Capturing the first photo of the New Year


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1. London

We arrive when the sun isn’t even blooming in the sky but yet we still have to scurry up to the curb where a crowd has already begun to form.  “Excuse me” I call to no one in particular, just aiming it to the people in general blocking my line of direction, hoping that they peel away from each other so that there is just enough room to sneak through. All chatter abruptly evaporates and heads turn my way, people are frowning and I can tell their reluctance to move but yet they seem to obey my request. One man is still blocking the path; he is a big build of a man and has a deeper frown lining his face than all of the others. “Excuse me” I repeat. He is stood grounded on the spot, his arms folded on his chest. His mouth opens as he is about to say something and I shift from foot to foot. I know what he is about to say, something along the lines of: “Excuse me mate but I’ve been stood here for a very long time where as you have only just arrived, so what special pass do you have that gives you the right to jump to the front.”
“Daddy why have we stopped? Can’t we get to the front?”  I look down to see Jake peering around my leg looking up at the man stood in front.
Looking at the man I can see that he is, in turn, looking down at my son. Silence is between us. He is retreating back his words as he notices the crutches wedging up Jake’s armpits. “Yeah sure mate, I hope your kid enjoys the fireworks.” He says as he steps out of the way.
I give the man a nod. “Come on Jake, we’re not at the front yet.” I carry on my route to the black railing. My wife thanks the man from behind me.
“Mummy daddy we are going to see some lovely fireworks from here.” Emily squeals as she pushes past me to the railing and starts to climb on the first bar.
“Emily, sweetheart be careful on there it might be slippy.” My wife calls as she runs up to Emily “Put these on honey, it will be really noisy.” She bends down slightly and puts a pair of pink fluffy earmuffs over Emily’s ears smoothing down her brown hair. Straightening up she backs into my arms where I softly kiss the side of her head.
“You know, the kids will be dragging us here every year to see the pretty colours in the sky.” I whisper in her ear.
“It’s a long way to come, but as long as the kids are happy I don’t mind. It was either this or a replay of what happened last year. Now we don’t want that happening again.”
“No. Maybe next year  though we can go down to the pub; wait for Big Ben to ding, watch the fireworks on TV, drink a few drinks and sing Auld Lang Syne with a bunch of strangers. Like we did in the old days before we had the kids.” I suggest, rapping her in my arms and rocking her form side to side smiling at the memory.
“Yeah, that was before we had the kids. Anyway this is just the same but in real life and without the drinks.”
She rips out of my arms and I feel the cold bite my stomach. “I have some earmuffs for you too sweetie” she calls to Jake who turns his head and smiles up to his mum as she walks toward him.
I look up and the sky has gotten darker, turning my head I see the street has already gotten fuller.
There’s a white van parked on the other side of the road. The camera guy is set up a couple of metres away and I can barely see the news reporter speaking into the camera through the tightly pressed crowd gathered around her, jumping and waving, itching to get on camera.
Big Ben strikes; ringing my ears with the thumping DING DONG. People erupt in a cry of cheers and I turn around just in time to see the launch of the first firework. It shoots up into the sky, a sizzling trail of gold. Another rocket is set off soon after chasing the first one into the dark sky. The first one erupts in a shower of pink and the second one explodes with a flash of green. Both colours illuminate the sky as the London Eye is silently watching below, lit with florescent blue lights. I smile at the scene of my family cheering, gazing up at the pulsing sky with shadows of colour flashing onto their beautiful faces.  Emily is stood on the first black bar, clinging on to the railing as her head is tilted and her neck is stretched as though she is trying to get closer to the sky. Jake, two years younger than Emily, is sat on my wife’s shoulders, his legs resting limply against her arms. I bring the camera up to my face and snap the moment. The very first picture of the year.
Jake turns around after hearing the click. “Come on daddy, come closer.” 
My wife turns around “Come on here.” She beams at me opening her arm for me and I walk up to her side. She raps her arm around my waist. Jake rests his arm on my shoulder and I pull Emily closer to my side. I start singing the song that represents New Year along with everyone else. I smile to myself as I watch the dazzling colours high above my head. This year will be the best yet.

 

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