The Diary (Sequal To The Pact)
Loud music and screams from drunk people filled my ears as I made my way through the crowd of a New Year’s Eve party. I heard everyone getting more exited as the last minutes of this year went by. In the corner of my eyes I could see the background of golden straps before which we always took pictures every year. This had become a little tradition of the band and our girlfriends.
Our little group of friends that seemed so invincible. It was amazing that the girls got along so well and were now best friends too. That group was something I wish never vanished. But I knew for a fact that if one of the couples broke up, there would be shards in the friendship of the whole group. I didn’t want to be the person to have that on my conscience.
I wiggled my way through a couple violently kissing each other and two drunk girls dancing, accidently hitting people in their faces who passed by. And of course, I wasn’t an exception. “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am!” one of them said loudly giggling. She waved her bottle of beer around and a few drops spilled over the top.
The other girl made noises that reminded me of a dying goose and it took me a while to understand that she was actually laughing. “That’s not a woman, Sandy! That’s a guy!” she said as she kept laughing and struggling to breath.
“Oh shit, you’re right! Sorry about that! Happy new year, Dude!” Sandy screamed at me.
I just smiled politely and tried not to be offended by her drunk misperception. Normally I would’ve laughed about it and made a joke to them. But I hadn’t seen Danielle in more than an hour and it was almost midnight. Of course it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we skipped our midnight kiss one year, but I would be lying if I said it wouldn’t be a shame.
I looked at the clock on the wall and saw that there was only a minute left until midnight. Shit.
I saw Mike standing with his arm around Alysha, through the hordes of people that were standing in the kitchen. His eyes met mine and a confused expression took over his face when he noticed that Danielle wasn’t with me. I answered his expression by raising my arms in a confused gesture. I turned around before he would help me search for her. She probably just couldn’t find me either since it was so crowded. I didn’t want to ruin his night for nothing.
As I was slipping through the hallway, I heard the first people starting to count down from twenty. A few of them looked up at me and were probably wondering why I was prying myself through the crowd, but most of them either didn’t see me or didn’t want to see me.
As the counting had reached ten, I leaned back so I could watch op the stairs, but I had basically given up already. I wasn’t going to find her before midnight.
The crowd yelled out ‘Happy new year!’ and I could hear the faint sound of fireworks from far away. I dripped off into another hallway where some people patted me on the back and wished me a happy new year. I mumbled something inaudible back and smiled.
I couldn’t believe she would leave me alone like this on New Year’s Eve. We had shared a kiss every year. Of course, I couldn’t expect every tradition of us to be maintained after more than three years of being together. But as much as I didn’t want to admit it, it did kind of hurt.
I gave up trying to find her and tried to find a place where it was a little less crowded.
Every room was pretty much packed with people, so that wasn’t easy. An hour ago, I thought that was amazing. I loved seeing all my old friends and most of these people were pretty fun. But at this moment everyone seemed unnecessarily happy.
I opened another door, expecting to be welcomed by another swarm of people, but was actually met by the cool interior of a garage. Except for the usual things like bikes, other sports gear, layers of dust and tools, the room was empty. I quickly closed the door behind me before people saw me go in this room and sat down on some wooden planks.
A deep breath escaped my lungs as I enjoyed the sudden silence. It wasn’t completely silent of course. Since the garage door let immediately to the backyard I could hear the fireworks louder now and I could still make out faint screams and music coming from the living room. But at least it was better than the rest of the house where you couldn’t even turn around without bumping up to someone that started some stupid conversation about nothing.
I dragged my hands over my face. Of course, this kiss thing shouldn’t have been such a big deal to me. And it wasn’t. It was just a stupid cliché thing that every couple did.
The thing that weirded me out though, was the fact that I wasn’t surprised. Nothing really odd had happened between me and Dani, but there was something distancing us. It was just a feeling, but I hoped that it was nothing. I didn’t think I could take another break up. Dani was the love of my life. If this wouldn’t work out, then I didn’t think there was someone meant to be with me. I knew I thought the same thing after my last break up and a few months later I got together with Danielle. Life could be weird like that.
But somehow, I thought it would be official if this went to crap. I was in my mid-thirties and the chance of ending up in a normal relationship with a job like mine was slim to none anyway.
