It’s New Year’s Day, away for the weekend with a smallish group of friends… people on different continents, in one place in my mind. We leftovers – avatars of Stella, Michelle, Marco and me, I think it might be – wander back through in the early morning to the communal lapa sort of place where all the dancing had been, the remains of last night’s party trodden into the ground, our affect similarly flattened. The day is wrapped in a quiet mist blanket, grey and clammy. All the couples are still in bed.
“OK, we need music.”
I pick my way over to the old boombox, there on a table surrounded by empty cups, the dregs of stale liquor… Scratching around blearily, I find a Nina Simone tape. (CASSETTE TAPES? WTF, dreambrain?) Anyway, I want to put on “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” for we souls with nowhere to be curled into.
I slide the wonky cassette into the player, reach out to press play, and my finger can’t. The buttons are melted, changed into some unearthly goo. Not sticky, not hot, not cold, just melted, uncooperative and soft in an alien, irreparable way. This weird flux will crust over, re-harden as the day wears on into a single mass of equally unbiddable plastic.
Someone must have been using a lighter to illuminate what they were doing during last night’s revelry, I suppose. What a bright idea it must have seemed in that moment, but now we can’t hear the one song that I was hoping might make us feel sort of OK about living through another year alone on Earth.