Fireworks filled the TV screen, illuminating our dark living room with their colorful splendor. The local landmark was ablaze with pink, blue, and green explosions timed to the beat of the year's musical hits.
My dad held up his glass, smiling. "Happy new year!"
"Happy new year," my mom repeated jubilantly, reaching across the couch to toast.
Willow, my older sister by two years took a swig of her apple-cyder while bouncing my little frightened dog on her lap. She grinned, holding her glass high for a toast with my dad.
I snuggled down into the couch, not partaking of the regular festivity. I took the time to remember something special, something that was very important to me. I would never be able to do this again. Just this one time. After taking a sip of my cool, chocolaty milk, I breathed deeply and whispered.
"One last time."
I looked around me. My family was smiling, and I saw my happy sister. Mouthing what I had just whispered to myself to her, she shook her head, indicating her confusion. She had forgotten. I didn't blame her, there were so many things to celebrate, not only to morn the passing of a year and the end of an era.
"May your memory never fade." And with that, the past was left behind me as I joined the glad ringing in of the new year with my family and my countrymen, but at least for me, it was a bittersweet celebration. This would never happen again. It was truly one last time.
To you who said it with me... we went out together.