I took my hands of my face and started scrolling through my Instagram feed without really looking at the pictures. It really couldn’t take my mind off things.
I stopped scrolling when I saw a picture posted by Luna. It was a picture she had put up two days ago of her and her little sister on Christmas day. Two pair of exactly the same eyes stared at me from the screen and they gave me an idea. I knew for a fact that Luna was alone too tonight. I got an urge to call her and figured that at least we would be alone together.
At the same time a voice in the back of my mind told me it would be really inappropriate to call her right now. I was alone and let down by my girlfriend and since I didn’t know for sure if I had unresolved feelings for Luna, it wouldn’t be the smartest thing. Besides, she probably didn’t even want me to call, she chose to be alone on New Year’s Eve.
But without thinking I tapped on her contact and held the phone to my ear. It rang a few times before I heard a confused voice coming from the other side of the line. “Vic? Why are you calling me?”
I laughed. I couldn’t really blame her for being confused. It’s literally two minutes past midnight. “Happy new year to you too, Luna. Am I bothering you or something?” I asked her. I hoped I wasn’t. But I knew for a fact that she would be too polite to say something about it if I did.
“No, no! I was just surprised you called me so shortly after midnight.” She said quickly. Well, so was I. What the hell was I thinking?
I tried to keep my cool as much as I was able to and let out a sigh. “Yeah well, I’m on a party of a friend right now. But it’s a little more crowdy than expected and I can’t find Danielle anywhere.” I said and let out a soft chuckle. “So no midnight kisses for me.” I joked and immediately regretted it. I didn’t want it to come over weird.
I heard an uncomfortable laugh come from the other side of the line. “Well, none for me either. Do you want to hear something even more pathetic? I’m at home, all alone, eating a bag of popcorn while watching the fireworks.” She said.
Did she feel lonely? But I thought she chose to be alone tonight? In my head, I played with the thought of dropping by so she wouldn’t be lonely. Back when we were together she also had the habit of isolating herself when she was sad. And then it was up to me to figure out if she actually wanted to be alone or not. “Yeah, I heard from Danny that you were going to be all alone for New Year’s Eve. That’s why I decided to call you, so you wouldn’t be alone after all.” I said.
When she spoke up again, her voice sounded monotone and distant. “It’s not that big of a deal, Vic. In fact, I chose to be alone this New Year’s Eve.” She said.
Had I said something wrong? “I know, but still.”
She didn’t say anything after that and I was at lost for words too. I didn’t want to come off as inappropriate or rude. I didn’t know the right thing to say right now, but I didn’t want to hang up. I didn’t want to leave it at this.
After a very uncomfortable silence and overthinking everything I wanted to say, I let out something I was thinking. It was the memory of a day years ago, this day. Everything that had happened today reminded me of it. “Do you remember New Year’s Eve 2000-2001? I’m pretty sure that was the weirdest New Year’s Eve we’ve spent together. Do you remember spending almost all of it on the roof of my house?” I asked and chuckled at the thought of it.
A short silence followed until Luna spoke up. “It was a party at your house. I came there with Casey, but I spent the entire evening searching for you. I wanted to be with you at midnight, but I found you too late.” She said and her voice sounded way warmer than before.
That surprised me a little bit. “Why did you want to be with me at midnight?” I asked. Why would she be searching me for the entire evening? The party was Mike’s, not mine. I wasn’t even invited.
Thinking back, I could’ve known she was searching for me. Who goes to the roof of a building except if they are searching for something?
I heard some ruffling sounds from the other sound of the line. It sounded a bit like she was changing her position on the couch. “I thought that I might had feelings for you and I figured that if I’d be around you at midnight, I’d have an excuse to kiss you and figure things out.” She said softly, like she was embarrassed to say it.
I never knew that. I didn’t even knew she liked me back then. I always thought I was chasing someone way above my reach. I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence back then. “And you didn’t, because you were too late?” I said finishing her words.
“Yeah.” She said softly.
“Oh.” I responded. I didn’t really know what else to say to that. She obviously accidently let this slip, so I wasn’t actually supposed to know this. Besides that, I also had to hold myself back from saying something inappropriate. I had been let down by my girlfriend and here was my ex telling me something that my head explode with memories and shock.
