Now is enough to fill forever

The dry heat is returning. Not yet midday, the temperature soars into the thirties.

Outside, the harsh sun batters the landscape, only the distant mountains prevail.

Towering trees retreat, drawing in on themselves, while the lawn shrivels, adding to the arid scene.

The thick adobe walls of the house provide a cool oasis. Wide doors open to allow the stale air to circulate.

As the silver clock hand passes ten, the laid-back, easy routine of the summer holidays begins.

First the adults wander into the kitchen throughout the morning.

A quick breakfast of toast with jams and manjar is thrown together.

By midday, everyone is awake, and plans for the day start to formulate.

Nothing will happen until at least three but ideas are mulled over with no final decisions being made.

The house radiates a quiet, peaceful vibe that begs me to sink on to one of its cool, cosy embraces and forget about the rest of the world.

Just summer, just relax, just enjoy, just family.

Just then.

Now the sun, a heavy drop of gold in the cloudless sky, lowers to kiss the horizon.

Food preparation begins.

Cellphones and the landline ring non-stop.

As evening pulls down the sun, guests begin to arrive.

A mix of mainstream pop and Latin music, talking and laughter fills the air along with the distinctive smell of an asado.

Firm slices of steak brushed with herbs are cooked to medium rare, mingling with the charcoal embers to create the scent.

As each party of people arrives, they are greeted at the door by a mob of relatives to meet, hug, kiss and shake hands with.

Friendly bullets of dialogue are exchanged. Greetings and colloquial phrases jumble into a chorus of welcoming.

''Hola Chicos!''''Tda!''''Tata!''''Como estai?''''Feliz Ano.''

Mountains crumble into the night. By the time the sun has been replaced with a full moon, the house and backyard is bursting with extended family and friends and the party is loaded with energy.

Music gets louder and louder as the dancing starts.

The meal begins with generous portions of tender meat from the barbecue, along with many traditional foods.

Toasts are made; glasses clinked with the cheer of ''Salud'' - an excuse to drink more.

To conclude the feast, sweet dishes including cakes, meringues and ice creams are presented, followed by fruit.

Rich golden light spills from the house through walls of sliding glass doors on to the backyard, where children are playing and a few adults smoke.

With midnight approaching, an array of dress-ups, from feather boas and funky glasses to multicoloured ties and hats are passed out.

Then the colourfully clad, festive guests are armed with party poppers, hooters and streamers and venture outside. A radio is set up outside and as New Year's Eve draws closer, the noise dies down.

''Diez, nueve, ocho, siete, seis, cinco, cuarto, tres, dos, uno.


Confetti fills the air, raining down on the crowd and brushing my arms.

The long ritual of everyone hugging and saying ''Happy New Year'' to everyone begins.

By the end of it, my cheeks are sore from smiling - real smiling.

As I wander around aimlessly, a strange feeling overcomes me.

I want to stay in this moment forever.

I have a perfect summer behind me, a new year looming and am surrounded by family.

The night air is setting in, attempting to freeze the moment.

Just summer, just relax, just enjoy, just family.

Just now.


• By Florence Collins-Caballero, Year 11, Mt Aspiring College



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