“The time now is eleven forty. Twenty minutes later we will enter the New Year!” Said the news reporter.
This was the brightest New Year’s Eve ever in the recent years in New York City. All the lights were on, all the shops were open, all the people were awake…The city was filled with joy and excitement, as they were celebrating the coming New Year and decade.
“Fifteen minutes left! Fifteen minutes later we will say goodbye to 2019 and welcome our New Year and decade—2020! I repeat, fifteen minutes left!”
There in a bar near Times Square, sat a lonely young lady. She was about eighteen, and she had a pretty face. There she sat in the corner, all alone, having her milk shake. Unlike the crowd, she didn’t look thrilled. She kept stirring and staring at her milk shake. It seems that there deep inside her heart, hid a lot of secrets.
“Ten minutes left, I repeat, ten minutes left!” The crowd cheered as the news reporter announced. They were very delighted. All the New York citizens were excited about the coming New Year and decade. A lot of people had already gathered in Times Square, waiting with their family and friends. Inside the bar, people chatted loudly, sang songs, danced and drank. You could find happiness everywhere in the city, and the happiness doubled as time passed. However, the young lady in the corner remains silent and calm.
“As there are ten more minutes, I suggest you, my friend, to recall the moments that had happened in this year of 2019.” The news continued. “No matter whether they are happy or not, we like them or not. You may also think of the goals you’ve set in the beginning of this year. Have you reached them? Have anything special in your life happened this year? Have you learnt anything new this year? Have you got to know yourself more? Have you changed some of your bad habits?”
“Umm… Nothing special happened…Yeah, I am still myself. Nothing changed… Everything’s the same…Yeah…” The young lady thought as she heard the news reporter said.
Suddenly, the bar’s door yanked opened. Five young men walked in. The five young men’s age was about the same as the young lady’s. All five of them were handsome and well-built. However, you could see one of them was more attractive and charming than others. If you happened to see him, I bet you would look fixedly on him.
The appearance of the five young men caught the young lady’s attention. As she saw them, she quickly realized that she was wrong about nothing special had happened this year…
The young lady was called Janet. She was a university student. She was shy, so she seldom talked to others and never shared her own thoughts with others. She wasn’t outgoing, so she always sat alone in the corner. She was a calm person, and sometimes she was indifferent to everything.
Like the past school years, this year when Janet was having her first lesson in the university, she was still avoiding talking to others, and went straight to the back of the classroom and sat in the corner. After she sat down, she immediately took out her own notebook, lower her hand and pretend that she was reading her notes, hoping no one would notice and talk to her.
Ten minutes before the class started, five young men rushed into the classroom.
“Phew, that was close,” one of the young men said under his breath. “We’re almost late for class.”
“Actually, we have ten more minutes,” said another young men as he glanced at the clock.
“Let’s get to seat, boys,” another young man said as he looked around the classroom. “Umm, it seems that one of us needs to sit alone in the corner while the rest of us sit in the front role.”
The classroom was almost full. The only seats left were the seat beside Janet and four other seats in the front role. The five young men looked at each other. None of them wanted to sit alone.
“Let’s have paper-scissors-stone then!” one of them said.
“Paper-scissors-stone? Come on! How old are you!”
“18, and if you have a better idea, then say it.”
“Oh please, at least don’t do it in the middle of the classroom. I don’t want others to see us doing this.”
“Time is running short, be quick!”
“Fine I will go.” One of them said.” I am sick of this. See you guys after the lesson!”
The young man who volunteered to sit in the corner walked towards the seat beside Janet in the corner. However, before he sat down, he had to make sure that the seat was really empty.
“Excuse me, is this seat empty?” he asked Janet gently.
Janet jumped as she heard the question. Looking up from her notebook, she saw a handsome young man standing next to her. She stared at him with her mind all blank. She wasn’t expecting someone talking to her.
“Umm…Excuse me? Is this seat empty?” the young man asked again politely.
“Oh! Umm…No. Oh! No! I…I mean yes, this seat is empty…” Janet mumbled with a reply.
The young man smiled, then took his seat.
Janet was so embarrassed. Her face turned red. This was the first time she spoke to a male stranger. She tried to stay calm and act normal, but that only made her worse.
Luckily, the professor walked inside the classroom and distracted her thoughts. As the lesson started, the young man took out his notebook, and got his pen ready. Janet took a peep at the book and saw the young man’s name. Benjamin.
