Here I am. Sat alone in my back garden, with a cigarette in one hand, and a cup of green tea in the other. A solitary stance I’ve gotten used to holding. The opening chords to ‘Cementality’ by King Krule echo somewhere in the back of my mind.
I watch the flamboyant fireworks rupture nosily in the black sky above. I take a puff of my cigarette and quietly whisper to myself, ‘Remember, remember… The fifth of November’. I try to dig up afterthought of back to my school days in History class, seeking to remember the reason why the 5th of November is so significant. Ashamed, I only manage to bring very vague details to memory. Something about gunpowder? England… House of Lords? Some guy called Fawkes? I give up, and sip my lukewarm tea.
Each year was the same; the line in that forgotten poem I learned ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November‘ comes to mind every year but ironically I always fail to remember. So much has changed between the last 5th November and now, though. I reminisce of this very date last year. With her.
The harsh winter persistently penetrated through our big jackets soon after we stepped outside. We’d just finished a meal at some fancy restaurant. The food wasn’t great. I would have preferred a humble sushi, personally. But she wasn’t a fan. I wonder if she is now. I doubt it.
But anyhow, it was the 5th of November, much like today. The plan was for us to go for a meal, then go watch a firework display in some field. “It’ll be really good, come on, it’s the 5th!” she kept trying to convince me, like I had a choice. Eventually I knew I’d end up there with her.
In the end I didn’t regret going. It was one of those nights which you wish could have lasted a couple more hours. Even though it was blistering cold outside, you kind of forgot. We watched the fireworks together for a good hour or so, hand in hand. There I stood in my puffy jacket, holding onto her small hand which peeked through the sleeve of her big coat. I remember simply staring into her glowing eyes every now and then, not a word between us. Just watching how her lips slowly formed that perfect smile whenever our eyes occasionally met.
The atmosphere was vibrant, and all types of good energies, mixed with a bitter, early-winter chill, rode the scenery. Even with the plain field abundant with families, groups of friends, some individuals and other couples, we still felt alone together. Distantly at ease. As if the whole firework display was purposefully put together for us to enjoy that splendid moment in time. The long, unforgettable tongue-kiss, exquisite and somewhat euphoric. Only it was disturbed by an alarmingly resounding, continuous streak of exploding fireworks.
‘Fair enough.’ I thought to myself.
I’m swept back to today. To my now cold green tea. To my third or fourth cigarette, I can’t recall. I can’t help but wonder what she’s doing this 5th November. I wonder if she’s out enjoying a new firework display with her new boyfriend. Perhaps she’s in her room listening to distant fireworks, thinking of last November with me. Perhaps she’s already asleep. Who knows?
‘Remember, remember the fifth of November.’ I say to myself one final time, rubbing cigarette ash off of my jeans.