The New Year’s Eve Party I Should Not Have Had

We moved the plates in the foyer first — holding each one with the delicacy of a newborn.  Then, the hanging ones in the dining room. Each one was now neatly wrapped in layers of newspaper in the living room behind the French doors. We took every precaution.

I wasn’t even 18 years old, but I had a 7-bedroom house to myself for the winter break. Think Tom Cruise in Risky Business. I had an older brother nearby, my best friend staying with me, and a wad of cash. What could go wrong?

“No Parties,” my mom said as she walked out the door. Suitcase filled, ready for their trip to Europe.

The party I should not have had. (Photo credit Elana Rabinowitz)

Everyone decided that I should host a New Year’s Eve party

A few weeks ago, my friends and I debated what we would do for New Year. It was our senior year and probably our last time together. Surely, someone would have a party.  But as the holiday was nearing, it wasn’t looking good. I had an empty house and a history of big bashes; thus, the consensus was that I would host.

“I promised my mother no parties,” I said.

“What if we made it invite only?” Then we could control it. My friend suggested.

I eventually gave in. It was my senior year, and I was dammed if I wasn’t going to have a small soiree to ring in the new year. We considered every precaution: limited guest list, removal of antiques, and clean-up crew. While my parents planned their trip for weeks, my friends and I took out pieces of loose-leaf paper and made lists of who would do what. This was going to be ok, I thought.

My friends arrived, and I was worried

People arrived in black dresses with dates and were escorted to the dining room, resembling a bonafide cocktail party. I can’t say I remember much else of the night. Not due to intoxication but rather worry.

While my friends laughed and chatted, I ran up and down those stairs with a garbage bag in one hand and Newport’s in the other. My mother may not have been there, but I felt her presence and guilt — thus spending the entire night cleaning up after people and making sure no one got hurt so much for my big party. This sucked.

At some point, we screamed Happy New Year, and people eventually went home. There was no real drama, the usual stuff, a few tears, a few handsy guys, but overall, we did alright. I cleaned up a tad, and some friends slept over. In the morning, others stopped by to help. I was set. My parents would never know.

I thought my parents would never know that I hosted a party. (Photo credit Elana Rabinowitz)

As I was cleaning, I noticed that someone had broken a window

We grabbed some cleaning supplies and began to head upstairs. That’s when I noticed it. That wooden bench on the landing. Like the rest of the house, the one was built in the late 1800s. It was cracked slightly but enough to catch my eye.

Then I looked up as the light shone through the stained-glass window, the rose formation surrounded by a series of emerald triangles. It was then I let out the loudest scream.

My friends came running, and I stood staring at that window.

“It’s broken!” I yelled. “It’s broken!”

One little triangle had been cracked, and I didn’t know what to do. My friends tried to console me, but nothing could. I had broken the rules and now a costly window. $500 to be exact.

Over the next few days, I got a helpful friend and her father to remove the window and take it to a repair shop specializing in antiques. That meant I had no window in the heart of winter in a crime-ridden neighborhood. I then had no food; the money my parents left for it now had to go to the window. 

My best friend returned home after telling her parents what happened, and my brother, instead of helping, skimmed some of the food money for himself. I, too, was broken. How could I survive this?

With the help of friends, I fixed the window

My friends tried to raise funds, but it was minimal. I was sitting in the dinner when a tall acquaintance, out of the blue, handed me close to a hundred dollars, and I could pay for the window. His dad was a big wig in the music industry. I hugged him. Then, I took a bite of the toasted muffin my friend bought for me.

A few days later, my friend and her father returned to their station wagon, and we were able to put the window back in its original spot. I put a pillow over the crack on the bench and looked out the window. Good as new I thought.

I waited for my parents to come home. Dreading every minute of my freedom.

A few days later, they came through the door, calling my name. My mother had just got off an 8-hour flight but was busy rearranging the plates which were put back out of order. She didn’t miss a beat. She then looked me straight in the eye.

I was trembling but strong.

“Thanks,” she said and returned to the dining room.

“Who fixed the window?” She asked.

It was broken the whole time; I just never noticed.

“Surprise!” I said, smirking.

It was broken the whole time!

That was the last time I had a New Year’s Party. And for punishment, I got to look at the green glass every day to remind me of what happened when I tried to defy my parent’s wishes.

More Great Reading:

I Begged My Parents Not to Come to Graduation; The Long Road Home

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