‘Whit’s wrang Jordan?’
‘Ah’ve stapled ma finger again instead o’ the paper…..it’s sare’
‘Och son, yer as daft as a brush sometimes, and that’s being unkind tae the brush. But yer only 18, yiv still got time tae work oot how tae use the stapler’
‘Ha ha very funny Annie. Ma minds oan the night. Aw ma pals…New Years Eve, the Bells, Hogmanay party, big bevvie, collapso…..braw, cannae beat it. What are you daein the night?’
‘Och, I’ve got loads of friends comin roon. Watch Still Game and Only an Excuse for the millionth time. Come the bells,we’ll hae a wee whisky or two and rave it up til the small hours’
‘That’s nice. I was wondering what ye would dae after what happened with your husband. Been a bad year for you. Ah’m glad yer no going to be on yer own’
‘Don’t be daft Jordan, I’ll be fine, ye might be daft, but yer a nice boy so ye are’
‘Well, after ye helped me find somewhere tae stay efter ma mum and dad chucked me oot. That was really nice of ye. Especially when you had such a bad time yersel. Really appreciate it’
‘Well, imagine chucking ye oot for setting fire tae a chip pan……’
‘Well, it did burn half the hoose doon…… and it wuz the third time in twae years…….Anywise, Annie, did ye hear aboot big Callum frae the stores?’
‘No, what’s happened?’
‘It’s ok, the big galloot got into a fork lift truck, sat doon and set awf a fire extuinguisher that’d rolled under his seat. The boys said he came out looking like Santa……’
‘Ha ha………gosh I shouldn’t laugh. That’s a good one. I must go and tell the lassies in the accounts office. They’ll love that one. If I don’t see you, have a lovely party and don’t drink too much………and definitely nae fryin chips when ye get hame….! ‘
……10 minutes later – the Accounts office
‘Hi girls, what are ye gossiping aboot the day?
‘Hi Annie…..we’re just talkin aboot Ailsa frae planning’
‘What on earth’s happened now Karen, I was just hearing aboot big Callum’
‘Aye, Big Callum….that was hilarious. No, Ailsa kicked her man oot the hoose and replaced him wi anither wummin, she’s then fell oot wi her, got her man back in only tae kick him back oot again, aw in the space o’ a week……’
‘So who’s she shackin up wi noo…….?’
‘Naebody……she’s bought a dug instead……’
‘AW Goad, dinnae make me laugh again. Ma sides are beginning to ache….before ah forget are oany o’ yeez going for a drink after work’
‘Sorry Annie, ah’ve got a family party tonight. Ah’m no share aboot the rest of them………while yer here and before ah forget, ah’ve got something fir ye’
‘just some flowers hen and a bit of bubbly. Despite the fact ye were grievin yer ane husband. when George and i were in Australia and couldnae visit ma Uncle when he went into hospital, ye took time to visit him. Here ye are doll. Yer a gem’
‘Och ye shouldne have. Yer a dafty’
‘Have you got something arranged for the Bells?.
‘Och aye lass, dinnae worry aboot me. I’ll have a great time. Ah miss Bobby, but you have to move on. He wouldn’t want me to be sitting on ma ain grieving….. you enjoy yersels and ah’ll see you all in the New Year back at the grindstone’
‘ok Annie, why don’t you ask in the stores, that lot always go out for a drink on New Years Eve….check wi that lot’
Annie headed out into the corridor. It HAD been a dreadful year. She missed Bob like nothing on Earth and still couldn’t believe he wouldn’t be here to see in the New Year. It only seemed like yesterday, he’d be there making the tea when she got in from work. He couldn’t cook for tuppence, but she’d now give anything for one of his burnt omelettes. He’d once cooked pizzas for them under the grill, only to flip them over to grill the other side…she reached for her hankie……stop it Annie, stop it…..head up…..Bob would tell ye off for crying.
She’d sorted herself out before she reached the stores…….
‘Ah just the very person……! ‘
‘Oh…Hiya Jimmy….glad to see yer smilin face….what can ah sort oot for ye the day?’
