It was 9.01 pm, and she was late getting ready for the New Year’s Eve party. Once again, she had no desire to go. Days before, she had felt excited and eager. But as the day dawned, and the hour neared, she drew back into her shell, wanting to shun it all and stay home.
The excitement was already replaced with anxiety. And she was feeling pressured into going.
“What will they say when I don’t show up?”, she thought.
She was already thinking about the excuses she could make up. I have a headache (no one will believe it, of course). My stomach is playing up again and I don’t want to drink anything feeling like this (that was actually true, but they still wouldn’t believe it).
A drink would, without a doubt, leave her with an upset stomach overnight and probably for days to come. Multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night would make for a bad night’s sleep and a thick head in the morning. The woes of a weak digestive system that could no longer withstand even one glass of wine or bubbly.
But that wasn’t really what she was avoiding. It was the overwhelming feeling of being lost within a sea of energy – some dark, some light, but all crashing into her, bombarding her. The extroverts in the room completely unaware of the energy they threw out… the damage it caused as it crashed into her unabated. Nowhere to hide, even if she locked herself in the bathroom.
How she hated the multitudes and gatherings in closed quarters.
She thought, for a moment, about the invitation to join her family at the beach. At least at the beach, there was space to get away from everyone, and she could go for a solitary walk. But how she loved her own bed and really disliked going away overnight. And if she left now, she wouldn’t reach the beach until almost 11.00, and there would be no chance of turning around and driving back home.
For a moment she was lost looking at a photo from years before. Happier times, younger days. Times when she loved being at the beach with her family – when all the cousins would still get together and the neighbours would all come over. That single sparkler in her hands, a reminder of a happy childhood spent with family and friends.
She sat down with the photo in her hands. For a moment, she felt the joy of the party and the multitude.
It was almost enough to motivate her to finish getting ready and leave for the party.
But then she heard the sound of the car horns and the traffic jam on the street outside. The sound of the traffic as the stragglers that had gone for drinks before driving home and were now stuck in late traffic as they tried to make their way out of the city.
What traffic would she have to navigate to get to the party?
And just like that, her mind was made up.
Pijamas it was! Another New Year’s Eve at home alone. In bed before 10.00.
But was that really so bad? Un-happy for some – perhaps.
But at 6.00 a.m. on New Year’s Day, she would have the promenade to herself as she went for a run with the dogs, enjoying the first sunrise of the New Year. Beautiful solitude.