First Night This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   The corner of Newbury Street was too crowded but I remember I made you stop anyway. People were pushing past each other carrying those neon pink and red flowers that almost always burn out soon after the hands hit twelve and everyone goes home. We watched the mime who performs on the same corner this night every year. The sides of his red-painted lips drooped in an exaggerated frown and he moved his arms wildly, gracefully telling a wordless story. I understood most of it, I think; I'd never seen a mime before. You leaned over and whispered in my ear something about his being silly and wouldn't it be funny if he tripped. I knew you were bored and were only joking anyway, so I laughed. I'm sorry now, though. I think it would be sad to upset the motion of something that agile.

In the Square I led you to the front of the tight circle, ahead of everyone, right behind the fluorescent bluish-white lights. The ice was beginning to melt, but we could still discern the forms. The immense palace was crumbling in a puddle at our feet, and the queen's gown hung lifeless on her diminishing frame. The jester's grin dripped slowly from the sides of his face, giving him an eerie appearance. What a waste, tons of ice, weeks of sculptors' work destroyed by the unseasonably warm December air. While we were staring at the ice sculptures, I thought I felt your little finger, its ragged, bitten nail, search shyly for my hand. I let you find it. And this time I couldn't stare you straight in the eye, like I usually could. I just glanced out of the corner of my eye and saw you push back your overgrown bangs with your free hand.

That was the first time I got drunk, really drunk. But I was silly drunk, like I was floating, and I didn't even have a drop to drink. I just laughed and laughed until you had to clamp your hand over my mouth and lead me through the cries of cheap tin horns and the shouts of "Happy New Year" to the hazy lights of the subway station.

I still have the funny hat you were too embarrassed to wear but I made you buy anyway from the old man on Newbury Street.

* * * * * * * *

It's much colder this year; the ice sculptures aren't melting. I push my way to the front of the circle, ignoring the angry glares, and stare. There's a huge fish, and an ancient looking boat, like a Viking ship. There's the clown again this year across the Square near the church. The fluorescent lights make the ice sculptures look shiny, but they aren't melting. My hands feel cold and empty, so I stick them in my pockets. I'm bored now; I elbow my way out of the crowd and walk slowly back toward the subway. I stop at the corner of Newbury Street; the mime is there, wearing black again, his mouth a vivid red. I'm sorry, I think, really sorry I laughed at you last year. You have to see that I was trying to avoid an argument. You have to understand how mean I can be sometimes.

He's telling a different story, but this year it's sad. He finishes with a small bow as the audience applauds and I catch his eye. I imagine I see his mocking frown turn up slightly into a smile. The red and pink flowers that dot the dark street are beginning to go out. I descend the stairs to the foggy lights of the station, but this time I am cold sober. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

gkegrace This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 18, 2009 at 8:10 pm
That was brilliant, period. Beautiful piece. I think you slipped once or twice in your tenses, but otherwise that was wonderful.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback