R’Perspective: Fireworks, smoke and family

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During our New Year’s Eve party in 2014, my father announced that we were going to move from San Francisco to Sacramento in the summer. I yelled at him, demanding answers as to why. I didn’t want to move away from all my friends. I shuffled away from the crowd and leaned against a window, looked outside and just thought about leaving.

I opened the door, stepped down a few flights of stairs and moved onto the street. I heard people counting down from 30. Then a boom and bang of fireworks propelled itself upward into the azure night sky with a violent flair and display of passion.

I pulled out a cigarette and lit it by the side of the Safeway near my block. Tonight didn’t really warrant the fireworks, in my opinion. It was just another year, another time to just party until 3 a.m. and go back to work in two days. It was going to be the last year I got to see the fireworks from here. God, I wasn’t really mad at my dad for choosing to move, I was really just scared of leaving all the friendships I’ve built behind. I would never see Anthony, Beth, Daniel or any of my best friends ever again.

A car slowly rolled up to the curb where I was smoking and a meek man in a cardigan, who sat on the passenger side, rolled down his window and asked, “Excuse me, do you know where Coit Tower is?”

Of course I knew where Coit Tower was. I’m San Franciscan. The only thing we see if we look up are the skyscrapers of the Financial District and Coit Tower. I pointed him down a few streets and gave him a few landmarks to go by. But the man was still confused.

The driver whispered pretty loudly, “Let’s just have him get in the car and give us directions.”

They argued under their breaths for a minute about how that was a bad decision, a good decision, a foolish decision. I just saw this as more time to enjoy my cigarette.

The timid man sighed in defeat and asked if I could get in the car and help them navigate to Coit Tower. I nodded and opened the back passenger door of their silver Prius.  It was a lot better to be accompanied by the warmth of a half-breed car than just Marlboro smoke and the fog.

I got a better look at the driver and the passenger from the inside. They were two young men, probably in their late 20’s, both wearing awful looking cardigans and ripped jeans that were clearly bought that way. The driver introduced himself as Zack but his friend remained silent.

As we rode up and down the streets, I couldn’t help but notice everyone outside. They were all really happy with their families and friends. God, I was so selfish for just running away from my own family just to have a cigarette and wander. Here I was, sitting in the back of a car with two people who I did not know, being whisked away to Coit Tower, a few miles away from my home.

I should be home, not accompanying random hipsters to a tourist site. God, I was ungrateful for the family I had and how they always looked out for us. Maybe the move wouldn’t be as bad as I thought. And I guess I never asked my father why either. I just stormed off and now I’m lost.  

As we approached the marble tower, I asked if I could get out. Zack was confused, “Don’t you want to come to Coit Tower? You can see all the fireworks from on top.”

“No thanks, I’m not that into it. I’m just gonna go home to my family.”

“I understand.”

He pulled over by a convenience store and I got out. I rode the bus back home to my block and ran up the stairs of my apartment. I opened the door excited, and I saw my family waiting for me.

I hugged my mother and father and sister. I apologized for leaving early, I had to give a few friends some directions.

“I’m home now.”

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