At 11:59 pm, it was still the 31st of December. The night was dark, lit only by street lamps and strangers’ cigarettes, as well as the gleaming eyes of the city dwellers. The new year always brought about celebration. After midnight, it was believed that the slate would be wiped clean, leaving people free to start again. Resolutions would become the main focus for the first month or so, but then the normalness of everything would catch up, catching one off guard and throwing them back into the life they attempted to leave. But no one would worry about their past year. They would only think about the future. And that called for celebration. Streets were alive with the commotion of passing bodies, high on the excitement of the city and alcohol, experiencing temporary happiness through shots and margaritas. Such happiness would not exist in a week.
At 11:59 pm, it was still the 31st of December. The horizon was cramped with blazing street lamps, as well as lights from strangers’ windows. The sun had set long before, but the night remained alive and bright. The color of the city reflected the gleaming eyes of its many residents: a brilliant, bright gold that seemed to cut through the thick blackness of the evening. The same blinding color illuminating every house and terrace within a fifty-mile radius.
At 11:59 pm, it was still the 31st of December. Fairy lights lined the cramped rooftop, offering what little light they had to strangers who didn’t care enough to notice. Music spilt faintly from the apartment, and some found themselves swaying to the beat. Others scurried down the cinder steps to watch the countdown and refill their drinks. The noise from the room downstairs increased, and the constant chatter was enough to drive someone mad.
At 11:59 pm, it was still the 31st of December. Lawn furniture defiantly stood amongst the few dancing bodies left on the rooftop. Those not dancing watched the sky with drinks in hand, waiting to clink the glass and celebrate as colorful explosions signalled a new start. The counting started from twenty, echoing up to the roof and bleeding into the sky. Bystanders on the street could be heard laughing and counting, as well.
At 11:59 pm, it was still the 31st of December. Excitement clogged the air as the countdown reach ten. The rooftop began to flood, and the city grew brighter. The smell of alcohol grew as the number of people did, cans and cups sloshing in the hands of the excited. The feeling of happiness remained as the countdown reached five, and the entire world seemed to glue glazed eyes to the sky.
At 11:59 pm, it was still the 31st of December. Moving bodies cramped the rooftop, standing shakily with anticipation. The countdown reached one, and the deafening boom of fireworks drowned out an enthusiastically shouted “Happy New Year!” The sound of laughing and talking was quickly swallowed by the night, with only happy smiles and friendly gestures to show for it. The city still glowed a brilliant, bright gold, hinted with faint tints of green and red and blue.
At 12:00 pm, it was the 1st of January. The light of a fresh cigarette adds to the growing light of the city. He taps his cigarette, watching the love of his life laugh with someone else, sending burning embers to the ground. He fills his lungs one last time before dropping the cigarette on the cement and ducking into the party inside.
At 12:00 pm, it was the 1st of January, and the same, dull life continued.