the new year

Somewhere in between the apartments full of people watching the CCTV new year’s eve broadcast, it all starts – explosions echoing through the streets all night, coloured flashes reflecting off apartment buildings. Two days later, exactly as I noticed the silence and suggested to my wife that maybe they’d already run out of firecrackers, one exploded in an alley nearby. The streets are a pulpy mass of discarded red casings and canisters – 15 tonnes of rubbish in one area, according to the news. In other cities, I’d seen signs that seemed to say “no firecrackers in this area” but I didn’t see any in this one. One night, outside the restaurant after dinner, a father holds a son who holds a small rocket on a stick, waiting for the moment of joy. Three days later, I hear birds singing instead, and wonder if This Is It, but on the way to lunch we see street shops with plenty of stock to sell. There’s a lot of noise still to be made in this town.