A New Year’s Eve and another draft
Moving experience into writing has become second nature, so that even as I experience something I am already turning it into fiction, as with this section of Watercress. The surprise for me was Sorrel’s mother crying. That came from nowhere but made complete sense.
Half a moon, egg yolk yellow, hung huge and dominated the sky. Paper lanterns floated up and up, through the dark night, like fireflies. Sorrel gripped Sofia and Bruno’s hands tightly. The cap was busy with people but not seething. Some small boys were letting off fireworks haphazardly – suddenly a crack here, a whoosh of rocket there. But no one seemed to mind. There was a relaxed casualness to it all and a confidence, an adeptness, characteristic of the Nicoise. They were blasé and made it look cool. A rocket shot up from the midst of a group of people, a volcano of sparks erupted from a parapet, a banger cracked close by. And all along the beach small groups could be seen lighting their own displays.
Behind them and up in the hills were the grander flashes of the hotel displays; the Negresco the grandest of all. At midnight a group of Italians clutching bottles and glasses counted down the minutes – due uno. Then bells chimed and the boats in the port hooted their horns.
Sorrel kissed the children and then turned to her parents and kissed them. ‘Happy New Year,’ she said as she held her mother close. Her mother was crying. For some reason she always cried.