The city flew past the window, the lights blurring and forming a kaleidoscope of colors, dizzying and tumbling through my giddy, bubbled-up brain.
Oh, champagne. How you do things to me.
New Year’s Eve in New York City. Two ‘New’s but it was all very much the same.
Blue tulle swam around my ankles — not sexy or sparkly or sequined enough, apparently, according to Becca Hare, but at least I wasn’t heaving into Chris Park’s porcelain bowl.
My shoes were covered in confetti and the colorful shreds sprinkled the cab, bright splashes against black canvas. I cracked the window and a breeze slipped inside, wrestling the cab’s stuffy air. My eyes closed.
The car slowed as it cut through the drunken crowds of NoHo. Bodies pressed against its sides and fingers scraped the doors. Each street brought new voices; everywhere, scraps of conversations. “I love you.” “At midnight…” “You’d look better on your knees.”
NoHo fell behind, the streets emptied, the voices quieted and there was a calm as the city settled in for the night. Carts and dumpsters wheeled across the street, squeaking as they strained against the pavement. Leaves rustled; branches hissed and snapped. Somewhere, something, creaked like the deck of an old boat. Windows and balcony doors closed and opened, changing the music of the city. These were the muffled sounds, hidden until that time of night when most of the city had fallen into a heavy, drunken sleep, having forgotten to turn off the lights or place a trash bag by the bed. The morning would be rough for them.
I rolled up the window and pressed my forehead against the glass, leaving smudges of grease and foundation. I looked past the city and found my reflection. A smear of gold and periwinkle eyeshadow, clumped mascara, maroon bow-shaped lips.
My eyes were electric.
They reflected the lights and collected the city’s warmth and glamor, bottling it up for safekeeping so I could marvel at it later. Blue irises expanded and consumed yellows, pinks, and purples. They tumbled together, like clothes in a dryer.
I settled back into the seat and inhaled. The scent of incense embedded the cab’s seats and flooring. Indistinguishable music thrummed on the other side of the plastic divider, the bass reverberating the floor beneath my feet.
We glided through Brooklyn, beneath amber streetlights that glowed and flickered intermittently like fireflies. Brick buildings lined the streets with little grass separating them from the asphalt rivers. As we stopped in front of #214, I almost asked for another ride.
With each gurgle of champagne and splash of rum and coke, the city’s grit eased, my love reimagined as if I’d been here a week, not a year. Tomorrow, the magic would disappear.
But I couldn’t stay in the car forever. I had a bowl of queso to reheat. A mattress on the floor to collapse into. And a yard of tulle to remove.