Jenny carefully lays out her outfit on the bed. Through the flimsy walls, she can hear her sister doing the same in the next room. She knows Joan will emerge from the other side, all dolled up in a tantalising little black number. There will be lots of makeup, a tiny bag, lace, high heeled shoes and dangling earrings. Jenny on the other hand will simply pull her stringy blond hair into an unassuming bun; she’ll wear her flat black shoes and her standard yellow jacket. The younger sister will head out to become the life of many parties hitting the city tonight. She’ll dance and drink, and will surrender to the celebrations. The older sister will fret and worry, and spend the whole night on her feet. She dreads people like Joan on days like this. She is sure she’ll have to make at least a dozen arrests tonight. She desperately hopes Joan won’t be one of them. From across the wallpaper Joan can’t stop talking about her big plans for the end of the year; for Jenny it promises to be a long, hard wait till 2008.
His birthdays were never as special as other peoples. Friends and family often pointed out how wonderful it must be to have the whole world celebrate with him, but these words hardly ever comforted him. Even as a child he understood his anonymity, being reduced to celebrating his being with a drunken, wasted world.
She has a shabby little calendar next to her bed. It is the kind that is full of cute little kittens and puppies, rolling around a green garden with a beach ball, or in a basket, or sitting in a pair of red converse shoes. It is full of little notes, scratched across in her untidy hand. Each little cluster spells out the important or interesting events of the year, and her living them. She looks at the calendar intently: soon she’ll cross out the last day of the year. It’s something she looks forward to every year: at the other end a clean canvas awaits her. This year is going to be bright, she decides.