by Myles Abroad
An expression of love and loss
Halloween, fireworks whoosh, shriek and then crackle as they streak up through the dark of night. A clap of thunder followed by a barrage of explosions yields pinpricks of red, green, blue, yellow and white; brilliant colours that crack and pop into silence. Spent now, merely sparkles, they fall to the earth. Spectators in the park cheer, anticipating more. I shudder at unbidden memories...
...sparkles drifting down...
The light on your ring sparkles as you parade it in a flourish of pride. Your face, framed in beautiful brown curls, glows with promise and ecstasy on an evening we will always remember. A toast for a venture started together, the embrace of friends and the slap on the back from ones wishing us well. You catch my gaze in harmonized wonder, a moment only twinned souls can share.
A celebration follows at a venue rivalled by no other. It's new, a nightclub that boasts vibrant music and the latest in lighting and pyrotechnics; a place for memories to be forged. It's our evening, hesitant at first, just banter amongst friends, anticipating excitement as the beat beckons. Inhibitions slip while the tempo rises and you tug at my hand; the dance floor draws us.
The next round of fireworks illuminates the sky. It's a prolonged display which leaves me dazzled while it fades into darkness. Spots of light linger in my vision as I glance at the couple standing next to me...
... sparkles shimmering in your hair...
The music pulsates, the rhythm moves through us. We're in a crowd, yet insulated in our own world. Your eyes glisten like stardust, as the light flashes in multicolours. You whirl in slow motion, the strobing lights alternating reality. You laugh and say something I'm unable to hear while the smoke machine spawns its' rising fog. I look up in wonder as sparkles glide through the air. You laugh and point as they drift down through the flashing light and settle in your hair.
The fireworks display is over. The rapture of the moment is overtaken by the cloying smoke, the reek of sulphur, drifting on the shifting breeze. Revellers push in close as the crowd disperses towards the exit.
Beyond the gate, I move from the crowd and take a deep breath, the cool night air purging a panic, pushing back a nightmare long suppressed and uninvited. I watch with envy as a couple walks to a bonfire, arm in arm, sharing a moment, their moment, while the flames lick the wood. The fire pops and shifts, sending sparks into the evening sky...
... dying embers float on the breeze as they sizzle and sparkle...
I recoil from hot needles of pain as the joy in your face turns to agony, the malign twinkles in your hair glow, smoulder and burn. Frantic, I pull you close to snuff out the embers of molten plastic. The fog morphs into tendrils of hot, strangling fumes. The music dies, the lights go out and bodies press around us. A surge of panic and you are ripped from my grasp. I call and scream, choking now on noxious vapours.
Outside the nightclub, survivors gather, dazed and distraught, they wail for loved ones lost. I push through the crowds, seeking, crying your name but you couldn't answer. Firefighters hold me back, anguish written on their faces, as they bring the blaze under control.
I sink to my knees and weep, a hole ripped in my heart. I know my soulmate is gone as the dying sparkles settle on the ground.
My memories recede; I unclench my fists and stare at my hands. Hands that were burned but now healed. Hands that still feel your grip as you were torn forever from my clasp.
**Note: Feb 14, 1981, Stardust Nightclub, Artane, Dublin, Ireland, tragically caught fire claiming 48 young lives and injuring 214. This story is fiction but is based on those events in memory of the victims and those affected by the tragedy.