Rice Park: Holiday Lights, The Winter Carnival
The night of the Winter Carnival, Rice Park ran rampant with all the things I hate.
Let it be known that I was bullied by cunning smiles and convincing arguments from my extroverted roommates to attend the kick off of the Winter Carnival. Nevertheless, I followed them into an overwhelmingly large crowd, full of families and college students, looking for cheap entertainment.
While making a beeline for the stage, I stopped to make sure I had my wallet. A fatal mistake. When I found it, I looked up and realized I lost my friends.
The smell of vomit which was probably the product of a kid stuffing her face with too much sugar lingered in air, mixing with the tang of buttery popcorn. Plugging my nose, I elbowed my way through the thick crowd, searching for my friends, growing more irritated by the second. At the same time, a woman made her way to the stage, thanking everyone for coming out on such a cold night and put her hand on top of the oversized light switch– which was more of a theatrical prop than anything-before starting the countdown. As the crowd chanted the final few numbers, I found my friends, huddled together, giddy with anticipation. I reached the group just as the lights flickered.
Dozens of ghostly trees were draped with sparkling white lights with the exception of a single solitary Christmas tree doused in blue. Fireworks exploded behind the glittering trees in a dazzling display that made me forget about the prickling cold and getting lost in the crowd.
I felt enchanted and a bit dazzled as I hugged my roommate, her icy cheek pressed against mine. She smiled and we swayed as the speakers blasted “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
I would walk through puke-infested sidewalks and risk getting lost to see the mesmerizing display again.