Chelsi sunk back onto the dingy green media room couch next to her friend Tyler. He was leaned forward though, fidgeting with something on the brown wicker coffee table.
“So how’d it go? How was Zanzibar?” Tyler asked.
“You mean, beside perfect in every way?” Chelsi voice was long and tired, but Tyler laughed.
“That good, huh? I mean, I heard about the train ride.”
“Oh, yeah, that god damn train! It nearly killed me, like seriously, we almost died.” Chelsi was sincere in the fieriness of her tone. “Jason came the closest though. The train car that derailed was the dining car. Which was also of course the car smack dab in the middle of the train. Then after 18 hours of playing ‘how are you going to fix the train’ they ultimately decided that the dining car had to be left behind. So the only things we had to eat, was whatever we could buy through the window at short station stops… And, and there was no drinking water.”
“Yeah, it was not like that when Jason and I took it last time.”
“That’s what he kept saying. But you know what? I think it worked out for the better. Because if the train hadn’t been delayed we would have gotten in to town yesterday, instead of today and because I only had one house day left this month, I wouldn’t have been able to stay for New Year’s. I would have been sitting alone in my house like last year.” She paused for a moment, remembering sitting in her now broken easy chair, staring at the clock on her phone; watching the minutes tick by – 23:50, 23:51, 23:52, 23:53, 23:54, 23:55, 23:56, 23:57, 23:58, 23:59, 00:00, 00:01, 00:02, 00:03, 00:04, 00:05, 00:06, 00:07, 00:08, 00:09, 00:10. Then she went to bed. She couldn’t even recall if she had open a fancy bottle of wine. “It’s much better this way.”
“Speaking of,” Tyler straightened himself and stood up. “It’s nearly midnight, and we’ve got fireworks to shoot off!” He looked down at her with a smile and started towards the door. “Are you coming?” he pulled open the door and music filled the room.
“I’m right behind you,” She called after him looking at her watch; 23:56. 2017 huh? Chelsi thought to herself. 2007 feels like just the other week… But at 16 could I have really imagined myself here? She looked around the dimly lit room. The walls were concealed by floor to ceiling shelves of DVDs, VHSs, books and an assortment of other media materials. Chelsi wasn’t even sure what color the walls actually were. Nnn…, mmm well maybe…
She pulled herself up off the couch and walked into the common room. The house speakers, one stacked on top of the other, were bumpin’ the hottest beats from the club. DJ Neal was squatting at the computer just beside them, finishing up the que for the next 30 songs. Ireri and Sid, two volunteers from the newest intake were getting down on the dance floor together. Jason on the other hand was up on the dining table, twerking it with everything he had: “Neal! Neal!” he cried, “We need the Thong Song! Play the Thong Song!”
“No! Jtrain! We’re not playing the Thong Song.” Neal looked over his shoulder at him, “and you’re going to break the table if you keep doing that.”
“Alright everyone, if you want to see fireworks, come outside now!” Tyler screamed through doorway to the back porch. And with that, the music was tamed and the whole party filed outside.
They stood on the steps of the porch watching intently the little cardboard boxes lined up in front of them in the grass. “I know that one,” Sami whispered to Chelsi. “It’s the most dangerous one, because if they don’t fire at the same time then the whole thing will come shooting sideways across the ground and explode.” She voice crescendo-ed into glee, “and you don’t know where it’s going to go!”
“Please be careful Tyler!” Ireri called from the porch.
“Its fine,” and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, little boxes filled with colorful explosives were lit, and Tyler took a few steps back.
With a loud bang, the first rocket shot off and a white flash filled the air. Another bang, and green and red stars were propelled through the night sky. And, “Bump, bump, bump,”
“Jtrain!” Neal shouted, “No one wants to hear the Thong Song!”