I grip my Canon Rebel T3 in between my clammy hands and keep my freshly manicured finger pressed halfway down on the shutter release – ready to capture the beginning of a new year. As I peer through the viewfinder and slowly focus my 300x zoom lens on the crystal ball, a chill goes through my spine. It is dark and everyone is crammed into the small room that has the one view with the window looking out at time square directly facing the New Years ball. The countdown starts at sixty seconds and everyone in the room explodes as the crystal ball slowly moves downward on its prestigious pole. I can feel the two peppermint raspberry martinis in my stomach float up to my head; they bring me with them until I am slowly out of my body and looking down at myself from above.
I see myself from a different light; one that cannot be shed by a lamp or the sun, or by looking at a reflection in the mirror or a picture someone else has taken of me. I see a girl down there, with her blonde hair draped over her shoulder, standing on her tippy-toes to try and get a better look at the ball. I see through that girl and her polkadot stockings; through her lip gloss and purple eyeliner. Right through those expensive, leather boots she asked for for Christmas and the way she tries to wear them now to make others think she is someone more than she really is. I see that girl’s soul and all of her innermost secrets; her deepest thoughts and dreams that come to life through the hope of a new beginning, through the lens of her Canon camera, through the drop of the New Years ball.
“3, 2, 1!” I am brought back down to Earth at an alarming rate. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” Confetti streams in through the open windows from my Aunt Karen’s 9th floor office and I snap a quick picture of what I have been aiming at for what seems like hours. I look back at my camera roll. Shit. The picture was taken just a millisecond too late – the enormous “1” that appeared for a split second on the billboard has turned into a blurry, white screen with sparks and confetti fogging the view.
Then it hit me. Like a meteor shooting through space and pulverizing Earth to a thousand, tiny pieces; I don’t want to miss anything anymore. Not the New Years ball, not the giant one on the billboard, and not Gary.