Part 3: That Party Somewhere
I’ve been gone for a week now and I’m not sure where. Dead to the world my friends say. M.I.A. Unreachable. Out of touch. I’ll say something about the reception in my apartment or the poor quality of my old phone, but it wasn’t those things. I don’t know what it was. I lost some days, just dipped out for a while because everyone is terrible and boring and I couldn’t find it in me to bother.
But I’m back. Shoes on, and the evening smells like promise. It rained earlier in the day and the wet sidewalk reminds me of the first time I left you. It didn’t feel like summer then but it was, and the heavy sky hurt when it came down to rest on my shoulders. Your silence hurt when it dug into my shoulders. I just needed to feel your arm on my shoulders.
But everything around me was gray and damp and covered in little stones. I thought I saw you everywhere. People who vaguely resembled you or people who looked nothing like you or people who I didn’t even see very well—they were all you. Why couldn’t they be you? I remember I stopped at the drug store to check on our carelessness and wondered why I had to leave you. I wondered if I’d see you again and if you’d give me another chance to do better. You did, later. And you were so stupid.
But tonight a few of us–Max, Angelica, J-Kim– are riding over to a venue with no name to listen to kids play around with synths and act like they’re artists. I can’t tell one set from the other, and the room starts to get hot and my friends and I are passing whiskey around till the dark room embraces us and the neon lights blur to liquid channels. We’re happy because we’re together and we’re here. What else do people need? What is there outside of this? I think the world must be so jealous of us, but it doesn’t know about us. It doesn’t know about this room or these kids or this dark.
Then somehow I’m outside later and the guy I was chatting with is leaning in and I’m pressed up against the brick wall in the alley. He’s wearing suspenders and that’s dumb and that’s why I was talking to him in the first place, but now we’re kissing and I can’t breathe and I can’t think so I push him away and go unlock my bike. On the ride home my body goes numb. I’m suffocating in this perfect night air and thinking how I just want to feel it, just for a second.
But all I feel is the kitchen floor against my bare feet when I take my shoes off back at home. I turn on the light which I hate to do but I can’t see a damn thing and need a little help. For some reason in this yellow glow all I can think of is how my dad used to cut up pears for me when I was a little kid. I’d get too hungry before dinner was ready so he’d slice up a pear while I waited. I remember once when I was six or seven and swinging my legs back and forth at the dinner table I said, “I think Mom will be happy that I ate the whole pear.” My dad stopped what he was doing at the stove and very slowly turned around, spatula in hand. “Your Mom does not know, Ana. She’s not here, and you know that,” he said. Then he set down the spatula, walked out of the room, put his fist through the bathroom mirror, and I spent the rest of the evening watching him pick glass from his palm.