It was ten seconds till the end of 2015. Spirits were high, in a literal and spiritual sense, as was I.
I grabbed a can of beer in anticipation, even though I’d be downing them all night it would still feel special. People were making their way outside of the house. David’s fingers twitched as he eyed up the fireworks set into the grass. He had a missing finger due to a rogue firework one Bonfire’s night. It didn’t blow out the fuse that was his enthusiasm for rockets and sparks.
Those unaware of the countdown still sat inside the house. My girlfriend, Nicky, was one of them. There was no point looking for her. The countdown was now. She tended to wander off at house parties, we didn’t need to be stuck together like glue.
The sky was already ablaze with fireworks from nearby pubs, but no one paid attention, our fireworks would be the one to signal the new year, not theirs. David promised a real extravaganza. Though, he always does. People forget that.
Stragglers leave the house, now aware of all the counting, joining in as they walked, most carrying cans of beer, others clutching half drunk bottles of wine. Nicky was among them, walking out with Steve. Nice guy, he sometimes sells me weed, other times coke. Mostly weed.
I wave to Nicky but she doesn’t see me. Ellie waves back instead. She waves with a cup in her hand, and the drink spills out, large doses making damp patches on her dungerees. She doesn’t care. It’s that time when no one cares about how much or little they have, it’s all about the moment.
A group next to me scream ‘Happy New Year’. They aren’t following the official countdown, in fact no one really is anymore. The fireworks, the drugs and the alcohol. It confuses things. I walk away to avoid being put into their circle, to avoid being part of their inaccuracy. People tend to judge these things throughout the night.
Nicky finds me, and I notice she had cuts on her hands, glass in her arms. I ask why but she can’t hear me. I realise, she doesn’t even know she’s bleeding. This happens all the time. Butterfingers and e’s don’t mix.
David can’t wait any longer and lights the fireworks. They start to flare up. I guess they could explode on zero. That would be something new for a new year.
Half of the fireworks don’t even make it into the sky, their flames already spent up. People will blame David tomorrow, but they’ll still ask him to get the fireworks next year. He’s the only one of age. He most likely dreads the day we all hit 18, for his purpose will be spent up.
The fireworks light up the sky, the last number of 2015 is screamed, and Nicky holds my hand. The sounds of fireworks in the sky is similar to an air raid. Or at least how I imagine they would have sounded. I think back to school when we had to hide under tables in History.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
And as I think to the past the future arrives. Everyone is hugging, shouting drinking, clanging cans and kissing. I hold my can to Nicky and she throws it to the floor. She smiles, and I don’t smile back. My cheeks are too sore.
Her cuts aren’t so bad, her make up isn’t so bad, her hair isn’t so bad, even her figure, her voice, her personality, her clothes. But for some reason when she kisses me, I just think of planes, and bodies lying on the floor.
I go upstairs to sit on the bed, Nicky carries on drinking, and I try to think just what happened between 2015 and 2016 to make me feel so. A couple walks in and start undressing. I sit and watch them do their thing. It isn’t so hot. I can’t get it up.
They finish and lie side by side on the floor, as I lie on the bed. I realise it’s Nicky and Steve. I don’t know why it took so long to realise. The blood should have given it away.
And I’m not even mad. It seems my emotions went with the year. Doesn’t that happen to us all? I lie back and wait for the hangover to arrive, the first one of 2016.