The Sweater Song: Part Two

January 14, 2010
(Continued from The Sweater Song: Part One)

Once we were out of the cops' vision, Brianna started to freak out and text her boyfriend, who had been working at the time. It had taken forever to calm her down and convince her that a $58 dollar ticket for being drunk in public wasn't the end of the world, but I did it. Once she was feeling better, we advanced to the Flats with Dona and Courtney. I glanced ahead and observed the bag check, and my quick thinking decided to kick in just then.
I lightly grabbed Brianna's arm to get her attention and she turned to look at me. "I'm going to head around to the trail and get in through there. I'll meet you guys in there?"
"Sure," she said, smiling before she continued to keep up with the other two, because she was drunk enough to lose them if she wasn't directly behind them. I ducked into the forested area and made my way over logs until I'd reached the fence that surrounded the grounds. I hopped it and stealthily joined into the flood of people going to get set up.
The sky was now black, and it made it difficult to see the people standing right in front of me. I remained hopeful that it would be easy enough to find them, even as I turned a corner to uncover the huge gathering of citizens. I stood at what could be considered the entrance to the field, and began to ask any familiar faces if they'd seen the small group I'd arrived with. As time ticked past, a fear began to run up the back of my throat and I tried to ignore it, but I wasn't oblivious to my feet moving more frantically. Suspense continued to build as if I was trying to escape the killer in a horror film, and I could feel the pressure piling up on top of me.
In a sudden burst of light and sound, the first of the explosions went off overhead, and it felt like all the weight had been lifted from my chest and replaced with the sinking of failure. I exhaled a breath of defeat as the corner of my eye caught the bright red of Courtney's sweater, and I did a double take to make sure that I wasn't imagining it. My eyes went to Brianna, her knees were hugged up tightly to her chest as she grinned, wildly amused by the show in front of her. I weaved through the crowd and my last steps to get to her seemed to be in slow motion. Dropping down beside her, I said my hello's and my eyes went skyward to observe the reds and pinks and yellows that burst and sparkled into shapes like stars, as if it was my own little victory party.
The audience responded to the loud bangs and unique displays with cheers and applause and laughter erupted from Brianna's lips whenever she saw something that she liked. I pulled my eyes from the sky to watch her face as it flashed all the different colors that were painted in the sky. Her smile stretched across her face and her eyes sparkled with happiness, reminding me of a kid on Christmas morning. She rocked back and forth, shivering, the skin on her arms prickled into goose bumps. I'd asked her multiple times during the night if she was cold and she'd swear she wasn't every time. Without bothering to ask and get denied again, I pulled my favourite sweater over my head and held it out to her.
"Here, put this on, you're freezing."
During the day, the sun scorched and heat was sweltering, but now that the moon had appeared and the light had faded from the sky, her short shorts and tank top didn't bare too well against the cool temperature outside. She glanced at me and grabbed it without protest, slipping it on as quickly as she could, rubbing her arms to speed up the process of warming up. I smiled at the sight of it, my oversized hoodie looked like a dress on her. She looked absolutely stunning.
I can’t remember the duration of fireworks ever being as long as they were that night, and I couldn't have been more thankful for it. The citizens surrounding us all moved in the same direction towards the exit of the campground, and the four of us fell into step with them as if we were riding the currents down a river. I could feel a weight building up in my stomach, and I knew that the night was drawing to a close, that my time with Brianna was minutes away from over. I tried to make the best of the trip to the main road of Sooke, where her ride was waiting to take her far away from me. I pathetically stabbed at conversation, doing my best to get the point across that I had an amazing time with her tonight.
We paused before a crosswalk to scan the crowd for the big black truck that was escorting the three girls I was with to their separate locations.
"Uh, hey, tonight was awesome, we should hang out again sometime." I turned to her after rehearsing the words in my head a few times, doing whatever I could not to rush the sentence and blur it together.
"Yeah, definitely." She responded, really seeming thrilled by the idea. My face lit up and I tried to stop my grin from swallowing my head.
We caught sight of the large vehicle and Courtney and Dona started to cross the road towards it. Brianna took the first few steps to follow and my feet refused to move any farther.
"You know what, I'm just going to head back down..." I said and started to shuffle backwards in the direction we came, towards my house.
"Okay, well, wait... can you hold this?" She asked, thrusting her purse into my hands as her fingers curled around the bottom of my hoodie and began dragging it up her torso.
"Hey, you should just hold onto it, I'm pretty warm and you're going to freeze if you take it off." I interjected, stuttering to get the words out.
"Are you sure?" She questioned, pausing as I nodded my head.
"Brianna, hurry up!" Dona cut in, yelling from across the street, making me curse her for rushing our goodbye.
"Thank you so much," She grabbed her purse back and started walking away "I'll give it back, I promise!"
My feet stayed planted for a few seconds as I watched her disappear into the sea of pedestrians. I was oblivious to the streams of people that were struggling to move past me because I was standing awestruck in the middle of the sidewalk. Satisfied, I turned and began the long walk home.

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