“All is quiet on New Year’s Day,” the soulful voice of Bono comes through the bluetooth speaker. They sit there, not wanting to fill the moment with their own words. The orange juice goes down well. The fried breakfast hits the spot after a heavy night. Two friends reunited after so many years. A new day, a new year.
Looking back on the night before. They stood on a balcony of a nondescript third floor apartment that overlooked the Berlin city skyline. The buildings’ shadows peering out into the horizon. They and the residents seemed to be waiting with baited breath. The clock strikes 12. The sky explodes in an array of colour and life! As far as the eye can see, the city skyline has been transformed. The fireworks welcome the new year. It’s cold out there on that balcony. 4 degrees. But they’re alive! They feel it!
The buckets balance on each end of the stick that she has carried over her shoulders. Her back and legs ache. Yes, she is young. But a 9-year-old should never have to carry that weight. She has walked 4km from her home to the nearby well. To draw some water. She notices how some bottles lay abandoned on the dirt road outside the many tin covered shacks. “Too much Phuza” gogo would say. A new day, a new year.
The fire has been made. Her brother, Amandla, has made it. He’s only 7 but he beams as the crackling would succumbs to the flames. The rocks have been laid with the awaiting kettle. He grabs the water from his sister and fills the kettle. Soon they can welcome the year with a cup of tea and some porridge. A goat bleats on a hill nearby. It’s going to be a warm day. They’re alive! They feel it!
The birdsong welcomes them to the new day. The warmth of the duvet invites them to stay in longer. He places his hand on her belly. He feels the little kick. Two more months. Then they won’t have the luxury of these lie ins. A new day, a new year. A new life on the way.
A mellow night in. Sitting on the sofa, holding hands as the trumpet of Miles Davis fills the room. He sips on a merlot, she on a cup of tea. A distant firework cracks in the sky. In this very big world, they feel alone. But it’s okay. They’re alive! They feel it.
Happy New Year, everyone!