I began the year, like so many others, in a pointless muddle of alcohol that did not signify how I meant to go on.
Something told me not to go out on New Year’s Eve, to avoid the inevitable debauchery and nurse my escalating cough. I wondered whether to stay at home or go and celebrate with Tom and the rest of my family. I’d made promises though, there were loads of parties to get round, it was going to good.
It wasn’t though, not really. I spent New Years Day stuck to a sofa across Manchester, wearing my party frock, bleary-eyed, longing for my son. I was with good friends, we’d partied all night, it had been fun, but I wanted to see my boy. What was I thinking, spending the beginning of the new year in different city from my son, in different world?
My cough kept me awake all of Sunday night. It was school in the morning. Getting Tom there on time is one of my new year’s resolutions, along with being tidy, starting to be sensible with money, writing more, going to bed and getting up early, ironing Tom’s school uniform and many more. Eventually, I surrendered to my insomnia and put away clothes all night, rubbing my eyes and waiting for Tom to wake.
I felt proud of myself for wrapping us both up and leaving the house on time (even if I had only managed it through not going to sleep.) Tom and I slipped all over the glassy pavements. We trudged across the crunchy grass in the park.
I love mornings I thought, gazing dreamily at the glistening frost No one else around.
No one else around.
I gazed across the park. There was no glow from the lollipop lady’s flourescent jacket in her usual spot by the main road. Poor Tom moaned at me as he slipped and skidded all the way back home.
“Why didn’t you know school was closed Mum?”
I don’t know. Because I am always stressed out, because the term dates letter probably fluttered about on the hall rug for a bit then got put out for recycling, because –
“- I’m silly. I’m silly and I’m sorry.”
It would have been nice to enjoy the reprieve and spend the day with Tom, but I was ill. So, he had to colour in while I lay on the couch coughing and dozing.
Then the blizzards came. I knew before I opened my blinds what I would see, because a hush had descended on the street. School was closed again. I felt ill and I was supposed to be working, but Tom was making it difficult with his constant demands to play outside. So, on my lunch break, I found myself in the brightest, deepest snow I have ever seen, making a snow dalek. Friends arrived and we ran up and down the back alley, pelting each other with powder snowballs, falling to the ground and making snow angels. Rosy-cheeked and breathless, I stood in my slippers cooking homemade soup for Tom’s tea. A world away from the wildness of New Years Eve, but the freshest I’d felt all year and the best beginning to 2010.