By Mira Khatib
Tick tock, tick tock…eyes stared almost impatiently at the big wooden clock that hung on the wall. Life seemed to stand still as the last seconds of the year were passing away. Noise all around started to taper as everyone held their breath and then eagerly counted in one go – 3, 2, 1…midnight! A roar of cheers erupted, fireworks exploded to decorate the skies as family, friends and loved ones exchanged hugs, kisses while wishing one another the best of new beginnings.
In the midst of this ecstatic commotion stood Noora all alone at the back of the room…unnoticed in the dim lights. Her brown eyes trying to take in all there is to see. She was consumed in her own thoughts that were whizzing in her head, helping her not focus on her sorry lonely state.
As she watched the exaggerated happiness planted on so many faces around, she wondered why they all seemed so thrilled. Was it such a great thing to lose yet another year? Were they honestly that happy to set new goals and see them fall through once again? Surely most of what they sought out to accomplish in the now past year was more than likely unconquered or merely achieved. So why the elusive excitement, and extra show of public emotion? It just didn’t make any sense to her.
Noora wasn’t in the mood for celebrating growing another year older while feeling not much wiser, or more beautiful or talented. She removed one of her unruly curls away from her eyes while mumbling to herself…”why does it have to be a “new year”? Why isn’t it more like a “year end”?”
She couldn’t help over hearing the couple standing in the corner talking about new things they want to achieve this year…they seemed so confident and happy…the way their eyes sparkled with enthusiasm the way they seemed to glow. She couldn’t help but feel a little jealous for the special connection they shared. How much she longed for a similar passion – yet with every passing day that dream slowly faded. She no longer believed she would ever awaken to a satisfying reality.
So she hated her job, not to mention her evil boss whom took every chance to undermine all of her hard work. Sure she thought of quitting like a million times and go another place where she would be more appreciated…yet she never revved enough courage to actually do it. The final straw that depressed her more than anything else, was that she will be turning 27 next month and she was still alone and living with her parents!
Life seemed cruel, unfair and bleak. The prospects of a brighter tomorrow didn’t exist not even in her thoughts. She watched in silence the many happy couples dancing with their arms around each other, they didn’t seem to mind letting go of another year and embracing a new one.
The music… her thoughts… the atmosphere almost put her in a trance — no longer was she part of that celebration…she was lost in thought. She was so deep in thought that she didn’t even notice him standing there right in front of her.
He was saying something…was he speaking to her? He was smiling…she looked around her to see if he was talking to someone else… no, no she was the only one standing there. She looked at him again. He spoke again, she still couldn’t quite make out his words, his smile and warm dark eyes took her by surprise. She felt warm, shaken…almost alive.
“Would you like to dance?” his kind voice asked. He held out his hand. She felt dumbfounded not able to react to such a simple request. She wasn’t even sure if she understood right. Was this handsome man asking her to dance?
She felt him take her hand and lead her to the dance floor. She didn’t know how she got there… her legs seemed to have a will of their own. She felt him close to her, his scent captured her. She trembled as she looked at him – he was still smiling back at her.
They didn’t say a word. They didn’t need to. She felt that sometimes things unspoken say so much more. She let the music guide her to a pleasant place. A place she liked to be in…though she feared new territory.
The music stopped. She almost felt her heart stop with it. Now what? She stood there afraid to move.
And just like that her attitude turned around. In her mind she counted her blessings. She was young and healthy, surrounded by a family who loved her. She had a job that challenged her and gave her room to grow, to improve and a boss who pushed her to fulfill her true potential.
“Happy new year.” he told her.
She felt herself blush, “Yes, I believe it is going to be a happy new year.”