It wasn't how she thought she'd be spending her new year.
She pulled down her too short glittery skirt and tried to make out her friends in the crowd. The neon sign of the club was blinding her. 'ACID' it said in bright pink neon lettering. No subtlety there.
She saw them huddled in a corner ear the door. They wore similar outfits to her and she hated to say it, but they looked...desperate.
'Hey' she shouted, tottering towards them in heels she could barely walk in. They waved back and Kike brought out a cigarette. She reached their small circle and gestured for a cigarette before she spoke.
'What's the plan?'
'We go in, have fun and enter a new year'...Uche tried to sound enthusiastic, but she just sounded tired.
'Ok let's go in then'
They walked towards the entrance. '20 pounds each' the bouncer said straight faced.
They watched three girls go in without paying. They didn't protest. They knew a pointless battle. They walked to the small pay booth and paid.
The lights in the club were even more painful than the neon sign. It was already packed. They found some standing space next to one of the speakers. Each beat felt like something was shattering in her brain.
This was not how she was supposed to spend new year.
Noone spoke about getting drinks. It was too loud to speak anyway and they could barely see the bar for all the people around it.
She closed her eyes for a minute and pictured what her life should be like. She should be at home convincing her child to stay up. She should be cracking jokes with her husband.
Anything. But. This.
She was 30 and in a nightclub in a too short skirt on New Years Eve desperately trying to have fun.
She felt someone tug at her sleeve. 'We're going to try the bar', someone was shouting in her ear.
They took it as indication that she was going to follow, but she stayed where she was. Then she ran. She ran out of the club, past the pay booth and the ugly bouncer at the door. She left her heels on a side street somewhere and didn't stop running. The pavement felt cool beneath her feet and she was hopelessly out of breath but she couldn't stop running.
When she finally stopped, she was right at the spot where the pain started. The house he lived in. The house he lived in with his family. The family that he made so quickly after her. The family that broke her heart a little more everyday. That made her life rot away gradually as if infected by a poisonous acid.
She saw a light come on in an upstairs window and watched a curtain close. She cried silently for what she promised to be the last time. This might be an equally desperate start to the new year, but at least it was honest.
Fireworks exploded around her and she could hear load chants of 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' from the insides of houses.
She started the long journey home.
It was time for a new start.