Another silence followed until I finally found the right words to say back. At least I thought so. Everything sounded stupid at this moment. “Maybe it was a good thing you were too late. We would’ve ruined our friendship if we would’ve gotten together back then.”
I did mean it. I had a huge crush on her back then. The kind of crush that was embarrassing and childish, but real. But the reason everything had worked so well between us was because we had been friends for so long.
“We ruined our friendship anyway.” She mumbled, but I could perfectly make out her words. She meant something completely different from me and this hit me harder than what she meant. Did she still feel like that?
“Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth fixing.” I said and I chuckled uncomfortably. I wasn’t going to give up on her. I knew she had had her doubts about producing our album and about our new-old friendship. But I wanted closure from everything that had happened years ago. I wanted to fix this.
But even though she had agreed to it, she always seemed a bit unsure.
“Well, thank god for duct tape then. That stuff fixes everything.” She said a bit more upbeat than before.
I laughed. Her words were the validation I needed. She really wanted this too, just like me.
It sounds corny, but at that moment I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
The mixture of smells that hung around the room I was currently working my way through wasn’t a new experience for me at all. The mixture of sweat, beer and smoke machines was a combination that had always meant good times for me. Although at this moment I really wondered if it was worth it at my age.
I held Casey’s hand as she led me through the room and flashing lights coming from a stage a few rows of people away let up my face in flashes. We were obviously the oldest, except for a very awkward looking parent now and then. Most of the girls in the room had hair in bright colors, which my eighteen-year-old self would be very jealous of. But except for the obvious age gap of more than ten years, I felt weirdly in place here. Mostly because going to concerts was a tradition of me and Casey. I had been in this particular building countless of times.
When Casey decided we had a nice place to stand, she stopped and turned towards me. Apparently she didn’t have the energy anymore to make her way to the very front of the crowd like we always used to when we were teens. She had a very curious talent of getting in front of the crowd no matter how packed it was. But for now she settled for a place halfway the room.
She shouted something over the music of a band neither of us really knew. The vocalist had just started a range of high pitched screams and with my fucked-up hearing, there was no way I understood what she said.
I put my hand behind my ear to let her know I didn’t hear what she had said. For a second she pulled an annoyed face. This hasn’t been the first time tonight that this had happened.
She leaned next to my ear and yelled in it: “What time is it? My phone is dead.”
I rolled my eyes and grabbed my phone out of the back pocket of my black jeans. I swiped away some notifications of my dad texting me and looked at the time. “It’s almost eight o’clock.” I yelled back at her.
Her face lit up and she enthusiastically clapped her hands. “Yay! Almost time to see my boys again!” she said and I had a déjà vu moment. At one hand, she always acted like she was mine and Danny’s mother, at the other hand it still seemed like she was mentally fifteen years old. This girl has been having an eternal midlife crisis since she was twenty-five.
I raised an eyebrow and laughed at her. “My boys? We have been to at least five Sleeping with Sirens performances and you met all of them. What’s still so special about this all?” I asked even though I still liked to be here too.
She shrugged without her smile leaving her face. “You’re never too old or too young to do the things you love.” She just said and at that moment the music died down and the band went off stage.
Here words played around in my head. I used to believe that too. What had happened to me? It was nothing new to me, but once again I realized that I had turned into a person I didn’t want to be.
“Do you want something to drink?” Casey asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.
I nodded absently. “Yeah, a beer or something.” I said looking at a random point in the crowd.
“You look sad. You can’t have alcohol.”
Surprised with her reaction I let my eyes meet hers. “We drink all the time when one of us is sad. It’s kind of our thing.” I said a bit confused.
“Yeah at home. When beds and bathrooms are only a few steps away. Not on a sold-out concert with a very real change of being sucked into mosh pits. I’m not ready to lose you, princess.” She said pouting.
I laughed shortly and shook my head. “Alright. Give me a coke our something. I don’t really mind as long as it’s cold.” I said and I moved my shirt to let air get through it.
She shot me a wink and walked off towards the bar.
