On December 31, 1995, I had planned a quiet evening home alone. I had spent the two months prior dealing with the aftermath of an unfortunate 2 year relationship which occurred after an equally unfortunate 6 year relationship with someone else. I really just wanted to stay home, away from people, and be by myself. And by away from people, I meant men.
A friend of mine called to see why I wasn’t going to the New Year’s party that our mutual friend, Stephanie, was throwing. I had already told Stephanie about my home sulk plan, which she reluctantly respected, but this other friend wasn’t hearing of it. I finally caved, telling her I was going to “look like shit and have a terrible time” but I would go. I put on a t-shirt, jeans and a pair of Converse, and headed out the door to pick up my friend to go to a party I still wasn’t quite sure why I had agreed to attend.
As we walked up to Stephanie’s apartment building, we could see three guys walking out. One was Stephanie’s boyfriend, Steve, the other was their downstairs neighbor, Philip, and the third guy I’d never seen before. He introduced himself as “Wil” and said they were going to get food and would be right back. We headed up to the party, which ended up being a lot of fun because there were other friends I didn’t expect to see there. We played games, talked, danced and sang WAY too loud to the music. I finally took a break, and headed over to the food table.
I was munching on a handful of grapes when Stephanie walked up to me like we were in 6th grade, with a secret she wanted to share. “My friend Wil thinks you’re cute…” To which I responded “That’s nice. I haven’t even seen him since I passed him downstairs two hours ago.” She nudged her head in the direction of the balcony, saying “He’s out there” in a low voice. “He’s talking to a girl I’ve never seen before, which is totally fine because I decided my New Year’s resolution was no men for 6 months” I announced. She laughed as we headed back to the living room with some pretzels and beer to start playing the next game.
Another hour passed and the apartment filled with people. It was getting stuffy so I headed out to the balcony for some fresh air. I chatted with a couple of people who eventually went back inside, and found myself alone out there with only Wil. We talked for about 20 minutes when I realized I’d never met anyone like him. He was kind, intelligent, funny, and cute in an oddly charming, nerdy way. Remembering my resolution of no men, I quickly made my way back to the party.
We rang in the New Year and continued the fun until 4:30 in the morning. Exhausted, I made my rounds saying goodbye to everyone, eventually going out to the balcony where Stephanie, Steve, and Wil were. (Seriously, what’s with this guy and balconies?) Wil had a surprised look on his face and said “You’re leaving already?” “Already?!” I said. “It’s 4:30 and I have kids coming back from their dad at noon. I need sleep!” And with that, he gave me a hug and I left.
Four days later, Stephanie and Steve invited me to the movies with them. After I agreed to join, she said “Uh…our friend, Wil is coming with us. Is that ok?” I told her it was fine, and they picked me up at 7. I know we went to see “Sense and Sensibility” but Wil and I were those people who talked through the ENTIRE movie. I was so comfortable around him and conversation came easy but I had a resolution, dammit, and I was going to stick to it.
At the end of the evening, Wil offered to drive me home. We stood outside on the curb in front of my house, talking, laughing, and obviously feeling like we should go home because it was now 3:30 in the morning. I knew the night kept going because we were both unsure of how to end it. Finally, I said “Are you going to kiss me or what?” and he quickly leaned in and kissed me. We said our goodbyes and he left but after that day, we pretty much spent every free moment talking on the phone and going out with Stephanie and Steve, but not alone because I had a New Year’s resolution, dammit, and I was going to stick to it.
After six weeks of joking that we were dating Stephanie and Steve, I finally caved to my stupid New Year’s resolution, and told Wil I wanted him to be my boyfriend. His response was “Well, I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but I’ve only been dating you for the last 6 weeks.” DAMN. I was doing the same thing. I didn’t stick to my resolution AT ALL.
I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution since that night, eighteen years ago. I may not be good at sticking to a resolution, but New Year’s will always remind me of the best commitment I’ve ever made.