(Uh, if the real "Cas" is reading this, it is a complete revision of events to suit my caustic personality.)
Why am I here? This was not my idea. I know it sounds great – New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh – an iconic experience. I mean, didn’t the Scots invent this? Auld Lang Syne and such? I don’t even know where we are, the house of someone in the enormous network of people Cas knows. I’m gonna be trapped here, I can tell. Cas doesn’t mind, of course. She’s in her element. She loves everyone and she’s never met a drink she didn’t like. I hate trying to mingle. I hate searching desperately for something to talk about. I can’t remember faces. Hi, I’m going to forget your name almost immediately. I’m going to stand here and look pathetic and miserable while Cas spreads her charm about. Pretend I don’t even exist.
There are bottles of booze everywhere. Of course. It’s Scotland. Everyone drinks all the time. The Highlands are afloat. I feel a little light-headed. What am I drinking, anyway? I really don’t feel good. In fact, I feel...terrible cramping pain. Great. I’m in a stranger’s house in a foreign country on New Year’s Eve and now this. I dig ibuprofen out of my purse, which I’m not letting go of, in case someone steals it. That’s the sort of thing Cas never worries about. She’d just laugh it off, always a good sport, always up for a laugh. You’d think she wasn’t afraid of anything. Where is she, anyway? This always annoys me, how I’m left to follow in her wake. She’s already flirting with some guy, completely at ease. Why does she always do that? Why does she always, always lead them on? Can’t she tell what she’s doing? Then we’re stuck with yet another misguided idiot. She never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. She wants everyone to like her.
Someone is playing The Thompson Twins way too loud. Oh, isn’t that just too appropriate – lies lies lies. I can barely hear what anyone says, which makes me feel like an idiot. This guy she’s talking to, his name is Eoin, and he’s an arrogant, smarmy prick. But Cas will talk with anyone, give anyone the benefit of a doubt. It’s a nightmare, the people we end up hanging out with, like that biker who drank until he pissed himself. Or that idiotic nurse who thought you could catch AIDs from a bowling ball. Cas never calls anyone on their shit. She never judges. Which means she knows a lot of assholes.
Damn. Maybe ibuprofen and alcohol wasn’t a good idea. I’m sitting on the floor trying to make conversation with a thin wisp of a man from Yugoslavia or some such place. While we talk he slowly lists to the side until he’s lying on the floor, which ends the conversation, such as it was, given that I didn’t understand anything he said.
But hey, I made an effort.
I do not feel well. My stomach is on fire. I need to lie down somewhere. Cas, I need a little help here, if you can tear yourself away. If you can be bothered. The coat room? Fine, if that’s all that’s available. Whatever. I don’t care. Go have fun. Go collect people.
There’s a bed. It’s quiet. It’s dark. I’m alone. Mostly. Okay, no problem, throw your coat on me. I’m furniture. I don’t care. I’m drifting, drifting ever so softly into sleep, my stomach slowly unclenching. And then I hear scuffling. And whispers. And more scuffling..
Oh no, you have got to be kidding. Eoin has dragged some girl up here to make out, and he bloody well knows I’m here, the bastard, because he’s smirking at me, waiting to see how I’ll react. He thinks this is just hilarious.
Well fuck you, Eoin. Fuck you Cas, for dragging me here and leaving me to fend for myself. What kind of friend are you? We’re supposed to be friends, right? That’s how you introduce me. This is my friend… Do you have any idea how angry that makes me? Of course not. You’re a master of deflection. It’s even rubbing off on me.
What did I think I would gain by storming out of the house? There’s nowhere to storm too. It’s just darkness and Scotland out here. Oh, gee, you showed up. Well, yeah, I’m pissed off because I don’t feel well and there’s some sleazy guy screwing his girlfriend in the only place I can rest. And I’m just tired. I’m tired. I’m tired of biting my tongue ten times a day, watching every move I make. Be careful with your parents. Be careful with your friends. How long are you going to go on like this? What do you think they’re going to do? Why do you fucking care? Why do I have to care?
Okay, I’m calming down. We’ll go back inside. I’m just your crazy American friend having a temper tantrum on the front lawn. Everyone looks too delirious to notice anyway. No one’s thrown up, I see. One guy seems to be hanging himself. That can’t be right. The Yugoslavian is still lying on the floor. The loathsome Eoin has disappeared somewhere. Cas suggests I lock myself in. No one needs their coats anyway. Everyone’s too drunk to leave.
Sometimes I’m glad to be rid of her. Right now, at least.
A bell. A bell is ringing somewhere, somewhere outside of sleep, and something is rattling. Then a sudden roar of people singing, blowing horns and shouting, and the door flies open and Eoin throws himself on top of me and locks me in a drunken kiss. Then he passes out, for which I’m grateful, and I have to crawl out from under him.
This pretty much sucks. Cas, where are you? What have you been doing? Why does everyone else get your attention?
Oh, there you are. Here’s a toast to the New Year, with cheap champagne and no resolutions.