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A Stranger’s Kiss

Adam couldn’t even remember what the fight was about, but it ended the relationship with a devastating suddenness. Strange how the moments that stick with us forever—the unforgettable images eternally burned into our memory—start off so inconsequential that we often can’t remember how they truly began. The argument between Adam and his girlfriend Tiffany was one such moment; a bad memory that haunted him during those long quiet periods between being asleep and awake.

All he had now were memories of Tiffany. Another new year is about to arrive but all Adam can do is think about the time they shared together. They shared many happy moments together: times full of laughter, love, and passion. Yet out of all those memories the only one that kept coming back to him—kept cutting in front of the other happier memories, refusing to hide away in the dark—was the one fight which ruined everything. Another strange things we do: ignore the countless positive memories in favor of the few bad ones. It’s almost as if humans secretly relish emotional pain.

New Year’s eve always held a special bond between Adam and Tiffany. Not only had they watched the ball drop together for the last five years, they actually met during the ball drop of the first of those five years. Two strangers desperate to share a New Year’s kiss came together in the most unexpected way. Even more unexpected was how that first kiss—ringing in the new year before even knowing each other’s names—led to four more New Year’s kisses. Such as life, their tradition wouldn’t last forever.

No matter how much thought he gave it, Adam couldn’t remember how the fight started. He remembered shouting, cursing at her with words he almost never said. The hurt she felt became immediately apparent. Tears welled up in her eyes and she very nearly crumbled like sand under a great wave. He had never treated her like that before, and even now he didn’t know why he acted so harshly towards her. No matter what started the fight—whether it was her fault or his—held no importance. The most important thing was how he’d reacted. How he spit such venom at the love of his life. Why did he do it? A few moments of anger undid five years of bliss. Now, he was alone. Alone as the ball dropped and the new year was about to arrive.

The countdown began. Even though Tiffany wasn’t with him, he felt he had to keep up their tradition of watching the ball drop. Tucked in the middle of an immense crowd like a single piece of confetti among the millions to drop, he never felt more alone. If only she was next to him, tucked into the nook of his arm and looking up at him with her beautiful hazel eyes. Just like she had done the previous five years. But his arm was empty. Only cold, hard concrete stared up at him.

People shouted in unison as the ten second mark hit. Adam couldn’t focus on the ball, though. His mind was with her—following her out the door as she rushed away from him in that moment, that bad memory. She didn’t look back, but in his memory he followed her. In real life he had only watched her leave, still full of rage over the inconsequential fight they had.

He did his best to imagine what happened next. He followed her to her car and got in the passenger seat. Tears were streaming down her face and she was shuddering—partially from emotion and partially from the cold. She had forgotten her coat when she hurried out the door, doing her best to make sure he didn’t see the tears caused by his horrible words. She peeled out onto the street; her tires screeched against the icy road. There were no other cars out as it was very late and snowing with a silent heaviness. She wasn’t supposed to leave that night. It was his words—his malicious actions that drove her from the safety of his arms.

Adam sat in the passenger seat and watched Tiffany sob uncontrollably. He wanted to reach out and wipe the tears from her face—tell her everything was okay and that he was sorry. He needed to tell her his ego was hurt but it wasn’t her fault. And most importantly, he needed her to know that he loved her more than anything in the world. She was his world. He needed her to know, but he wasn’t really there.

In reality, the last time he saw Tiffany alive was through the window of his house when he watched her get into her car and pull away that snowy night. She was all alone. Just like he felt now. Their love story ended in an instant, all because of a fight. A fight he couldn’t even remember the cause of.

The clock struck midnight and the crowd roared with excitement. Confetti filled the air and the joy and excitement in the streets was overwhelming. Adam didn’t even notice. He had hoped coming to this event would bring back the memory of kissing a stranger. A stranger who became the best thing in his life.

Even though Adam was surrounded by a massive crowd, he was alone with her, staring into those beautiful hazel eyes. It was only a memory, but it was all he had left.

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