I am stood on the rooftop of the W hotel in Union Square on the night of 4th July dressed in the colours of the USA.
It's 90 degrees at 9.20 p.m. and I have broken out into a full body sweat after racing back from a BBQ in Brooklyn. I have dashed through the Brownstone lined streets of Park Slope, battled a packed 2 train, followed by an ambling L. I have sprinted across the square from the subway exit to hear the crackles and rumbles of the Fireworks starting up in the distance. I have stopped in dry mouthed panic at a street vendor to buy water, scrambled for a dollar, but didn't have any cash. The man looked at me and told me not to worry about paying. This never happens. I can only guess I am that adorable shade of beetroot again.
Now I stand 25 stories up, with my Scouse Welsh mate and The Aussie. Another friend who works at the hotel has snuck us in among a small group of staff members to get an enviable vantage of the Macy's Fireworks.
Unspecified $$$ worth of Pyrotechnics are lighting up the inky sky, shooting off 6 barges on the Hudson River. Somewhere nearby NBC are broadcasting live off a cruise liner with Canadian and exercise in medocrity Justin Beiber leading the proceedings.
To my left is the back of the giant 'W' that sits atop the hotel. From here I can see the tangle of wires that light it up. Tonight the 'W' stands for a string of superlatives. Wow. Wonderment. Wicked.
To my right- there is the phallic greatness of the Manhattan skyline. The usual stalwarts like the Chrysler and the Empire State standing proud, like concrete cocks.
I don't have my camera and I'm anxious about what a perfect photoblog this would have made. My brain scrambles to write the scene in my head but despite the breathtaking allure, all I'm thinking about is how Fireworks are really quite sad. A lot of beauty that poofs and piffs and goes as quickly as it arrives. Tremendous but transient.
There is an almost eerie silence atop the roof. No "Owwws" and "Ahhs", just everyone watching and thinking their own thoughts. As the gold, greens, reds and blues color the sky I wonder what those thoughts are. Maybe some are simply craving the drink they're gonna get when they get off work? Or as giant exploding firework Chrysanthmums burst into the horizon, how they want to go home and fuck their wife? Is anyone else feeling mournful? Hot and sticky and sorrowful?
My thoughts have fallen inevitably to my Dad.
I wonder if I will always feel sad to see something spectacular, because he won't. My eyes feel wet and I realise I may sob right there on the roof, in front of everyone and they will think I am crying with joy at the Fireworks and that will make me look like a massive twat.
So I bite into the inside of my lip and breathe in hard and steel myself.
A little tear has escaped and is blobbing down my cheek. If anyone could see it up close they would catch the last burst of colour from the fireworks reflected in it.
It is really hot. I breathe.
Tonight I am red, white and a little bit blue.