In cinder and smoke

“Fuck you!” he cried against the open sky, throwing his arms out widely to oppose those manmade shooting stars. His voice, still timid, still slightly terrified, cracked under the strain of the doubt that went along with him wherever he’d go. But this. This ridiculous act of defiance. It was somehow to him like a step towards releasing himself from his irrational fear of fireworks. And also, from this year that had meant so much to him, so much in ways he could not even have expected.

He mustered the courage when everyone was busy flocking over to the street, watching the sparklers on the road or the skies above. Drunken groups of people both laughing and staggering. Children atop their parents’ shoulders, cupping their hands over their ears and eyeing the colorful illuminations in the sky. He wandered there almost floating-like, flustered by the sound of the pending New Year crashing without restraint across the alleyway. But as the crowd started counting down, as the fireworks grew even bolder and even louder, as came the other signs that another final December night was finally drawing close to an end, he shouted it out..

Fuck you!

But was it even his fear anymore? His releasing of yet another year? Startled people turned their heads to glare at him, sore by this slight commotion – when the commotion was already all around them, in the sky, in the streets, secretly in their hearts. He knew what went on in their minds. A special place to assemble all our plans, a menu with options, things carefully laid out to create another year, one certainly way better than this one that just past. Things start to catch fire, until plans start to gently fall apart, the way dreams are never honored and slowly razed to the ground. The horror of yet another year. Of yet another set of things to destroy. Shit he had every right to shout something indelicately like that. It was for everything that had to come, was to come.

Any chance he can get to scatter them out in the cold before the next one. Any move he can make to be a little bit braver.

With one palm meeting this side of the face, the other one holding out a cigarette, no one else will see how much he efforts to square his shoulders and to ride his fears. With machine guns, the sky roared into an hour of war, in anticipation of the bomb that could fall any time before bursting into color. People moving around, congratulating one another for surpassing yet another year. So ready are they to take on this new year. Come noon hours of the next day, they’ll still curse the traffic. Glare at you. Forget the things they had planned this year and instead prepare for war.

Fuck you.

In the morning the city will rise in cinder and smoke, gleaming and wondering the loss of a pure moment, a bitter year, one lost time with which memory will not serve any real justice. And from under the frame by the door, his gaze cuts through the ash still dragging down the air. He hears his shout still teasing the origin of his meaning. Gun shots, cavalry, the wilderness of the plans that turned out to be. This year will definitely turn out to be something. Now he wonders what would it mean to be less afraid?

17

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