I was hoping for sparklers.
I wanted muted fireworks, perfectly timed to popular music.
I dreamt of a romance, laying on a blanket watching the fireworks, without anyone else around.
I wanted that overwhelming feeling of joy, of being so alive in a moment that you felt you might die once it ended.
I wanted to lean my head onto someone’s warm shoulder, and sigh when he put his arm around my waist.
I wished for a cool night and a summer dress, and the smell of barbeque wafting in the air.
I wanted to write my name in the air with a sparkler, and laugh until my face hurt.
I wanted love. Instead I found a holiday with people I barely knew. Turkey burgers and pasta salad. Crying babies and someone else’s neighbors.
The piercing screams of the bottle rockets made me flinch. I had fallen asleep twice before the fireworks started, and was almost hit by a stray roman candle.
By the time 9:30 hit, I was barely standing. The lack of sleep had caught up with me. I leaned back against the fence, and watched the uneven popping and screeching of the fireworks. I was drawn into the flashing lights.
There was something about not sleeping that made the fireworks seem too real. I felt like I could reach out and scoop them up with my hands, and carry the light home with me.
I was lost. The party was not the disappointment; I was. They had provided the appropriate frivolity. I had gotten so lost in the dream that I forgot how far away from it I was.
Hours later I realized that for the fourth year in a row, no one had gotten any sparklers.
I was really hoping for a sparkler.