Inspired by this post, A Brief History of Kisses at Midnight, I thought for the sake of exercising my ever-deteriorating long-term memory I would give it a try. It takes me ages to remember, in pieces, almost anything at all, so this might be a little rough, and very inaccurate. There are many years missing.

I went to my ex-boyfriend’s party–not a source of trouble, just a dear friend plus the occasional joke, the occasional oops we had sex again didn’t we, the occasional reminder of why things worked and why they didn’t–but I spent the whole time avoiding another, more recent. When midnight hit I was sitting on the couch, watching everyone dance, everyone screaming out numbers. I thought about choreography, I thought about theft. I could see them both from where I sat, but am fairly sure I kissed no one.

We found ourselves without plans, so we threw a party last minute.We played 1,000 Blank White Cards. When midnight approached, we played Freebird at full volume and everyone started taking off their clothes. At midnight, I don’t think I kissed anyone, but I turned a corner in my apartment and walked into a room full of naked men dancing to Like A Prayer. Spinning their dicks like helicopters to Like A Prayer. It was beautiful.

Back when our friends still had that huge, nasty loft full of weird nights, they threw a party. I remember burlesque, and sticky floors, and making Shakespeare jokes to a dealer I didn’t know who didn’t give a damn. A mirror falling on us off the bathroom wall and not breaking. At midnight all our drunk white girl faces blended together and we gave each other kisses. At five in the morning the man who kept calling and sexually harassing my friend called her again, and I took the phone and told him in great detail how I imagined finding him, rendering him helpless, and cutting his dick off in a long, torturous operation. He never called her again.

In an apartment in Brooklyn where I knew no one, I watched a beautiful woman with long, dark hair play the piano. A young man told me about kicking heroin, showed me his tattoos. There were beautiful pieces of broken machines on the walls, a little fort made of birch branches. One of my idols played a ukulele, covered the Cure. I was given a scrap of paper, told to write something on it, that I’d need it later. I lost my paper, got a new one. At midnight, I dropped the scrap with the word FEAR scrawled on into a bucket full of fire. Later that night, I found my first paper. I ripped it into a hundred pieces and threw it in the trash on a New York City subway platform underground.

“This,” they said at midnight, “is a traditional Jewish song of celebration.” At midnight I was not kissing, I was screaming Beastie Boys lyrics with burlesque artists. We were mostly drunk and no one knew every single word, but MCA was still alive and we were pouring our hearts into this ridiculous cover, and it was probably already 12:05, but “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” is a great song. On the sidewalk smoking cigarettes with a Swiss drummer, I was swept along with the gypsy orchestra, almost arrested in the subway for playing the kazoo, so near Times Square and we were making such beautiful music–not for money, there was no one there, but for ourselves. The night took many convoluted turns, and at dawn I found myself at Coney Island, drinking whiskey and tea from a mason jar and dipping my feet in the ocean on New Year’s Day.

We were both so in love with him, and he with himself, all three of our faces pressed together as the countdown crashed. We all knew what was coming, but for a moment, oh, we could pretend.

In the basement of our parents’ house, I told my baby brother that the world would never end. I kissed him on the cheek, and time continued to pass.