“Benjamin, what a cute name…”Janet thought.
The professor started to talk, Janet tried to focus, but she had a hard time following his talk. The professor was talking as fast as a jet. Other students in the classroom had a difficult time to follow too. They had asked the professor to repeat for a dozen times. However, Benjamin could follow almost everything the professor talked. It seemed it was a piece of cake for him to follow what the professor said.
When it came to a short break, the students were still busy making their notes. Benjamin was the only student who had finished making his notes. Janet was trying her best to remember what the professor had talked about and put them down in her notes, but no matter how hard she tried, she could only remember a few of them. Seeing Janet in trouble, Benjamin helpfully gave Janet his notebook.
“You need some help? You can copy my notes.”
Janet was astonished as Benjamin talked to her again. “Umm… No… I could do it myself…”
“Really? No offence, but you look like a—“
Janet stopped Benjamin to continue on his sentence by scowling at him.
Benjamin immediately got his note book back. “Suit yourself,” He said with a shrug and a smile.
After a while, Janet finally gave up. However, she really wanted to complete her notes. She didn’t want to ask Benjamin, afraid that he would laugh at her. Therefore, she peeped at his note instead.
The young man had really sharp eyes, he noticed that Janet was pepping his notes. He made her a funny look, and asked Janet, “Hey, didn’t you say you could do it yourself?”
Janet shot him a look.
Benjamin smile again. “Here, take it.” He whispered, acting the way how Janet talked as he handed his notebook to Janet. “It’s a bit messy, but I think you can read them.”
Janet shot him a dirty look, and whispered back, “Thanks.”
The lesson continued as the break ended. This time, the professor finally slowed down a bit. However, Janet still couldn’t follow him. Not because she could not catch up, but her mind flew to other places. She was still thinking about what had happened at the break time.
“What a strange guy,” she thought. “Why does he always smile? Why would he help me? I don’t know him, but why is he treating me like a friend?”
The most astonishing thing is, every time when she thought of what had happened in the break time, Janet could feel that her heart was beating so fast, and there was warmth inside.
The young lady could not help herself anymore and she stared at the young man who sat next to her. Benjamin noticed the stares again, and he felt a bit uncomfortable. Still he asked politely, “May I help you?”
“Oh! Nothing! I am fine, thank you.” Janet quickly lowered her head.
“It’s okay if the answer is no, you can have them continued in the New Year! You can also set a new goal, and put away the past, the sad things, and look forward! Yes, in the New Year, we will be happy and smile again. It’s really important to heal your heart if your heart was hurt this year. Anyway, the time now is eleven fifty-five! Five more minutes to go! I repeat, five more minutes!”
The news reporter’s report and the crowd’s cheer pulled Janet back to reality. Janet glanced at the five young men. She saw Benjamin there.
She leaned forward to the table, tried to listen to what the young men were chatting. She could hear that they’ve ordered 5 take-away drinks, including 1 milk shake, 2 coffee and 1 chocolate latte. She could also hear their conversation.
“You hear the news guy? He said that we should heal our hearts if they are hurt.” One of the young men said. Janet looked closer, and recognized that he was Benjamin’s brother, Lawrence. Lawrence looked very similar to Benjamin, both were blond, and had shiny eyes. Lawrence was two weeks older than Benjamin, and they had the same height. The brothers were close to each other and always stuck together, this made people always mix up the two of them.
“Yes, I wish I can do it too.” The young man who sat beside Benjamin said. Janet recognized him as well, he was Benjamin’s best friend, Edison. “As you know, I am in love with a girl. This is okay to me, as I have experienced the feeling of love. However, the problem is, I haven’t experienced the love of first sight. This is the first time that I have fallen in love with someone by first sight. I usually love them after we get along with each other. I am really nervous, what should I do if I really love her? I don’t know her very well yet, and I am too shy to talk to her. What if she already has a boyfriend? What if she actually hates me? I don’t know whether she wants to know me or not. This really annoys and hurts me. I know this sounds strange, but… my heart really hurts.”
“Umm I would say if I were you, I won’t hope to know whether she likes me or not.” The young man who sat next to Edison said. Janet took a minute to recognize him. His name was Tony. “I mean, as you guys know, I love a girl too. I tried to talk to her, but every time I walk towards her she will walk away as well. One time I succeed to talk to her, but she immediately tell me to go away. She hates me. I tried to forget her, but I can’t! I mean, I am still in love with her, although I know she hates me a lot. I know it’s meaningless to continue this love, but…but it’s really hard to give up this love too. This really hurts me. What can I do?”
