(370 + 500 words)
First of all, a Very Happy New Year to all my followers, and to those followers with blogs and/or books, I wish you every success with them in 2018!
I’m starting the year with 350 followers, which I can hardly believe, so thank you again for following To Cut a Short Story Short!
I’m very pleased to say that I managed to post a new story every five days throughout 2017, a goal I set myself. I also self-published two books and had audiobooks made from them, something I never could have imagined one year ago!
I also entered two writing competitions a month throughout the year. No prizes yet, but fingers crossed for the coming year!
I’m intending to continue my WordPress publishing schedule throughout 2018, and I’ll be publishing a new book of stories about October time: To Cut a Short Story Short II: 89 Little Stories. Because the stories are longer now, that’ll be around 80,000 words, which should come out around 400 pages, so quite a substantial volume. It should be available as an audiobook in time for Christmas 2018!
I’ve a children’s picture book in the pipeline too, Promise Her the Moon, which has been submitted to a number of publishers and which I hope will be accepted and in print in the latter part of 2018. Then, who knows, there might even be a sequel!
Finally, I’ve been running a fortnightly story group for the last two years (currently 400 words). A collection is sent out by e-mail every other Sunday. Right now there are a small number of dedicated contributors sending in one or two stories per fortnight (big thanks to those talented people!). New members are always welcome!
So, without further ado, I’m republishing New Year’s Eve Ritual, my third most popular post (in terms of ‘likes’) ever. I have to copy the post, otherwise a notification isn’t sent out, which means there are two copies of the same story on the blog, but I think it’s worth it. I don’t want to copy and paste the old comments, but if you’d like to read them (recommended) here’s the link.
Best wishes, Simon.
Boxes, special boxes, lie at the bottom of my locked filing cabinet. Deposited there are letters and cards collected throughout my life. From grandparents, school-friends, parents, lovers, wives, children, more lovers, more children. Since the invention of e-mail though, they’ve been few and far between.
Tonight it’s New Year’s Eve 2027 and there’s a very special box of letters I want to look at. But first there’s something I have to do – The Ritual.
I go to my trusted computer and start. I’m alone in the house. My partner, Suzanne is at her parents, the kids are grown up, probably remonstrating with their own kids about coming home at a ‘sensible’ hour. As if!
I begin to type. Dear – . I leave the name blank for now, anticipating the thrill of typing it in. ‘I hope you are well and I wonder how this will find you? You were talking about moving to a villa in Portugal. Are you still planning to live there? Did you marry Fiona? Is your mother still alive?’ Questions surge into my mind.
I take a swig of cider, Weston’s Vintage Cider 2026, 8.2% alcohol. Three bottles for a fiver at Tesco, same as it’s been for the last ten years! I swill the amber liquid around my tongue and savour grass, twigs, toffee, leaves, moonlit apples.
For the next two hours I sit writing and drinking cider. About what I’ve been doing myself for the last year, my failing health, my increasing wealth and my disastrous love life. Then about my goals and aspirations. Maybe they’ll be interested? Do that trek up Kilimanjaro, play a recital on the piano, maybe get that novel published. The one that’s been rejected more times than I care to think about. But hey! What about Stephen King, Agatha Christie and J K Rowling?
Finally it’s finished. 11.30 p.m., half an hour before ‘witching hour.’ How pleased I am to sit ‘in here’, writing, rather than ‘out there,’ getting ‘wrecked’ and singing Auld Lang Syne with strangers!
I fill in the recipient, print my letter, sign and address it, then seal it up with tape. Finally I delete the document and empty the trash folder. That completes the ritual!
I go down to the fridge and take out a bottle of Chardonnay. I pour a large glassful of lemon-coloured nectar, then go back upstairs to my ‘special box.’ It contains ten long, white, thick envelopes, all with the same handwriting. I slot the one I have just written in at the back and take out the one at the front. It’s dated 2017, and labelled ‘to be opened 31st December 2027.’
The cycle is finally complete! I open it, trembling with anticipation. I begin to read, my eyes misting as I do so. Throughout the last ten long, eventful years, of life, death, joy and heartbreak, it has been waiting patiently in this box for me, though I now have no memory of ever having written it.
To read the comments on the original version of this post please click HERE
N.B. This post was republished on New Year’s Eve 2018/2019. Please click HERE
to see it.