Welcoming a New Year

“I’m allergic to negativity. It’s my New Year’s resolution.”

Jessica said to the woman smiling at her from the mirror. She brimmed with self-confidene and positivity. New Year’s Eve had been crazy. She’d dined with friends from work before heading out again to welcome the new year with friends from college. As she washed away the previous night’s vodka and lemon from her hair, she also washed away all her problems.

Shielding her eyes from the bright light, she stepped out of her apartment and into the gleaming Honda Civic fresh from a service. Enjoying the lingering buzz, she zoomed her way to the towering corporate building.

————————————

“Chai!”

Jesintha cowered as her father’s foot jabbed her ribs. She should’ve known. The previous night had been New Year’s Eve—as if he’d needed reason. Before he kicked again, she sat up rubbing her swollen eyes.

Her mother died giving birth to her on a New Year’s Day. The man who’d raised her didn’t resemble a parent. He’d give her enough to last the day—she’d cook, clean, and eat leftovers. He’d sleep at the toddy shop, coming home for tea every morning. Unless she overslept. That’d result in black eyes and aching ribs.

Handing him chai, she wished only one thing: to be elsewhere on her next birthday.

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