The beach was calm and the night was cool. The waves ebbed against the moist sand, the crescent moon splashed dim light across the dark water.

Not too far from where land met sea a few friends stood in sandals and shorts. Girls with smiles held boys with smirks. They joked and laughed but were barely louder than the tame shores. Next to them a family sat on a warm blanket. Their toddler giggled and kicked-up sand on his frowning parents. Nearby an elderly couple comfortable in their tie-dye quilt ate out of a picnic basket, newlyweds sat on the sand sharing a chocolate swirl smoothly and all up and down the beach people quietly conversed and shuffled and waited. They waited and looked up at the sky that was empty but for the moon.

There was a spark a whisper quieter than the breeze, a fizzle and suddenly…


It was a bright green explosion that webbed outwards and shattered the night. Another spiraled upwards, yellow… white… red… blue. Their blasts as thunderous as a colossal beating drum, cracking ear-drums, reverberating chests, commanding car alarms to cry out and silencing restless children into wide-eyed amazement. The spectacle of chandelier-light reflected off their glistening eyes and echoed in their ears. Streamers crisscrossed to weave an invisible tapestry of ash and awe. There were small ones, big ones, great ones, quiet ones, loud and deafening ones made night into day. They snapped, they sizzled and they cracked. They stole the crowd into breathlessness and forced their still shadows to dance.

And they painted the black canvas so bright that none dared to turn from it.