As soon as she was out of side, my phone started vibrating in my hand. I looked at the screen and saw that an unknown number was calling me. Of course a short wave of fear came over me even though I hadn’t received anything since the weird text message on Christmas eve. I had drawn the conclusion that it was either a sick joke or someone who had texted the wrong number.
Not being able to leave my spot without it being taken, I refused the call. Only a few seconds after that a notification appeared on my screen, informing me that I had a voicemail.
So, the stranger had left me a voicemail? Even though the concert was about to begin, I felt like walking outside and listening to it. Of course, I was afraid that it would be something creepy again. But I was also very curious to who the hell was calling me and then leaving messages. I assumed that if it was a project, the artist in question wouldn’t call me at this hour.
“Here is your very cold coke.” Casey said chuckling as she handed me a plastic cup with at least six cubes of ice in it. When she saw that I was staring at my phone, her expression changed. “Are you okay?” she asked.
I locked my phone and put back in my pocket. “Yes of course.” I said.
She didn’t seem very convinced, but she didn’t get a chance to bring it up as the lights went off right at that moment.
The hordes of screaming teenage girls started letting out deafening screams. This was why I brought earplugs to these kinds of gigs. Not because of the harsh vocals or the loud bass. No, these things were nothing compared to the screaming of teenage fangirls. Please don’t remind me of the time I was one of them.
During the performance of Sleeping with Sirens I temporarily forgot about the weird phone call. I jumped on the beat of the music and sang along every word perfectly since I knew every word by heart.
The fact was: every time I went to a band with a target audience of younger than twenty, I always felt like it was a bad idea walking in. As soon as the music started playing all of that disappeared, though. There was something about music, and especially live music, that made you not care about all those little stupid things. Music was one of the last things that actually made me feel things. That’s why it probably was a good idea for me to work with music. Even though I sucked at it.
As soon as the lights turned back on in the room and everyone saw each other’s sweaty, messy heads, reality set in again. People started dripping off, except for the last few diehards that tried to catch some guitar picks and drumsticks the band members were throwing into the crowd. I was very happy to know that Casey today didn’t really feel like getting pushed over by fifteen-year-olds.
“I will get our coats and bags.” Casey said as we were slowly walking out of the room, being held up by all the people that were trying to leave at the same time. “If I let you do it, we’ll probably still be here tomorrow.”
I laughed. “It’s funny because it’s true” I said. I was so tiny, people always pushed passed me or just didn’t see me. Casey had supermodel tallness, so it really was no problem for her.
We agreed to meet each other outside and I started making my way through all the people trying to get out of this sweaty, hot room.
The chilly, cold night felt comfortable on my skin, but it also gave me goosebumps. I let out a breath and noticed that it had turned into fog. Shit, it was actually cold tonight. I warmed myself up by moving my hands over my arms as I looked up at the starless sky. I hoped it wasn’t going to rain.
I felt my phone vibrate and was suddenly reminded of the voicemail I still had to listen to. I ignored the message from my dad and started searching for voicemail in my contacts. I held my breath as I heard the robotic voice of the voicemail service.
It was probably nothing. Maybe it was some stupid salesman trying to sell me vacuums or something. Or it was another call from an organization or event I forgot I had signed up for.
But it still didn’t make me feel at ease.
After a short beep, the deep, but friendly voice of a man sounded through the speakers of my phone. It definitely was the voice of a stranger, but it wasn’t a stranger I had expected to hear. And the information he voiced to me over the phone was definitely not something I expected to hear. Even worse, it was the last thing I wanted to hear. And definitely not now.
My skin tightened over the goosebumps covering my whole body and the sounds of enthusiastic teenagers around me started to fade into a big blurry mess.
This couldn’t be true. The world around me was spinning so hard that I almost believed that it was a dream. But it was not. This was reality. Just a reality I wasn’t ready to meet yet. I don’t think I ever would be.
It's on! finally! Now the real interesting part of the story can begin! >:)
Aawww that's so sweet! It means a lot that you like it!
I have a lot of work to do at college lately, but I promise as soon as All that is over I will comtinue writing this! I haven't forgotten this story!
I will definitely follow you on ig btw! You seem like a very sweet person!