‘Ah’ve got sumthin for ye…….’
‘Whit’s this fur noo, the lasses gave me flowers and bubbly…..’
‘It’s just some choccies and some vouchers for M&S, we know you love yer M&S. Ye organised the lottery syndicate aw year, ye brought us veggies from yer garden during the summer and, most of all, ye recognised how ill Brian was that day, and rushed him to the hospital. You saved his life…..apart from that…yer just an all out and out nice lady.’
She could feel her face flushing as he gave her a peck on the cheek.
‘I don’t suppose the lads are heading for a New Year after work drink – i’d like to buy something in return’
‘Och Annie. wi these new drink drive laws aw the lads are no gan this year. Canny even have one noo’
‘och ah forgot aboot that. och never mind it’ll no matter. Ah better get on, thanks for the gifts ye shouldnae huv’
‘Nae bother hen, you have a good new year’
Annie left work about an hour later and headed back home. As she reached her front door she stopped.With her son Andrew and daughter Jane living in Australia, and Bob gone, this would be her first New Year on her own. She knew Andrew and Jane would phone at 3pm as Australia reached midnight their time. She turned the key……opened the door…it was cold…she’d have to get the heating on. She put the light on and closed the door behind her.
She sat for a while in silence, thinking about Bob and the kids. All the happy times they had together. Even the time Bob had run a bath, offered to take her shopping in Ayr, only to return to find water running down the driveway, after Bob forgot to have the bath! made her smile. He was always the best dafty in the world.
Midnight in Australia arrived, and she took calls from both Jane and Andrew. She told both of them off for phoning from Australia using their mobiles, as it was costing them a fortune, but they just laughed at her. They had a wee cry and that was it, silence.
She would stay up to the Bells, have a drink for Bob,go to bed. After tea she’d fallen asleep, only to wake at eleven o’ clock. She was annoyed at herself. Now she wouldn’t sleep. She went through to the kitchen and picked up Bob’s whisky bottle from the exact position he’d left it. She heated a steak pie for him. He loved Killie pies, poured his drink and one for herself. She switched the telly on and sat down to wait for Hogmanay to arrive.
With ten minutes to go she heard loud bangs nearby. Someone was letting off fireworks ten minutes early. ‘Dafties’ she thought to herself. She smiled. Who cared. As long as they were having fun Who cared if they didn’t know what time it was.
Gosh, that one was really loud and they were going off all over the place. She looked through the glass in the front door. It was frosted glass but she could still see the beautiful colours of the chorus of fireworks outside. Wow. Somebody was having a party and a BIG one at that. She went to open the door.
‘Ding dong Ding dong’
Annie jumped. Somebody was at the door. She put the outside light on and creaked open the door on the chain.
‘Hiya Annie it’s me open up.
The voice sounded familiar so she unlocked the chain. Fireworks were still going off in the background. My they were close.
There stood Jordan from work.
‘Jordan. what are u doing here you haven’t burnt your flat down have you?’
‘Ha.. i’ve brought some friends round for the Bells, hurry up….’
‘….but i thought you were partying with your…..’
She looked past him, suddenly people were appearing from behind the hedge……..
Callum headed through the door, only to be replaced by Karen, Taylor and the rest of the girls from accounts.
She couldn’t believe it.
‘Hi Annie don’t worry we’ve brought drink……somebody push her jaw back up lassies….she looks like a guppie…..’
Then Jimmy and the boys from stores appeared.
‘Whit on earth… Jimmy..’
‘There’s no way, after all you’ve done for us we could leave you alone on Hogmanay. Everyone’s here, hope you like the fireworks…..they’re for you……oh and we’ve got another present for you………you didn’t notice did you – let’s go through to the livingroom it’s the Bells in 10 seconds, hurry’
…Annie was gobsmacked….Jimmy almost lifted her off her feet and through the livingroom door. The place was mobbed, people everywhere, it was mayhem…..apart from a space in the centre of the livingroom where two people stood facing her…..
It was going to be a Happy New Year after all………
A Happy New Year was brought to you by David Linden and Dodo Productions © 2014