WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
She was happy to see me when I entered the door. She jumped into my arms and looked as delighted as in the first few months we started dating, which was a year and a half ago.
I had just come home from work and it was around six o’clock, but there was still enough daylight to illuminate our studio apartment. Because of this, I noticed how tan she had become on our trip to Sicily. Funny how such things go unnoticed until you’re back in your hometown, where you’re supposed to be pale.
She said she didn’t expect me home so early, but I knew she was anticipating it; she was playing the new Red Hot Chili Peppers song, and it must’ve been to make me proud. I pressed her black Indian hair on my chest and wrapped my arms around her off-white, knitted pullover.
We discussed my day at work. I was an advisor for a national clothing brand. It was boring, as usual. I thought about her that day, how I felt alone sometimes because I got bullied as a kid and neglected by my father. My birthday had been two days ago, and nobody showed up, but she took me to dinner and we watched The Beach that evening and she brought me chocolate cake. I cried about it that day at work in a bathroom stall. I only shed a few tears and I didn’t make a sound. I never told her about it, because it embarrassed me, although she would accept it without any judgement. So, instead, I told her about rude costumers and funny workplace gossip.
Her shift was about to begin. She sold smoothies at a nearby festival. This was a one-time thing and it was going to be all night. The festival was well-known for all its drug-users and techno music. She had never been there and neither had I. She said she was a little scared to go, so naturally I offered to take her.
As we walked to the bus stop, I held her hand. I wore a cropped, super slim fit chino with an outspoken print. I liked how tan my ankles looked against my white sneakers. She had a prettier tan than I, but I could never compete against her oriental roots. Russian and Indian, imagine that.
We walked into the corner store and grabbed dinner for me, that I could eat as soon as I went back. A few minutes later we put it back, because we decided I might as well buy it on my way back. She bought a pack of cigarettes, gum and a bottle of water. She asked me if I had my I.D card with me, just in case they would ask. “Yeah, yeah,” I said.
We went outside and sat down on the porch, waiting for the bus. We lit a cigarette and smoked and talked. She said one thing, then another and I kissed her on her cheek and her forehead and between her nose and eyes. There was a café behind us with people on the terrace. They looked old and worn-down. One of them was a man, he sat in a scoot mobile. He had a lot of tattoos and looked very pale. I looked at my own tattoos and decided that I should stop smoking, unless I wanted to end up looking like that man. The physical body is just the physical body, but I made the assumption that he probably didn’t feel very happy either. Outside is inside, after all.
She told me a story about our mutual friend. They met up last night when I was asleep. She apologized for if she woke me up when she came home. I told her it was fine.
“But I could hear you punch the wall when I went around the corner,” she said. My heart sank. At that time, I wanted her to hear that, now I wished she didn’t. I told her I accidently hit the wall when I turned around in my sleep.
She said our friend was still in love with our other friend, yet he kept denying it. She said it was apparent, though, as he couldn’t shut up about her and everytime she mentioned one of her exes or crushes, he immediately took a disliking to him without any legit reason.
The cars that passed by got very close to the curb. It freaked me out, so I stood up. She didn’t get up, but grabbed her phone instead and started making selfies. I started to feel a little embarrassed, but pushed myself off of that thought process quickly. If she didn’t care what others think, why should I? The man on the scoot mobile raced by and shouted, “Now THAT’S a good picture, lady!” before disappearing around the corner.
The bus arrived and we got in. We took a seat in the back. She confessed to me that she wasn’t afraid to go by herself at all, she just wanted an excuse for me to come along. “You’ve kept to yourself a lot these past days, and I just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t my fault. I just hope I didn’t make you feel bad or anything.” She smiled at me with the innocence of a little girl. I pulled her toward me and told her it didn’t have anything to do with her, and I meant it.
A few seats in front of us were two guys of whom I was certain that they would go to the festival also. One had long curls and fashionable(but worn down) clothes. The other guy was hard to see, except for his short blonde spikes. The guy with the long hair kept telling his spiked friend about his experiences with drugs, even interrupting him a couple of times, because he must’ve been really excited to tell him about it. The guy had nice eyebrows and light-blue eyes. She mentioned that the spiked guy dated one of her friends.
Once we got out of the bus we had to walk down a long path, because the festival was near an abandoned warehouse. On our way there she thanked me for tagging along and I said I didn’t mind. She asked me if I was worried for her safety and I told her I was a little bit. She flung her arms around my waist and pulled me towards her. We made jokes about all the people walking among us, because they looked like typical festival-goers. She said I could fit right in, and she couldn’t, because she liked to dress classy and feminine. In her eyes, that was pretty ironic, since she was going to work there and I was going home later.
We walked over a small bridge with water underneath us. The bride was wobbly and scary. I imagined all the people having to walk back home under the influence. When I told her that, she said, “Yeah, well, think about me! I have to walk all of this at 6 in the morning with all these creepy bastards.”
There was a long line in front of the main entrance with all sorts of hipster people and wannabe hipster people. I wondered which was worse. There was a stand next to the main entrance for personnel, so we went there. She had to wait in line so I decided to smoke a cigarette next to the line. A guy that I vaguely recognized walked over to me and reached out to shake my hand. “Sebastian, right?” He said. I nodded and he smiled, before walking off. I had no idea who he was.
I observed all the people with their denim jackets, Vans, Nikes, ripped jeans, Raybans, snapbacks, tattoos, piercings, bandanas, jumpsuits, kimono dresses, Stan Smiths, chewing gum, leather bracelets, leather necklaces, golden rings. She came up to me. “Hey, I see you’re worried. But don’t be, I’ll be fine. You know I can handle these people, right? You won’t believe it, but this guy who obviously had a pill came up to me and said he wanted to hug me already! It’s seven p.m.! Can you believe it?” She kissed me and walked off again, back into her line.
I wasn’t worried for her. I knew these guys wouldn’t harm her. They were all on XTC. Or they would be. It’s the lovedrug. No, the thing that bugged me is that I craved to be a part of them. Seeing them all, excited for the party, ready to liftoff, it made me think back to the same feeling. I wanted drugs, and lots of it. Maybe it was work stress, or the lack of direction in my life. I tried to trace it back to some shortcoming deep inside myself, but maybe it was just the euphoria I had felt when I was on drugs.
She came back to me and showed me her wristband. “Look,” she said. “Ready to go.” I told her I was going to miss her, even though it was just for one night. I hadn’t expected I would ever be so reliable. I had practiced Zen and the Art of not giving a shit for all my life, and now I was a big cry-baby, a wimp, and all I wanted to do was go to Australia with this woman and leave all these hipster people behind. I wanted to leave me insecurities and fears behind. Be a famous writer or musician, do my yoga and live a truthful life.
I told her good luck and to text me whenever she could, just to let me know she was okay. She told me that of course she would and I knew she would. I hugged her once more and walked off, back over the wobbly bridge and back along the long path, back into the bus, back into the cornerstore, grabbed dinner, and then went back into my home. I turned on the computer, played some Jimi Hendrix, cried again and started typing.