At four o’clock, everyone gathers at the front of the school. Friends gather and start chatting. Everyone appears to be exited for the night to begin. We all get herded into the cafeteria, and pushed through security. Pockets get poked in and purses get looked through. Soon enough, the cafeteria is filled with exited chitter chatter. Everywhere you look, you see the girls all wearing cocktail mini-dresses and the guys all wearing dress shirts and dress pants. Everywhere you look, people are engulfed in merry chatter.
It isn’t until 4:45 when we all start to leave the cafeteria to go on the bus to downtown Vancouver where the dock is. In the bus, a top 40 station blasts and the chatter continues. People talk and take cell-phone photography. The bus goes on and time passes. It takes about an hour to get there. We all get off the bus and gather up to be herded through security once more. The boys get put in one line and the girls get put in another line. As I wait in line, some have already got on the boat and are waving down at the lineup from the deck. The security pat-down barely tickles my waistline and I am let in.
Exuberant feet go up the narrow, skinny stairs. More chatting ensues among everyone as the boat starts to leave the dock. It was cloudy, so we didn’t get a sunset. The buffet opens and the line up that forms is twice the length of the buffet table. Bread buns, salad, potatoes, and chicken. Just as people start finishing their dinner, the DJ has begun to blast pop songs and almost immediately, a dance floor opens up. I can feel my table vibrate.
Inside is stuffy, but the air outside is refreshing, and the crowd outside is almost as big as the crowd inside. It was cloudy, so we didn’t get a sunset or a blood moon. As people chatted and joked and danced and stared at the way the lights of downtown Vancouver reflected on the ripples in the black shiny water, time seemed to pass by like the boat passed downtown Vancouver, Stanley park and the Lionsgate bridge. It is pitch dark outside and people still seem to have the same energy they had two hours ago but now, carefully pedicured feet walk the floor; the girls have gone barefoot from their five-inch heels.
We are almost back, and we are all ordered to go back inside. The tables are still vibrating and the windows are thick with condensation that grows back the moment it is wiped away. The boat docks and we all get off. People, weary from the dancing and late hour, and deafened by the volume, all get on their bus. Heads are down, people are sleeping. The bus is now drained; quiet and fatigue-ridden, in contrast to how loud and perky it was on the way.
And as a side note, nobody got breathalyzed.
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