| He wanted to reach the square by eleven, and as he drew nearer to the square a palpable buzz could be perceived. At least by him. Maybe because he needed it the most. He thought of the mad joy of previous years and his thoughts sped up and his ears grew warmer as his mouth corners curled into a subtle self smile. Every year was the same; a chaotic manifestation of freedom. The cherubic release of a unified force eroding order and constraints real and otherwise through sheer expression. 12 months and three hundred and sixty five days of life culminating into a tsunami of kinetic energy. Everyone mashed together into an indistinguishable tableau of angled elbows, ducked heads, and firm essential torsos. Little skirmishes would flare up between small penised boys whose mothers did not love them only to be broken up by men or the sheer force and peripatetic nature of the traffic which would undulate the two men away from each other as they craned their heads in each others direction for one last face saving leer. Dueling currents they were, unaware of the absolute futility of their perspective. Joints and champagne bottles were exchanged as were smiles and kisses. It was a happy scream. Drunk girls on unknown shoulders surrounded by a looming mob of boys pleading, "Show Your Tits!" in rare unison. Often she would oblige and the crowd would erupt until the next attention starved nymph exposed her pink kisses. And as he turned the final corner toward the square he felt strangely like an intruder.|
Like a bad memory or the electric buzz of a hit to the funny bone he tried to shake off the subtle yet definite feeling of exclusion that had been creeping over him all night. An exclusion from bars, an exclusion from interaction an exclusion from life. With each passing year he was narrowing his own horizons, developing a personality, an existence predicated on weeding out those he found distasteful or unworthy of his own infallible standards bringing him to a darker vision, isolated among the many. These were the thoughts swirling in his head; not as words so much as dull grim feelings he denied and pushed down into his expanding reservoir. Like everything else it was to be dealt with later. For now he smiled like a mannequin as he saw, finally, the square itself. He took pause though; something was wrong, inconsistent with his fresh memories of years past. Less people. As he walked toward the park that promised so much he noted a halving in the number of people had been accustomed to. Inversely the number of men and women in black riot gear, functional helmets and clear fiberglass shields had at least doubled. It was numbing for a moment and he felt disappointed, like receiving the wrong gift at Christmas. But instead of sulking, as was his nature, he assumed an invigorated stance of defiance. He instantly convinced himself that it was now essential that he attack the scene with a fervor that bordered on the ridiculous, embarrassing. If he was losing something as his instincts told him, he would not let the heavy handed hubris of cops take it away. He would blaze out on his own terms like a fireball...
For a few fleeting moments he was bright as a god as he manipulated the square. At its core it was hazy and cartoonish; exaggerated exchanges, barking, bodies falling from the sky, sounds of breaking glass and groping hands. He passed around his bottle, offering salvation to any who sought redemption and he was rewarded as drinks were exchanged, joints passed, and beautiful smiles temporarily puffed up his sagging ego. He broke up a fight and jumped and kicked like a Russian. Arms around other shoulders as he danced in never ending circles. And for a few moments he was the mayor of madtown. If someone had held up a mirror to his face at that moment he would have smiled and winked at his own grinning expression. An unwelcome thought then stung him in the ear. "What time is it?" he shouted detangling himself from the blob of interlinking bodies. "12:45" answered his non-drinking friend flatly and correctly. A glance at the giant clock overhead confirmed this and before he could grimace he looked full at his other partner who was vomiting in gushes. He held his finger across his moth but this only served as a spray mechanism as he created quickly expanding space around him. On other nights these images were funny and a story for the next morning, but tonight at 12:45, this year it didnit seem funny. Neither did not kissing a girl at midnight. That hadn't happened in years.
Soon after they began the trek back to their hotel and the tired grim reality of sobriety settled on him as he and his friends started back in the direction they had come in accepted silence. The police had, by now, formed a wall of black as they moved forward in solid slow unison purging the young from the square. They seemed inevitable and not even the few individuals who snuck through the cracks seemed to justify any resistance to their impending reality. Further up the road Kids were running haywire and some were jumping on the roof of a now dilapidated car. They were deliberate in their attempt at stomping the sagging hunk of metal into the ground. And the pure absurdity of it, to them, seemed to be the reward itself. Some just kicked the vehicle as they passed and many screamed. He regarded their crazy smiles and fearless eyes and they seemed truly happy and for some reason he didnit know how that made him feel.
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