Friday, December 5, 2008

twenty one

I waited for what felt like hours. Where the fuck was Kate at? I folded some clothes absently, channeling my mother’s nervous habits. At nearly five the door opened.
“Hey!” Kate was flushed and carrying numerous shopping bags.
“Hey A.” Blanche peeked her head over Kate’s shoulder. I was surprised. Had they been hanging out? Since when were they hanging out kind of friends? To my knowledge, Kate didn’t even like Blanche that much. Kate flung her bags on to her bed, and turned to me, smiling.
“Wait til you see all the shit I bought. Whoa, your hair! It looks sick!”
“Since when do you shop?” I touched my new bob self consciously.
“Since I made her. And I agree, the hair is ah-may-zing.” Blanche annunciated, smiling.I was glad they liked it, but my irritation was overwhelming. How could Kate be so happy when I was so upset? What a bitch. Blanche sat on my bed next to me, and put her arm around my shoulder. “I heard about Marcus. What an asshole.” What the fuck? Kate told Blanche of all people? I felt my embarrassment creep over my newly naked neck. My anger with Kate grew stronger every second. She was busy pulling things out of bags, and tossing them haphazardly in piles.
“These are for you.” she threw me a pair of purple suede knee high boots, flat bottomed and devastatingly cool. I warmed slightly to her effort to cheer me up.
“I don’t know how I found size ten boots, but there you go. I know you’ve been coveting those ones from that designer or whatever, and I thought these were similar enough. I smiled despite myself. They looked nothing like the boots I wanted, but they were sweet enough it didn’t matter. I stood up and pulled them on over my skinny jeans. I looked down at the effect, and was decidedly pleased.
“Thanks Kate. These are really dope.”
“Blanche picked ‘em out for herself, but since they’re so big, we figured you’d be perfect. Elephant feet, and all that.”
“You little bitch.”
“Oh and we’re having a medieval party on Friday. I got you a cape too.” she held out a heavy velvet cape which looked ridiculous.
“Where did you find a cape?”
“I have my ways.”
Blanche was trying on sun sunglasses in the mirror, turning and primping, checking each angle meticulously.
“And I got myself some men’s vests and men’s shirts at this awesome store called Sid Vintage in Noho. Annnnd I got this. To replace your Aaron flannel.” she tossed a green flannel shirt at me. “It’s time for New Alice to let go of Aaron totally.”
“Yeah, high school baggage is so terrible.” Blanche remarked, turning towards me with her shades still on. “I had a boyfriend I didn’t get over til I dated Marcus. Oops.” she cringed when she mentioned his name.
“It’s fine. I’m over it. I’m going to show him what he missed.”
“He really is missing a lot. You’re the best.” Kate said genuinely. I smiled at her softly, a silent thank you for her support. I wasn’t as pissed anymore.
“Let’s go get dinner, and then I’m taking you two out to a bar. You have class tomorrow?” Blanche asked.
“Nope, day off for both of us.” Kate responded. “Second day in a row for delinquent Alice here. Way to skip your first college class ever.” she chuckled.
“Outstanding circumstances. But yes, we both have tomorrow off, so I’d love to go out. I’m going to wear my new boots!” I felt a knot in my stomach untwist. Girl time with my best friend and my new party pal was just what I needed. I also needed to eat, I realized as my stomach grumbled. I hadn’t eaten all day while I was wallowing.
“let’s hurry, I’m fucking starving.” I groaned to them.
“Okay, okay, I could use a good burger right bout now.” Kate stood up to go.
“I don’t get how you two eat like that.” Blanche complained, “I’d be massive.”
“Stoner metabolism. Which reminds me…” Kate trailed off. “Al, can you wait until we pack a bowl before you die of starvation?”
“Always.” I responded with an empathic nod.


