When the fireworks started, I was surrounded by strangers. I'd been fighting through the crowd, knowing that somewhere in this mass of people my friends were waiting for New Year to ring in. That if I was quick, I could ring in the New Year surrounded by friends. My nearest and dearest. That if I was quick, I could recover from the moment of anxiety I'd had just after leaving the hotel (Oh loud bangs, I fucking hate you). So I moved, politely but insistently through the crowd. Zig zagging back and forth. When the fireworks started, I stopped moving. I stood in a crowd of nameless happy faces on Unter den Linden, the Brandenburg Gate in it's lit up gloriousness just down the way. The big official fireworks were going off ahead, and masses of unofficial ones to either side of the main road. It was cold, but not raining, I was still a bit tipsy from the bubbles, and still a little bit on edge from the ridiculous snappers that made stupidly loud bangs. The Rapture were playing loud and clear and in my ear. There was a pair of lesbians furiously making out behind me, and a small family with a wheel chair bound person in front, perfectly placed for the view.
There was a moment, right there, next to the pda lesbians and happy family where everything kind of snapped into place. It felt appropriate, to be out there on my own. Perfectly happy with my lot, grateful to be in such a phenomenal place, glad to be standing on my own, lost in a crowd, with my friends somewhere near by.
I stood, for almost ten minutes, enjoying the show, the atmosphere, the crowd. Eventually I started moving again, under barriers, past the crowd managers with their uniforms and serious faces. I knew they couldn't be that serious, I saw a pair hug earlier, after the countdown. It was fairly easy to sneak through, now that we were in the new year. I'd lost my friends at this point, I knew it. So I walked, closer and closer to the Brandenburg Gate, as far up as I could go before it was blocked off.
And then away, through the night. Along the river, around the back of Museum Island, through the back alleys in the dark. Everyone else was still out, still waiting to see what the night would bring them. There were greetings, and cheers and songs. There were roman candles and sky rockets and stupid little snapper things. People spoke to me in German, and I offered a smile back. All of us going our way, ruminating on the past year, on the year to come.
Oh 2013. Welcome.