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The sound of the fireworks blasts repeatedly in the background. New year messages rang on my phone, I read the most important one and sent a reply. I laid on my bed mentally making a checklist of things I had to do when the day broke and I realised I wouldn't have much time for myself in the morning so, I decided to write this before going to sleep (it's weird writing what is going on right now in past tense lol). It was 1am when I started writing; I received a call not long after from a close friend wishing me a happy new year. It felt really nice to talk to her. She told me her wishes for me together with prayers before we ended the conversation. It was after the call that I realised that I hadn't figured out what to write about. It's a new year, a lot of people will be busy celebrating, no one wants to read a boring article. I finally decided to talk about a new year celebration I remember fondly.
It was several years ago, I had returned from school for the holidays. I didn't have a lot of friends at home and I sucked at making friends our rather, maintaining friendships, but I had a neighbour within my age range whom I was friendly with. We made plans to go to church at night for the vigil Mass which started by 10pm. Once it was a few minutes past 9pm, we met outside and set off to church.
The journey to church was fun because my friend never ran out of things to say which compensated for my desire to only speak occasionally. We worked well together because she had the freedom to talk as much as she wanted without being interrupted while I enjoyed not feeling the pressure to immediately say something or respond, rather, I took the time to take in what she was saying and I smiled or laughed when I wanted to. She asked me questions occasionally to get my opinion on whatever situations she was talking about and I gave honest replies sometimes laced with sarcasm for humour. What would have been a 10 or 15 minutes walk took us 30 minutes because we spent a lot of time talking and laughing.
When we got to church, it was almost full so we had to go to the top floor to get a seat. Our church was majestic and could contain a very large number of people, yet it was always full everytime. We took an empty seat and not long after, we spotted some other of our friends from the street (whom I only talk to when I run into them, but it wasn't awkward). We all say together and remained quiet. Church went smoothly especially towards the end when the countdown to the new year began. We counted down from 10 to 1 after which we shouted "Happy new year". People started hugging one another and wishing them a happy new year (this was before the pandemic). I never really liked hugs, so I avoided it as much as I could. I instead smiled and made the first move of offering a handshake to people. My friends of course insisted on getting hugs.
After church, at about 1am, we started walking home and talking about the things we couldn't discuss in church because we had to be quite and focused. At an intersection, my neighbour and I parted ways with the others. On the street, people shot fireworks in the air and the younger ones (mainly teenagers) threw ground firecrackers on the floor. Sometimes, they lit match sticks and threw it at girls returning from church. Seeing the flame approaching, the girls would think it was a firecracker and they would scream while the boys would laugh. It was an exciting thing to witness, my friend and I fell victim to the lit match sticks too after which we laughed it off.
When we got home, my friend and I changed into comfortable clothes and went out into the streets to also shoot the fireworks we had bought earlier. My younger brother wanted to join us but he was to young so he stayed and watched us from the house. I felt bad for him, but I made it up to him later in the day by letting him hold a sparkling firework while I clasped my hand over his to control his movement. Now that I think of it, it was probably dangerous for us to do all that but it didn't feel that way then. I had fun that day and I ate and drank a lot.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I'm glad everyone reading this made it into the new year. May this year bring us joy, success and peace of mind.