Party Girl
Jennifer Pieroni

Mike leaned over the stash of fireworks in his cousin's trunk. Other men leaned over other trunks. Somehow there were few women involved with that.
I sat cross-legged on the floor with Mike's sister. We'd once bonded over our jewelry, and I hoped it might continue. I'd e-mailed her since, but not gotten a reply.
The sky over the harbor was looking like strawberry icecream, streaked with the sweet flavor. Cousins and friends our age who already had husbands and children had left the scene to skip stones along the shore. They were silhouettes, but not us, under the porch lights, sharing our Chardonnay.
A small circle of concerned men had formed over a massive lump of explosives in the driveway. A woman we didn't know, still in her bikini top despite the chill and mosquitos, entered their sphere. "She's gross," his sister said.
The fireworks started in Beverly, our left. Others started in Marblehead. We saw those too. And more, from a party boat, closer to us. And more, from other boats, in Cocktail Cove, Mike had called it.
Soon, our display was going up too. Bright explosions in quick succession brought on colorful surges. By the shrubs, I saw her, the woman in the bikini top, holding a lighter in the air, singing her favorite song that no one wanted to hear.