We stood just where we always stood at midnight New Years- at the bottom of Tim’s stairwell. Tim was holding his new stereo above his head, the one he’d gotten for Christmas a week earlier, blasting the sounds of Skid Row’s song Youth Gone Wild. Yeah, we were wild ones when we were twelve and thirteen years old- livin’ on the edge, banging pots and pans, blasting a stereo for what amounted to about four minutes of riotous living.
It was the year we stayed up all night watching Weekend At Bernies, and the same year Tim took a bath to keep himself awake, but fell asleep while it was filling and flooded the downstairs neighbors.
“Promise me something,” Tim said.
“When the year 2000 comes around, we’re gonna really live it up that night.”
“Yeah, that’ll be the New Years of all New Years parties. We’ll be in our twenties by then.”
And so the plan began. Every year the same conversation, “You just wait until the year 2000. That New Years will be better than this one.”
We both grew older, both grew taller, and I grew balder.
“So, why St. George?” I asked as we drove through the mountains of southern Utah.
“Because Cedar City doesn’t have anything good on New Years. The year 2000 is comin’, man. We gotta make it the best New Years ever.”
“So we’re going to St. George, Utah, for the best party ever.”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s better than anywhere else around.”
“Vegas is only a few more hours.”
“Do you want to make the drive?” Tim’s eyebrow raised, unsure how I was going to answer.
“Well, I hear the girls in St. George are… how do ya say… easier?”
I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. We’re not the kind of guys to pick up a stranger and take her home. “Easier?”
“I don’t mean like that. They’re just not as goodie goodie as the girls in Cedar City.”
“So, what’s that mean, then?”
“Well, what would you do if some girl tapped you on the shoulder at midnight and said she wanted to make out with you?”
I turned and looked at him as he drove, squinting just slightly to see if he was serious. “No thanks.”
“Really? I’d do it.”
I had a girlfriend. Sure, she wasn’t with me and our relationship was hanging on by a thread at that time. For all I knew, she could have been kissing some other guy that night, being that she was back home in Oregon at the time. “Making out with a stranger isn’t my thing. Besides, people don’t just tap you on the shoulder and say ‘hey, come make out with me.’”
“They might. It’s New Years.”
“You’re living in a fantasy, man.”
“Well, something’s gotta make this New Years great. Something’s gotta happen to make it memorable.”
The party was bland, lackluster, and boring. Tim and I wandered around from one place to another, listening to the live music and seeing the displays. Not much was going on, so we made our way to city center early to get a good spot in the crowd.
“Shoulda brought your boom box so we could at least blast old glam rock music like the old days,” I said.
“Yeah. Maybe we shoulda gone to Vegas.”
“Eh, Vegas is a little too… Vegas for me. Been there a million times.”
“Never on New Years.”
“Still, it’s not on my bucket list.”
Just then the crowd started to countdown. There was a minute left, the last moments of a year, a decade, a century, and a millennia. This was it. And right on cue, just before the crowd yelled “ten”, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Kiss me at midnight,” she said, pointing to her lips.
“Are you serious?” I laughed. I couldn’t help it, and it probably came off as me laughing at her, not at the situation.
She pointed to her lips again as the crowd chanted “seven, six, five…”
I smiled and shook my head, still laughing. She pointed to her lips with more insistency, “three, two...”
As the crowd yelled “one” and the center streets of St. George erupted in cheers, I turned my back to this girl. It was the only way to get her to back off. I jumped and shouted with everyone else.
“Did you see me?” Tim asked in the car.
“I totally made out with that chick.”
“Which one? The one who was trying to kiss me?”
“Yeah. That one. We kissed for like a minute straight.”
“No you didn’t.”
“Yes, I did.”
“That’s impossible. I was there the whole time.”
“Well, you’re not very observant, then, because I did.”
“For a minute?”
“Give or take. I wasn’t exactly counting.”
Ahhh, you shoulda seen the grin on Tim’s face that night and I laughed and laughed and laughed all the way back to his college apartment in Cedar City. I then laughed myself to sleep in a sleeping bag on his floor.
It was over. We’d partied like it was 1999- well, as hard as a good kids like us partied, that is. The big day of New Years 2000 was gone, which meant that we had to have a different conversation every New Years Eve. No longer could we say, “just wait until 2000.” From then on it was, “hey, remember that time in 2000 when you made out with that ugly girl?” Of course, Tim substitutes the word “hot” for “ugly” when he tells this story, but I think it’s more fun to tell it my way. True Story.