Monday, October 19

Broken Flowers

IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD where I live, there are groups of young people who hang around the corners, illumined poorly from above by yellow streetlights, their hoods pulled. They run around after each other, shouting, and they fight outside of my window at half-three in the morning. They are approached by cars with tinted-windows, through which delicate handovers are made. I watch them from my flat while having a cigarette, our golden cherries billowing at each other over small distances.
Recently they have begun a nightly activity of setting off fireworks. They are not organising great displays – not intentionally – but after the sun goes down the sky is intermittently lit in multicoloured flashes and loud, echoing bangs.
Sometimes, after working their way around the area, they settle in the carpark opposite my window, and set the fireworks off there. They set them off at cars and at each other. Tonight a roman candle was ignited and green rocket after green rocket was shot across the carpark at the flats on the other side. The bangs continued for a long time, so that I got up from my sofa, and looked out. Some other rockets were lit, and they flew into the cars and into the windows, all directions. Families ran, mothers hurrying their children away, pedestrians hiding behind parked cars. The carpark was buried beneath a grey crust of smoke. Figures moved about in the clouds. Some adults came out and grabbed the kids and began screaming; women in hijabs, disturbed and upset—‘Where are your parents?!’ while their husbands held scruffs.
Some much younger children are excited by the commotion and jump about, waiting for the next blast. They squeal and rub their hands together.
Not long later – after the carpark is cleared and the pedestrians come out of hiding – a few streets away there starts another colourful explosion, flashes and bangs. The flats around are magnified in the night air, their faces painted, and then, cut here & there, smoke emerges from the cracks and dissipates.
Then they run out of fireworks for the night.

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