What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve by Tom Misuraca


“Happy New Year!”

Molly’s date stuck his tongue down her throat. She swallowed his saliva, so augmented with alcohol, it were as if she’d taken a shot of Jack Daniels herself. His face was pressed against hers for what felt like the first five minutes of the new year.

Edwin and Charlotte avoided looking in her direction as they had most of the evening.

The beast of a date retracted his tongue as if reeling in a fishing line. Molly hoped that was the end of it, but he only wanted to down his champagne. A second later, his mouth was enveloping hers.

So much for starting this new year on a good note. After months of heartbreak and learning how to be on her own again, Molly was happy to find a man who was interested in her. But right now, all he seemed interested in was pawing her. This would be the last time she brought a man from Tinder to New Year’s Eve. But she couldn’t bear the thought of not having somebody to kiss at midnight. 

Glad that she opted to drive, Molly couldn’t drop the guy off fast enough. Though there was a drawn out struggle to get him out of the car, once he was gone, she drove off without waiting to see if he got inside.

Though she was still not used to sleeping alone, she was happy to do so that night. 

“What was with Molly’s date?” Edwin asked Charlotte as they got ready for bed.

“I know. He was the complete opposite of Michael. But maybe that’s what she needs right now.”

“Didn’t realize how much I missed Michael until tonight.”

“Me, too.”

“Maybe they’ll reconcile this year.”

“If Molly knows what’s good for her.”

“After tonight, I’m not sure she does.” 

“Happy New Year!”

Molly’s date was passed out on the couch.

Charlotte and Edwin gave Molly a little peck on the lips out of pity.  

Molly had grown accustomed to being embarrassed. Though she swore to stop online dating, at some point in the middle of the year she’d grown desperate and began swiping again. Since then, she’d introduced her friends to a rouge’s gallery of losers: an opioid drug addict, a homeless man and a doctor who lost his license for selling opioids to homeless men. She’d vetted the drunk on the couch with two coffee dates, but he transformed into a different person after a few bottles of alcohol.

Edwin helped her roll the guy into a cab. Charlotte suggested Molly spend the night. As Charlotte prepared the guest bedroom, Molly apologized ad nauseam for her date.

“You don’t have to apologize for somebody else’s behavior,” Charlotte assured her. “Date or not.” 

Once they were alone in their room, Edwin asked Charlotte, “Where is she finding these men?”

“The swamp?” Charlotte offered.

“Well, no matter how much she tries to dress them up, they’re still slimy and smell like swamp gas.”

“We’ll steam clean the couch tomorrow,” Charlotte joked before turning serious, “I hope Molly finds a nice man this year. Somebody more like Michael.”

“I fear she thinks she’s no longer worthy of a Michael.”

“If she keeps this up, I fear she won’t be.”

Molly’s date took a swing at Edwin two minutes before the ball dropped. 

“Snowflake!” he screamed, his face red from drinking.

“Racist!” Edwin spat back. 

“Calm down everybody.” Charlotte did her best to remain composed. Though she wanted to hit this guy over the head with the champagne bottle.

“I’m not listening to any more of this liberal garbage,” the guy roared.

“Then get out of my house.”

“You probably bought it on the voucher program.”

“How dare you. We worked very-”

“Don’t let him bait you,” Charlotte cut off her husband. 

Without another word, the guy stormed out, slamming the door behind him. They were surprised to hear him drive away in his car after consuming so much alcohol.

“He’s going to kill somebody,” Edwin verbalized what they all were thinking.

Molly sat in the corner, scared and embarrassed. Charlotte offered the guest room for the evening. But Molly couldn’t bear to see her friends in the morning. She took an Uber home.

“If that’s the kind of men your friend is associating with,” Edwin told Charlotte before bed, “then you can forget about inviting her to this house ever again.”

Molly silently agreed. 

“Now Graupel is a more opaque snow-”

“You guys missed the countdown,” Charlotte said to Molly and her date when she walked into the guest bedroom. She feared she’d find Molly in a compromising position, but was saddened to see her date was keeping her verbal hostage.

“We were talking about snow,” he told them. “Do you know there are four different types?”

“I read that in the National Enquirer.” The date was confused by Charlotte’s teasing. But at least she got a smile out of Molly. 

“I know all the eskimo names for snow. Would you like to hear them?”

“How about over champagne?” Charlotte suggested.

“I don’t drink,” the date reminded them.

“I could use some,” Molly said. They followed Charlotte back to the living room. 

Molly downed champagne as her date recited names of multiple meteorological events. It felt like he never stopped talking as they drove home. Molly was worried she’d fall asleep at the wheel. He may have been boring, but this was the safest she felt with a man since Michael. Though that was the only thing he made her feel. 

“I should have got his phone number,” Edwin told his wife before bed.


“So I could call him on nights I can’t sleep.”

“Hey, better boring than Mr. Last Year.”

“Anything’s better than that ass.”

“Can you imagine what tiresome guys she’s going to meet this year?”

Edwin snored his reply.

“Happy New Year!”

“May I have the honor of kissing you?” Jack asked Molly.

She couldn’t believe this man was asking for permission. They’d kissed at the end of each of their three dates. He didn’t ask then, but she initiated. She was always making the first move with Jack.

“Of course,” she said with a sly smile.

It was the best New Years’ kiss she’d had since Michael. Dare she say, better, since those had grown complacent. This kiss sent a lightening bolt through her. This kiss was from somebody she physically connected with. This kiss gave her hope.

Charlotte and Edwin tried not to stare, but they couldn’t help it. Molly hadn’t looked this happy in years. 

Molly and Jack left soon after midnight. She couldn’t wait to get home and spend New Year’s Day together. And maybe they’d make plans for the new year.

“He was so polite and intelligent,” Edwin bragged about him to Charlotte that night. 

“And handsome,” Charlotte added.

“More handsome than Michael?”


“Start counting the days until you’re maid of honor.”

“Matron. I’m married.”

“Really? Matron sounds like an old lady. Or prison guard.”

Charlotte playfully hit him with a pillow.

“Happy New Year!”

Molly watched Edwin and Charlotte kiss. They were such a happy couple. She was impressed how they kept things fresh after all these years. 

Molly reflected on her year of adventures with Jack: tropical weekends, skydiving, quiet Sunday mornings. Then came that moment when she realized that no matter how nice he was, he wasn’t The One. The lightening storms she once felt with him had drifted off to sea. Unlike Michael, it was an amicable breakup. Fun while it lasted but the end was clear.

She feared spending the holidays alone would be depressing. But she was surprised that it turned out to be more fun. She wasn’t dragged to her date’s mundane holiday gatherings. She didn’t have to worry about being embarrassed at her holiday gatherings. 

She looked after herself for a change. She wore comfortable clothes, snuck a few extra snacks and didn’t need alcohol to enjoy events. She even pampered herself with a spa day. No man had ever treated her this well. Not even Michael or Jack.

She toasted her friends with champagne. She couldn’t wait to see where this new year would take her.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Charlotte and Edwin fell asleep before they could discuss Molly.

I studied Writing at Emerson College in my home town of Boston before moving to Los Angeles. Over 120 of my short stories and two novels have been published. My story, Giving Up The Ghosts, was published in Constellations Journal, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021. My work has recently appeared in Literature Today, The Unconventional Courier and Beyond Queer Words. I am also a multi-award-winning playwright with over 150 short plays and 13 full-lengths produced globally. My musical, Geeks!, was produced by Off-Broadway in May 2019. 

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