Happy New Year 1987
Happy New Year 1987
Dustin Henderson was getting everything ready for the big night. The old year of 1986 was about to go the way of the dinosaur. It was none too soon either. This had been one of the worst years ever. He was trying to cling to the idea that a new year meant a new hope for the future. That's what led to tonight.
So much had happened in Hawkins recently. He was a freshman in Hawkins High now. Dustin was actually fond of The Hellfire Club. He and Mike both found others that liked D&D as much as they did. Still when the murders started and the bottom fell out, Dustin was ready to put it behind him. Getting close to others meant that when you lost them, it hurt more. He could see that in his mother's eyes. She was thinking about his father again.
This year, his mother was volunteering at the Community Center leaving Dustin alone. It was fine by him. He promised he'd not have a repeat of Mother's Day and the minor kitchen fire he'd caused. Who knew making pancakes would be such a hassle?
With VHS in hand, Dustin was finally ready. He laid the cassette aside on the coffee table and went into the kitchen for the microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn was simple enough. He'd done it plenty of times before. He started that popping and moved toward the refrigerator. His mom had bought him some special sized bottles of Mountain Dew. They were glass with Styrofoam covering the bottom half. He grabbed one of those bottles and returned to the microwave. By that time the popcorn was ready.
The sad part about this new year's eve was that Dustin was alone. All his friends were doing their own thing. A part of him missed his friends, but he was okay. He could do this. Even Suzie was doing things with her family in Utah and couldn't talk to him on the radio. He sighed heavily. It wasn't like it was when they were younger and in elementary school. That was another lifetime ago. Now here they were in high school. He didn't want to think about it, but the thought came to him that this was the beginning of the end. The whole thought made him sick.
He was finally back in the living room about to park his behind on the sofa for the rest of the year. He chuckled to himself. Those New Year's Eve jokes were corny as hell, but he considered them part of his appeal. He was always the happy guy among his friends. Little did they know or see the times when they certainly wouldn't recognize him. Crying himself to sleep on too many occasions was something he'd never publicly confess to doing. He was Dustin Henderson. He was the happiest guy on the planet. Yeah, right.
The remote control was a rectangle with a bright red button in the right corner that was an on off switch. He double checked his watch to be sure of the correct time. He hit the biggest button in the center that started the tape. It was time for the final countdown to begin. The new year of 1987 was nigh at hand.
Dustin had seen this movie so many times, he could quote it. He always enjoyed this movie. It had changed his life forever, five short years ago. There was a reason Han Solo was his favorite character. Han was the one everyone counted on in a clutch. Sure Luke was the hero, but Han was content to let someone else have the glory. Luke still counted on Han to get the job done when the situation called for it. Han reminded him a lot of Eddie.
The story progressed bringing Dustin to the edge of his seat more than once. It wasn't his first time watching. The young man knew how it would end. Luke was focusing in on that conduit to shoot with Darth Vader locking in his target ready to destroy Luke when BAM! Han Solo fired his shots to take Vader out of the way. It reminded Dustin of Eddie standing on top of that trailer wailing away on that ax in the Upside Down.
As the Death Star exploded, Dustin's watch went off with a special alarm signifying the official start of 1987. His fingertips were pressing into his eyes again as bitter tears assaulted his vision. All those feelings that day in the Upside Down came rushing back. Dustin spoke not a word as sorrow and deep loneliness filled his heart.
He couldn’t speak the words, but he thought them to himself. Happy New Year Eddie. Without you, this year is going to suck. Dustin reached for some napkins and tried to dry his eyes. He rested his forehead on his fingertips as he watched the rest of the movie with Han and Luke getting decorated by Leia. It should have been Eddie, Steve and Nancy but it wasn't. When the final credits rolled, Dustin felt cheated. This wasn't supposed to be like this. He really hoped 1987 was a better year. Right now instead of being hopeful, Dustin was melancholy. Getting older sucked.
"Never Change Dustin Henderson. Promise Me." credit: james kriet