by Ang Kia Yee
I was knitting and watching another episode of What Did You Eat Yesterday? when the fireworks started. For a moment I considered just sitting there and going on as I was, but I stood up and went to the window. I slid it open and watched the reddish pink light casted upon all our buildings flash over and over. Behind a distant building, I could see the edges of the nearest fireworks peek out with each burst. There were loud voices from neighbouring blocks and residences as well – people cheering. I looked down at a bus, which was pulling into a bus stop. I watched some taxis with green signs turn at the junction.
It occurred to me to not take this moment as I usually would – alone, containing the experience within myself, not externalizing or sharing in it with another person even if they were right next to me. It occurred to me that I had family who might also be looking out of the windows of our home.
I opened my room door to see the master bedroom door shut. Ah – my father had chosen his usual bedtime over the turn of the year. How characteristic of our family. But my brother was there in the living room, and he remarked on the suddenness of the noise. I said something offhand in reply, finding the whole situation unfamiliar and a touch awkward. As I retreated back into my room, he came too, asking if the angle from my room allowed us to see the fireworks properly. Still retreating, I reached for my phone to scroll through something as he continued speaking to me. Eventually, he said he would go to bed because he had work tomorrow (part-time, 1.5x pay public holiday kind of situation). Then we hugged (!), holding on for a little longer than we have before. I gave him a squeeze (“happy new year!”) which he returned. Then we said goodnight and he went out, closing the door behind him.
I went back to my seat, still registering what had happened. I realized the fireworks and cheering had stopped. To my surprise, though, I could also hear rain. I went to the window to find that it had just started raining. Mere minutes into the new year, mere moments after the fireworks had stopped. I looked down again – someone under the sheltered walkway was running to catch a bus. Another person was walking with a red umbrella. I reached my hand out as I usually do to touch the rain. I smiled. I looked down one more time to see another bus pulling into the bus stop, another bus that had been on the road as the world seemingly changed.