It is 11:54 and Dora is seeing stars. Someone has dropped a ladder on her head. The trapdoor above her that was a ceiling a moment ago has a greenish-glow halo, it pulses with an electric rhythm, the ﬁgures on the rooftop ﬂicker and ﬂit, the night is black velvet-crushed. The air is heady with their primordial dance. Dora closes her eyes (nobody can see her) and wonders when the rules about talking to strangers cease to apply. Everyone is a stranger here. The boy at the door was called Orion. It is unlikely.
Dora stands lamp-post rigid. Three, seven, eleven (I can do this.) A girl bathed in glitter, cigarettes and scarlett-chipped ﬁngerprints breathes close to her face, wooaaah, she exhales, I want what sheʼs on. Her breath is fresh graze raw and old wood shavings. Dora can do this. Thirteen-Seventeen-Nineteen.
Downstairs in the lobby that is so small it is really all corners and no ﬂoor (Dora is soothed by geometry, she likes to know the angles of things), a boy who looks lost stamps on the foot of a girl whose hair is spun from matted light. He doesnʼt apologize. He is in the throb of the air. The front door slams into his elbow, (fuck he says, fuck) and a creature with marmalade eyes walks in. Her mother called her Holly, after Golightly, and ever since she has been a disappointment – but tonight she is every atom jet black and ﬂeeting; tonight she has grace. Orion sees a kitten just escaped drowning, one paw soft on the bath brim.
Warmth sparks between two bright shards of what feels like the last hours of forever and the house is ignited with the strange heat and urgency that the hosts prayed for as they covered the walls with tin foil, tipped cheetoes into bowls stale with cheeto dust and hid everything that could be broken. (This year is prime so I can do this- but – do I count forwards or back – and- I can open my eyes -I can open-)
A hand reaches out from the iris, the boy at the end of it looks like a ragged Pan – Dora wonders how long the hand waited there; when she takes it the cup of it is cold, she drinks deep and is rooftop-born. She is a drop of ink in a rooftop pool.
Dora is not used to parties. Dora brought an extra pair of tights (just in case.) Doraʼs mother thinks that New Years is dreadfully Pagan, and spends each year offering water (a gentle talcum powdered touch to each shoulder, alike) to those young confused souls stumbling on street corners, offering water and the understanding pale-blue glance of a mother. Its what they need, the tenderness of a mother, Dora ﬁnds herself explaining to a stranger. The stranger tells her in return that he fell off his motorbike, and punctured a testicle. He is now only 75% fertile. That is not how probability works, Dora thinks. Steve said it was most improbable that he had ended up married to such a gloating bitch, as he opened the ﬁrst bottle. Doraʼs mother looked at him with such pale blue understanding that he sunk hangdog under it. She told Dora not to call Daddy Steve. Steve handed Dora a bottle on the way out.
The ﬁrst ﬁrework takes its swallow ﬂight, and all the rooftop ﬁgures become auroral- All the clocks strike twelve -