The clock chimes twelve against the backdrop of bated breath.
Silence, overwhelming in its vacancy.
Deafening, in a way that you hear only the sounds of what ‘should be’, the pounding music that never reaches your ears, the raucous shouts that never leave their lips.
Heavy breath marking the seconds in thick, syrupy drops.
There is fear, this inexplicable terror, that flutters away too quickly for you to understand it.
If you were fast enough, you would know that it is a fear of disappointment, like that moment just before you blow out the candles on a birthday cake, or wish on an eyelash.
That fear of realizing, that there is no magic in the passing of time; only cold, stark gravity.
But you do not think of any of this, because the fear passes too quickly for thought.
Or perhaps because you do not want to.
An infinite second lies suspended while the old year passes into oblivion, sweeping into that space where all worn time goes.
This moment, it is the signal for the collective forgetting of past transgressions; a sweeping, desolate canvas, in equal parts exhilarating and terrifying.
You sit by the tomb of dead time and weave your next identity, one thread looping into another.
You shatter the mask that has served you well for the past year, this mask that has felt the coolness of your tears, and the warmth of your laughter, this mask that you have both hated and loved, with equal ferocity.
A tender caress and it implodes within itself. The pieces fall like glass petals.
A time for both celebration and mourning, of the dreams you have lived, and those futures not realized; of the masks of the past, and the veil of the future; of the passing of yesterday, and the inevitability of tomorrow.
The moment is gone as quickly as it came, and that is it.