, right, and in front of us. It’s the fireworks to my left that take me for some reason, they’re more intense, more vibrant, and somehow more reminiscent of my feelings. Each firework connects with something inside of me in some way: orgasms, dates, I’m not really quite sure what. They’re both what could have been, and what I’m now letting go of.

If only he could have learned to love unconditionally and learned to share. Things could have been very, very different.

It’s not that I didn’t love him, not ever, but I loved him as well as. That’s what polyamory is and what it means – and, not instead of.

I love Matt and Bill, not Matt or Bill. He could have been part of that mix too, but alas he’s not now. Not now, and not ever again.

I did find myself singing Leah Kate’s “Ten Things I Hate About You” under my breath again, though I did raise a toast to him, too. It’s not that I wish him any harm, in fact I wish him well in his pursuit of improved mental health, his quest to find whatever it is he’s looking for and in his ambitions for his post-military employment, it’s just that he’s not for me. Nor am I for him, for that.

Shit happens.

I met some of Mum’s other neighbours and I notice the presumed boyfriend/husband of said neighbour take a notice in the new young girl/glamour puss, me. A few times I catch him staring, though mostly I ignore it. I smile and make conversation occcasionally too, though I’m sure to make conversation with his girl as well. It’s not that guys in skeleton hoodies aren’t really my thing, it’s just that guys in skeleton hoodies aren’t really my thing and I wouldn’t want her to think I was flirting. I have a soft spot for a man who dresses well and smells good, okay? Sue me.

“What’s the worst that can happen? She’s probably no more shit than I am.”

I cock an eyebrow at him. Really? Famous last words, Mr S.

“It’s not that I was second in my year’s table tennis tournament, or anything” I warn.

“This is different, this is shot pong” he states. I shrug. Well okay then.

“Want a hand up there, bro?” I ask my brother. The Big Wolf shuffles over.

“You’re my wife, you’re supposed to be on my side” Matt says.

“Yeah but… we share genes,” I say, gesturing between my brother and I as I round the table, “goes back a bit further.”

“Damn genetics!”

“And, and I quote, I ‘can’t be more shit’ than you are, so then you should stay nice and sober” I say. I flash him my most wolfish smile.

First shot is on our side and it’s my shot – a cider-brandy combo. I shrug it off. It’s warming and not too dissimilar in taste to the Kopparberg spiced apple that I have been drinking all evening. It’s not going to sit wrong later.

“So it’s like that, huh?” Matt says, watching me as I take the shot with ease.

“You made it like that, yes” I reply coolly.

It takes me a couple of practice shots, but I get the hang of shot pong eventually.


“Oops, sorry I missed” I muse as Matt fishes the ball from the shot glass and downs the shot. He shakes his head at me and I laugh.

My brother and I land seven more between us before it’s game over. We have two shots each thanks to my husband, but poor Matt has to down nine shots in total all on his own.

“You’re lethal, Mrs S” he says, he can barely stand as he drinks a pint of water to get rid of his hiccups.

“Turns out you were right, I really can’t be more shit than you” I say with a wink. He tickles me, or at least he tries to.

Bed is uncomfortable, though it’s uncomfortable because when the mattress is super soft and you’re used to sleeping on ‘rocks’ (I like a firm mattress) like I am, you will be uncomfortable. I’m partially tempted to sleep on the floor, if only because that way I will have the spinal support that I like. I try to lay on my front like usual, though even then I feel my spine bend uncomfortably forward. I feel like a banana wrapped up in meringue.

Sweet, I am sure, but not nearly so much so on four hours sleep.

“I love it! How long have you had those?” Mum asks, pointing to my Disney ‘no rest for the wicked‘ pyjamas. It hadn’t occurred to me that she hadn’t seen them before.

“Months, years even maybe?” I conclude. Two at least.

The adult-adults are up first, and I’m next up, as us Type A’s would be. My alarm sounded at 8AM, but I umm and arr for an hour between “Mum won’t mind” and “best not push it”. Not my house, not my rules after all.

We watch Snow Dogs on Netflix, which completely changes the way that I think of our relationship with dogs. I end up sat on the floor with Lady and Hugo piling on top of me, and in the moment I don’t mind it one bit. How can anyone not love these magnificent, loving, loyal, hard-working creatures? Again it baffles me.

“Have you seen Malcolm’s bit on TV?” Mum asks Andy. tt’s still around? After all of these years? Well okay.

In a weird way it doesn’t pain me to watch it, and I feel no jealousy inside. I’m a little bit proud of him, though I’m proud of me too because I know my capabilities now. This feels a lot like the exposure-response prevention that she didn’t intend for it to be. My brother was a little bit famous at one time, and that’s cool. I’m a little bit successful now, and somehow that feels better. My brother was a small-part actor, and me? I’m an enterpreneur.

I don’t think Andy is as proud as Mum may have wanted him to be, and I can’t help but feel a little bit smug about that. I suppose that’s always been a fear of mine, a fear of the past, a fear that someone (namely my father-in-law or my husband) will think that my brother is more cool than I am and I will be in a “he over me” situation once again. It’s an insecurity that I grew up with and something that I often faced, how often my mother – whether intentionally or not – detracted friends from me and to my brother. To my ‘cool’, younger brother.

Not now, not anymore. Now I have a version of “cool” all of my own.

3 thoughts on “My Happy New Year

Add yours

  1. I grew up with my sibling being the “cool” one so I definitely get how you feel. However, as we get older we also develop our own “cool” version of ourselves which is awesome. Happy 2023, have a wonderful year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We definitely do, but it’s that jealousy meanwhile that eats away at us and I think we feel eternally threatened still that it could happen again if we don’t keep up our A-game. Our minds are funny things. Thankyou, and you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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