Wordplay # 1: Fireworks
Back in 2009, I had this goal of writing a piece of fiction every day for a year. Just short things, to practice writing and all that. I called it Wordplay, and I ended up writing 78 pieces for 2009. I think I knew I wasn’t going to finish the challenge by March because you know, there’s work and I started going to the gym and then Ondoy happened and well, there. It eventually became my dumping ground for pieces that I got to write until 2013 and I never got back to it because in 2014 I took the writing thing seriously and published Fall Like Rain.
Anyway, so while I was thinking of what goes into this blog now that I’m trying to revive it, I thought, why not post the pieces here? Partly to delete that WordPress instance in my old domain and it might be fun. Plus my marketing brain is telling me that’s reusable content (or “evergreen”, as my manager liked to call it).
So here we go — a new, bi-monthly series on this blog called Wordplay, where I will repost all those things from 2009-2013, in all its unedited glory, and some thoughts on why I wrote it back then. There are cut scenes from the NaNoWriMo versions of Fall Like Rain, Keep the Faith, and Ruth and Ian’s untitled novel, so this should be fun–or nostalgic, at least. 😉
The first story is called FIREWORKS, posted on 1st January 2009. It’s romance, for sure, and reading through this, I remember that I wrote this after watching New Year’s fireworks from my brother’s place, thinking two friends watching it together. Of course they had feelings for each other and they weren’t there yet–will the new year change things?
I distinctly remember someone lighting a fountain across the building that night and that’s what made me include that.
Fun fact: there was supposed to be a scene in Fall Like Rain that was set in the same rooftop. 😉
They stood at the rooftop of the building, standing on the ledge, leaning over the railing watching as the skies filled with smoke from all the firecrackers and fireworks being lit at the ground. Earlier that night, they had dinner, and had been talking about their past year and their plans. When the first set of fireworks were lit up at the distance, all conversations were forgotten. Around them, there was a quiet murmur of other people standing all around the rooftop, sharing food, drinks and waiting for the final minutes of the year to tick by.
Different colored lights lit up the sky on the left, and the siblings beside her tried to guess where it was. He knew she was careful not to look down as she was afraid of heights; he was careful not to touch her as he was afraid of what would happen when he does.
After this year ends, what would happen to us? He thought, looking at her upturned face as she watched the fireworks display from another place.
She glanced at him and gave him a smile, nudging him a bit with her elbow. He returned a weak smile, hoping that she didn’t notice his hesitation. His hands were starting to sweat and it was getting harder to maintain a steady hold on the ledge.
“Look!” she said, her head turning to the other side, her finger pointing excitedly. Even brighter and more colorful lights shot up from the ground to the sky, lighting up the smoke-filled air. The wind blew and lifted her hair up and he watched her excitement with a nervous smile.
And then it was almost time.
“Ten!” Someone on the other side of the rooftop shouted. Other people started looking at their watches and joined the countdown, too.
She grinned and started counting as well. “Seven! Six!”
“Three! Two! One!”
“Happy New Year!” Everyone chorused. A group of people started singing Auld Lang Syne beside them, raising the bottles of beer that they brought in salute to the New Year. Firecrackers exploded like crazy and everywhere they looked, different colored lights lit up the smoky sky.
And as expected, the couples standing around them turned to each other and welcomed the New Year with a kiss.
He looked at her again, watching her eyes light up with every pop and boom and explosion in the air. Her smile was as bright and excited as the occasion, and his knees almost buckled when she turned to look at him.
“Happy New Year!” she cried, throwing her arms around him in a joyful hug. He was surprised at her show of affection, but glad, too.
He hugged her back. He felt her laugh against him, as well as the faint yet steady beat of her heart. She tightened her arms around him, as what she always does before letting go, and then started to pull away. He leaned back slightly but held her arms so she couldn’t fully let him go.
“Hm?” She said, looking at him questioningly as he held her. Her eyes were friendly and innocent, and in a way he felt like he shouldn’t do what he was about to do. But he was already there, and there was no turning back.
A few feet away from them, two guys lit a small fountain and then stepped back as they waited for it to light up. As the first sparks rose up and up and up from the tiny cone on the floor, he reached for her face tenderly, met her eyes and leaned in slowly, gently…until he finally felt the sparks.
Photo by Carol M Highsmith, via rawpixel.com