Ten… nine… eight

I didn’t join in the countdown, I just steadied myself against my cousin and others in our group in anticipation for the chaos at midnight.

And it was chaotic. Balloons fell, cheers broke out, people around me hugged and kissed. I didn’t join in. No boyfriend or date by my side to hug tightly and give a sloppy drunken kiss to in celebration of a new year and decade.

Instead, I swatted the silver balloons falling around me and settling at my feet. There were a lot. They crowded the floor so I couldn’t move, not that there was much room on the crowded ballroom dance floor.

As Jesús hugged Mariana and Jenn, I stomped. I stepped on one silver balloon. It popped easily under my heel. I popped a second, then a third, a fourth and so on until the area around my feet was clear.

A tall white guy — whose silly sunglasses I had borrowed a few minutes earlier for a photo to add to the weird eye-wear files — asked, “whoa, where is all this aggression coming from?”

I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t know.

I felt out of place at the Roosevelt Hotel’s New Year’s Eve party. It was too Hollywood. My simple black dress wasn’t shiny, short or tight enough. And my heels didn’t look like a torture device. Still, I was having a good time sipping on free drinks and dancing. My original NYE plan fell through, but Jesús saved me (hah!) with a last minute opportunity.

I snapped a few photos. The tall white guy kicked another balloon my way. I stepped on it with my heel and relished the pop.


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