“I’M SO COLD!”, Mary screamed from behind. I nuzzled my chin into the furry liner of my coat and watched as Brian led the six of us onward to the beach shouting words of encouragement with gusto over his shoulder, bottle of champagne in his hand like the baton of a band leader. It was exactly eight minutes until midnight and we had a few more blocks to go until we were at the end of the long road that would lead us straight to the ocean.
Walking along the sandy streets I clip-clopped up and down the boardwalk’s wooden staircases in my tall winter boots and finally stepped into the cold sand as we ran towards the water with the ground sinking under our heels and toes.
“WOOOOAAAHHHH THIS IS AMAZING!!!!”, “HOLY SHIT IT’S FUCKING COLD”, “OH MY GOD IT’S WINDY!”, “BABY!BABY! MY PHONE IS DYING!” “QUICK SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE”, “COMAN, LET’S GO TOUCH THE WATER!” . Then in a flash, fireworks from all directions, “KABOOOM!” and it was midnight. A new year. “WOOOOO! HAPPY NEW YEAR!” and more screaming in a chorus of shrieks and jumbled words from other strangers nearby also running out towards the dark body of water.
“POP!” Went the cork, flying out of the bottle and more yelling in celebration of the moment. I remember hearing Ross say, “this is special- this is a special new years”. And I agreed.
We walked out onto the slippery jetty-a not so good idea to say the least, yet a very good one nonetheless, and step-skated our way out to the very end. Here I could see…everything. What’s more, I could hear the weightiness of the universe around me. A dark night sky speckled with glittery stars hung over the churning ocean waters in front of me and I let the sound of the eternally moving sea sweep me away in its powerful glory. Tears welled up in my eyes at the feeling of gratitude for being so small yet so much a part of it all and I could hear nothing but the wind in my cold ears until my boyfriend laced his hands around my waist and said sweetly to me, “are you okay?”.
“Yes.” I said… more than you know.
On our way back I finally got the group picture I had wanted to take, once everyone got together I instructed them to “SMIIILEE!” and there was another raucous chorus of excited shouts as Ricky jumped up in the air and landed with a sound, “ker-PLUNK”.
And with that we walked off into the new year.
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