“Oh yours are kid stuff, mine is more hurtful.” The young man who sat next to Edison said. Janet knew him too. He was Matthew. “As you know, I have a brother. However, he ran away from home two months ago. Nobody knows why he had run away–he didn’t leave any clues or notes to us. We are living happily, and we seldom argued. There’s no reason that he has to run away from home! We are all worried about him. We haven’t heard any words from him. We don’t know where he is, how is he… We tried to call him, but he didn’t answer the call. I miss him very much. My younger sister and I haven’t slept for weeks! How can I heal my heart with this?”
Hearing the young men’s own business made Janet felt a bit embarrassed. Then she thought of her own problem. Her heart was hurt as well.
“Thank you.” Janet handed the notebook back to Benjamin.
“You’re welcome.” Benjamin said.
The lesson ended. The students started to leave the classroom. Soon, the only people left in the classroom were Benjamin, Janet, Lawrence, Edison, Tony and Matthew.
After Benjamin finished packing his things, he turned to Janet. “Well, I figured out that we haven’t been introduced. My name is Benjamin Robinson. You can call me Benjamin or Ben for short. What’s your name?”
Janet was about to answer, but then Lawrence, Edison, Tony and Matthew hurried to Benjamin.
“Hey! Benny, can you hear what the Old Rapper is talking about?” Tony asked without noticing Janet.
“Old what?” Benjamin asked,
“Old Rapper. That professor. He is like, rapping instead of speaking. Anyway, can you hear what is he talking about?” Edison said. “I can only hear a few.”
“Yes. I can hear.” Benjamin replied.
“Can you lend your notes to us?” Matthew asked.
“Sure, but not now. Let’s leave the classroom first. I will give it to you once we are back to the dormitory.”
“Thanks, Ben, you are the best brother in the whole world!”
Benjamin must have forgotten the conversation between Janet and himself. The five young men walked out of the classroom. Leaving Janet all alone. Janet hurriedly packed her stuff and walked out of the classroom. However on her way out of the classroom, she was tripped by something.
Janet picked the thing up. A blue pen was lying in her palm. She recognized it was Benjamin’s pen.
Janet hurried out of the classroom. She ran through the corridor and searched for Benjamin. Far away, she saw Benjamin’s head. She ran towards him, but there was so many people. Janet pushed her way through the crowd, but when she got out of the crowd, Benjamin had already gone.
“Your drinks are ready.” The coffee shop owner said to the five young men as he served the drink to them. “By the way, wish you guys have a happy New Year and decade.”
“Thanks.” Benjamin said. “ Let’s go out to the Times Square and have some fun there, boys.”
“Sure, a walk will be fine to me.” Matthew said.
“Agree.” said Edison.
“What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Lawrence said.
The five young men stood up and left the coffee shop. Janet looked up from her mind, and found out the young men had already left. Janet quickly rushed out of the coffee shop, and tried to follow the young men. However, as she stepped out of the coffee shop, she only found herself in a crowd.
“Oh no, not again.” Janet murmured to herself.
Janet remembered before the five young men left the coffee shop, they said that they were going to Times Square. Therefore, Janet handed to the Times Square to look for them.
When she arrived at the Times Square, she saw thousands of people. She looked up and saw the New Year’s Eve ball. She also saw the big screen that showed the countdown. It showed how much time left for the new year. Janet glanced at it and saw there were only two minutes left.
Strangely, Janet wanted to find Benjamin very much. “If the last thing that I want to do in the year of 2019, I would say is to find Benjamin.” Janet thought out loud. “I hope I could find him in these two minutes.”
Janet looked around and pushed her way through the crowd. This reminds her the time she wanted to return the pen back to Benjamin. “Benjamin? Benjamin? Where are you?” To her surprise, she yelled. She had never yelled in public before.
The crowd was too noisy. It covered Janet’s voice. Janet was very anxious. “Time was running out,” she thought. She looked up and saw there was one minute left.
“Oh no. I am not going to do it. Oh no.” Janet was very sad. Her strength all went away.She wanted to give up. She wanted to go back home. However, Benjamin’s smile appeared in her mind. Janet’s strength went back to her.
