Holiday Romance

“New Year’s resolutions are stupid,” Noemi said indignantly.

“Oh come on,” Lidia laughed. “It’s a way to improve yourself. New year, new you?”

    “I like myself just fine. I don’t need to change. I’m happy.”

   “Okay. That’s… that’s good, Noe.” Lidia placed a hand on Noemi’s shoulder. “I know you’ve had a rough time the past several months. With Cierra… You deserve happiness too.”

   “I’ve got to get back to work.” Noemi looked down at her watch. “Lunch is over.”

   “Okay. Remember, we’re meeting up at Darwin’s for happy hour. See you there!” Noemi and Lidia parted ways. Noemi sighed.

   Lidia only knew half of the story. She knew that Noemi’s ex-girlfriend, Cierra, had cheated on her with her yoga instructor. What Lidia didn’t know, was that at the beginning of the year, Cierra made a new year’s resolution to be healthier. She signed up for a yoga class at a gym near their apartment. Eight months later, Cierra fell in love with the instructor, told Noemi their relationship was over, and moved out. She left Noemi feeling abandoned. Life was dark and bleak after the breakup. Noemi vowed never to feel that way again.

   Now as the year was ending, everyone kept talking about resolutions they promised to keep for the new year. They all thought new year’s resolutions are a good thing. They’re supposed to improve a person’s life, not make them worse. Noemi had gotten to a place where she liked her life; she wasn’t going to screw it up by making silly resolutions. Nope, for now, she was going to keep living life the same way she has always lived it. That way, nothing will disappoint her. 

   Noemi stuck to her same routine of eating, drinking, and doing the same things she always had. She went to work at the same place where she has been for five, going on six, years. She did her job as diligently as always. She hung out with the same friends when time permitted. She ate at the same restaurants she always ate at. She cooked the same meals at home. She watched the same TV shows and participated in the same hobbies she always had. Life for Noemi was good. The breakup with Cierra was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

   “Noemi, I got a coworker, I think she would be perfect for you!” Everett, Noemi’s friend since high school, eagerly told her at their weekly Sunday brunch.

   “No, thanks.” Noemi didn’t want to start dating. “I don’t have the energy to do it all over again with someone new.” 

   “Come on! She’s great,” Everett beamed. “I think you and her would make a super sweet couple.”

   “Yeah, no thanks.” Noemi took a sip of her mimosa. She hoped Everett would let the matter go, but deep down she knew he wouldn’t. Everett didn’t stop until he got his way.

   “I swear, just one date!” Everett pleaded with her. “It could even be a double date with Robbie and me. You won’t regret it.”

   “Oi, Everett, leave the poor girl alone!” Lidia came to Noemi’s defense. “She’ll get back out there when she’s ready.”

   “It’s been what, practically forever since your breakup? It’s time to get back out there, Noe. It doesn’t have to be a serious thing,” Everett said. “Besides, my resolution this year was…”

   “I don’t want to hear it,” Noemi interrupted. “Thanks, Everett. I appreciate you looking out for me, I do. But I’m just not ready.”

“I’m sorry, Noe. Will you tell me when you are?” Evertt asked gently.

   “Yes. When I do, you can set me up with your coworker.” Noemi knew Everett had a kind heart and only wanted to help. 

~ ~ ~

   “Hey Noe! Do you want to come out with us for lunch? We’re thinking about hitting up a new restaurant that opened near Everett’s apartment.” Lidia asked over the phone.

   “No. I think I’m going to head out to Senorita Luisa’s.”

   “But you always eat there. Why not try something new?”

   “I don’t think so. Senorita Luisa’s the best restaurant in town. Why would I risk a meal I know I’ll love with a meal that I might not?”

   “It’s called adventure, Noemi. You should try it out.”

   “No. Maybe next time.”

   “Do you really mean that?”

   “How long have you known me, Lidia?”

   “Fine. Maybe I’ll join you at Senorita Luisa’s next time.”

   “That sounds like a much better plan.” They hung up and Noemi made her way to Senorita Luisa’s.

   “Number fifty two!” Jamie called out. Noemi stepped up to grab her order.

   “I don’t think this is right.” The order was for three veggie tacos. Noemi had ordered two carne asada tacos and an al pastor taco.

   “Sorry, I think that’s mine!” A voice to her right called out.

   “Here you go.” Noemi handed the dish to a pretty woman with dark curly hair and shiny brown eyes.

   “Sorry about that.” Jamie handed Noemi her order. “I must have looked at the wrong ticket.”

   “No problem, Jamie. Food looks good as always.” Noemi turned to find a place to eat when the woman whose order got mixed up with hers, called out.

   “Um, hey! Do you mind if I eat lunch with you?”

   “Sure. I think there’s a free table over there.” Noemi and the strange woman made their way to an empty table.

   “Thanks. I’m Briana.” The woman introduced herself.

   “Noemi.” They began to eat their lunches.

   “Thanks for letting me eat lunch with you, Noemi,” Briana said. “I’m new around here. I haven’t met anyone yet and didn’t want to eat lunch alone.”

   “Well you can’t go wrong here,” Noemi said. “This is definitely the best Mexican restaurant in town.”

   “I can definitely tell.” Briana wiped her mouth. “These are the best veggie tacos I think I’ve ever had!”

   “See? What did I tell you? My friends wanted me to go out and try a new place. But nothing can beat Senorita Luisa’s.”

   “Well I’m glad to be here to experience it,” Briana laughed. “I almost didn’t.”

   “What do you mean?”

   “Last year wasn’t the best for me. I was in a sticky situation. But I made a resolution to do things that I’ve always wanted to do. So, I packed up my stuff to move to a new city to get my dream job. Now, I’m here eating lunch with you.”

   “Sounds like it all worked out for you.” Noemi was grateful Briana made such a resolution. Who knows what would have happened if she never did?

   Noemi and Briana spent the next hour and a half talking and got to know each other more. They only had to stop when Briana mentioned she still needed some furniture for her new place. Noemi didn’t want to stop spending time with Briana, so she offered to go with her. 

~ ~ ~

   “So, got any New Year’s resolutions?” Everett asked, sipping on his champagne. Everett and Robbie threw the best New Year’s party Noemi had ever attended. People crowded around their apartment, with food and booze flowing freely. A DJ blasted music while people danced and sang along. Behind Everett, Noemi spotted Briana talking excitedly with Lidia. Briana caught Noemi looking at her and she flashed her a smile. Noemi smiled back.

   “No. I don’t need any resolutions.”

January 21, 2020 18:42

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RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

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