New Year’s Nostalgia


It’s New Years Eve in Vancouver and I’m at another party, surrounded by scantily clad figures and pumping bass, but my eyes aren’t set upon the neon lit dance floor. Instead I’m outside in the cold as far from the noise as I could be, staring off at the illuminated pink of a distance sky rise. I’m not there, so to speak, but somewhere else – not within my imagination, rather caught in a moment of nostalgia. There’s a one way street with cars drifting by and elsewhere in that part of town, the hollering and whoops of distant celebrators remain audible.

I’m back home but elsewhere I’m in another place, away from the curious questions about my adventures, somewhere on West 42nd Street in New York, the tiny heads of pedestrians creating a sea of movement underneath. Where I’m at is a place people aren’t supposed to go. It’s a one-way exit to the movie theater balcony and I’ve nearly locked myself out beside the giant hand of Madame Tussaud’s. That’s only if it wasn’t for the conveniently protruding popcorn bucket sticking out of a trash bin, now wedged against the door.

The noise I’m hearing isn’t bass. It’s the sharp wind from the altitude strong enough to be heard. It’s warm where I’m at and the city lights create a flaring background against the steel sky, above the billboards and plasma screens, and for a moment the person who looks up towards me from below sees a grisly face peering over the edge of the rooftop. It’s quite the fall. Across the street, there’s this hotel I can’t seem to remember, where tiny figures shift behind the curtains. I wonder which one winds up without their clothes on then I’m almost convinced the person’s wearing leather or latex.

My camera makes a blur out of that moment and seconds afterwards there’s about a dozen likes for the status update followed by commentary. I wonder if anyone would write, “You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.” No, I’m still there, caught in that moment of time, staring off at the distance crescent of white neon lighting up every floor of another skyscraper. At its peak there’s a flicker of pink and purple on the steeple not unlike the one I stared at this entire evening. I’m going back there every five minutes post conversation and all I can think of is how beautiful that image is, standing there, flanked by the semi-naked women, the corsets, and the men in Victorian peacoats.

People asked me throughout the evening how I was feeling and I reply, “Out of place. Full of nostalgia.” One person asked me about what I was thinking of and I crack, I tell them, it’s all new to me again. I’m back home and I’m lost, my mind’s caught in a place faraway, longing to return to a time long past. The year is over now but I miss it all the same. That’s all I’ve got to say for now.

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