Japanese WOWOW channels have been marathoning Die Hard moves a couple of times recently, and then GB website had a discussion about ranking them, and even thought it’s nowhere close to Christmas, watching first two Die Hard movies always gives me these flashbacks to one specific childhood memory.
Of one New Year’s Eve, when Die Hard (I think the 2nd one) was on TV while we were getting ready to go to a club where people from my father’s company were going to be celebrating it.

I should probably mention that for the culture back there, New Years is sort of like Christmas and New Years combined. It’s the end of the old year, beginning of something new, the night when the Santa Clause equivalent is supposed to come, but I don’t know how he manages, because it’s also the night when most people stay awake almost until morning, because most of the fun stuff on TV begins after midnight. You supposed to clean in the day, to make your home pretty for the new year, and then make yourself pretty too, and gather around a table with your family, watch the same movie on the TV every year and the special TV programs, set fireworks, go to sleep somewhere between 3-5am, then wake up in the morning before everyone else and go find presents under the decorated tree.

I’m aware that it sounds like a mixture of other cultures’ traditions mixed in one day.

But it still somehow smelled of magic. No matter what.

But that was probably the first year when someone told my father that celebrating with family was lame.

I was 10, I think. I was also the only child among drunk and not-so-drunk adults there, in the place that was usually and adult kind of night club. (Not the young people dancing kind, but the rich people getting drunk and loud kind, less dance-floors and more tables-and-stages.) I don’t really know why I was there to begin with though, and hardly have any memories of what I did there anyway. Probably ate something, sat on my own or wandered around, watched and listened to what adults were doing, as usual. My mother had to ship me out of there right after everyone said Happy New Year, to my grandparents’, because the club had a strip show scheduled after midnight.
The club was actually not far from my grandparent’s place, and I don’t really remember if we walked, or if there were still taxis around, but I do remember my mother’s heavy face, because she really wished she could escape the whole thing too and stay with us, but she had to go back and play her role.
What I also remember, is falling asleep in my grandparents’ bedroom, with lights, music, and occasional fireworks still loud outside, echoing on the city’s main square right outside the window above my head, holding on to the string of a helium balloon I got in that club and brought back with myself. Feeling empty and floating, exactly like that balloon.