“Oh yes, I am going to make it! I can do it!” Janet thought. “ I still get forty more seconds.” She continued to look for Benjamin.
Benjamin and his gang were in the front of the crowd. They were drinking their drinks, as they watch the countdown. When it came to the last thirty seconds, Matthew saw a familiar figure next to him. When he looked at the familiar stranger more closely, he led out a loud gasp, causing all his friends jumped.
“Marko, is that you?”
“Matt?” the man who stood next to Matthew said.
Matthew jumped into his brother’s arm and they hugged each other. The four young men were stunned at first, it took a moment for them to realize what had just happened. They cheered for the reunion of the brothers.
Suddenly, the crowd cheered. Benjamin, Lawrence, Edison and Tony looked up and found out there was only fifteen seconds left. They looked back at the brothers. They were still hugging.
“FIFTEEN! FOURTEEN! THIRTEEN! TWELVE! ELEVEN! TEN!”
“ Promise me, Marko. Don’t leave us anymore. Stay with us.”
“NINE! EIGHT! SEVEN! SIX!”
Marko! Promise me please!” Matthew was crying.
“FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWO!”
“ONE!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!”
BOOM! A colorful firework bloomed in the sky, it’s like it was for the brother’s promise. The crowd cheered. Matthew burst into happy tears. He hugged Marko, squeezing him so tight that he could barely breathe.
“This is the best new year ever!” Matthew cried.
Benjamin, Lawrence, Edison and Tony were so glad that Matthew had finally met his brother.
Looks like Matt that guy has already healed his heart,” Lawrence whispered to his brother and his friends. “How about you two?” He looked at Edison and Tony.
“I think I know how to heal my heart. You see, my heart was hurt because I was too shy to speak up. So…If you guys don’t mind, excuse me…” Edison turned away and walked to the left.
Benjamin, Lawrence and Tony looked at him in astonishment–They didn’t know what he was talking about and where he was heading to. Then they saw Edison walking towards a lonely young lady. Then Edison started to talked with her, and after a while they chatted happily, like they were close friends.
“That Eddie!” Lawrence laughed when he saw them chatting. “Oh my, so he has healed his heart by talking to the girl he loves and gets to know her. How about you, Ton?”
“I am going to do like what Eddie is doing. You see the girls over there? They are all beautiful. More beautiful than the girl that I loved at school. By seeing them, I can finally put that girl down. My heart isn’t in pain anymore! Hey! I hope I can do it nicely, like Eddie over there. So wish me luck!”
Benjamin and Lawrence giggled so hard, and they watched Tony walk towards the girls. The brothers smiled at each other. Lawrence put his arms on Benjamin’s shoulder and they looked at Times Square with great joy. The brothers hoped that this new year and new decade would be a good one, and wished for a happily ever after.
Janet slowly walked back to her home. She was in the worst mood ever. She was very upset, and she felt that she was a failure. Tears were rolling in her eyes. She lowered her head on her way home.
As she walked passed a convenient store, she remembered her mom had asked her to help her to buy a pack of wet wipes. Janet reached her hands into her pockets, trying to find her money. But instead, she found a pen.
Tears rolled down to her cheeks. She didn’t have time to return the pen to him. No, she didn’t have CHANCE. She never able to sit with Benjamin, talk to him…
Her heart was hurt. She was so sad. She sat down at a bench and cried. “Why am I so introverted! Why can’t I be more outgoing! If I am an outgoing person, I will be his friend, and I won’t be missing him so much, I won’t become heartbroken, I won’t…”
After a while, Janet calmed down. She dried her tears. She understood that it was useless to continue crying. She should cheer up. It wasn’t too late to change.
“From now on, I need to be an outgoing person. I have to jump out of my comfort zone. I have to get to know others. I have to be a caring person. I have to get into the crowd. I need to speak up. I need to be brave. And after all, I have to find Benjamin and tell him my thoughts!” She held the pen tightly and promised to herself. “I have to say goodbye to the old me. After all, this is a new year, and a NEW DECADE. “
Janet stood up from the bench. When she walked past another bench, she saw a lonely little girl sitting there, watching a couple of girls playing in the park. It seemed she wanted to play with them, but she was too shy.
“My heart has been healed,” Janet thought. “And now I have to help others to heal their hearts.”
Janet took a deep breath, and walked towards the little girl. She sat next to her, and said, “Happy New Year and Decade! My name’s Janet. What’s yours?”