I stopped myself in the hallway. I wasn’t ready to hate Marcus, but I wasn’t ready to hear his explanation either. Hurting Alice was like hurting me, and I didn’t want to hear why he didn’t like her. I couldn’t even imagine any reasons. She was my best, my most great, my girl. Instead of walking over to Marcus’ I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Blanche. I wanted to get to the bottom of their relationship without directly asking Marcus.
“Hello.” she singsong.
“Yo girl, what’s up.” I tried not to be short.
“Just coming back from lunch, you? Are you with A?” Enough with the dumb nicknames, I thought to myself. A and B, great.
“No that’s what I want to talk to you about. About Alice.”
“Is everything ok?” she must have heard the serious tone of my voice.
“Well, yes and no. can you meet me somewhere?”
“Sure. Come to my dorm.”
As I approached the dorm ten minutes later, I saw Blanche perched on the steps, posing and smoking a cigarette. Her long pale legs stretched out in the sunlight, covered by knee socks and a pleated skirt.
“Hey, Blanche.” I greeted her with a nod.
“Hey, sweetie.” she got up to air kiss me, a habit with was growing on me a little.
“So here’s the thing. Marcus and Alice hooked up and then he stopped and told her he couldn’t, that he liked someone else.”
“Whoa.” she looked shocked.
“Does that sound like him? I mean, is he hung up on someone.” I hinted.
“Not that I know of. Certainly not me. We broke up ages ago, and he dumped me.” she admitted.
“I wasn’t the best girlfriend.”
“I gathered that.” I laughed.
“Oh, fuck you.” she laughed back. I realized this was he first time since I met her she seemed relaxed and natural. I liked it, and saw a little of what Alice saw in her now, an ease of confidence and friendliness that was attractive.
“So is she okay? I mean, should I call her?” she continued.
“I think maybe not. She’s pretty embarrassed. You can’t tell her I told you, okay?” Blanche looked uncomfortable when I said that.
“She’ll probably tell you anyways.” I offered.
“Probably.” she agreed. She stood up, tossing her cigarette into the grass and turned to me.
“Hey, want to go shopping? I’m heading into town to go to this vintage store, and I bet you’d love it. Lots of men’s vests for you!” she giggled.
“I would like that. If you’re nice, I’ll even try on a dress for you. That’s always a funny experience.”
“And we need to think of a good theme for a party at my place this weekend.”
“Oh, I will go nuts with that. How about medieval? We can have swordfights and mead wenches and…” I broke off as she started laughing.
“Or roaring twenties,” I continued. I knew she would have a field day with that costume.
“As much as I love flappers, I think medieval is more original.” she said seriously, as if this matter was of great importance. Which I guess it kind of was to her. Parties seemed to be a big thing with her friends, and the crazier the costumes the better.
“So where should we go shopping?” I was hesitant to spend time with her, lest Alice get all territorial, but Blanche was being so damn nice, how could I say no?
“Maybe we should go to Northampton? It’s where Smith is, so we can scope out some girls for you. Lots of lesbians in Noho.” my stomach thrilled at that thought. A regular smorgasbord of eligible dykies. Nice.
“So we take the bus?”
“Pioneer Valley Transpo at your service.” she said, flourishing her arm toward the general direction of the bus stop. As we started walking, I lit up a cigarette, trying to fill the silence. Blanche seemed comfortable just to walk without saying anything, a trait I attributed to her confidence. I often filled time with idle chatter, afraid of what the silence would mean, like I was uninteresting or bland. Blanche was aware of her power, her grace and so she didn’t need to crack little jokes to keep people entertained. She was so sure of herself. I saw a sliver of what Alice admired in her then, and how that confidence was held over you like a prize. Stick with me and all this could be yours, she seemed to say.
“So I started class today.” my voice sounded too loud after that silence.
“Yeah?” she turned to look at me, attentive.
“It Wasn’t what I thought. It was…just like high school.”
“Yes, therein lies the greatest secret of higher education. It is just like high school for a while, then you get the better classes. But at first, it’s like reverting to junior year, difficulty wise. You just have to do the work, and you’ll be golden. What class did you have?”
“Spanish 102, which I thought was more difficult than 101. I am now convinced 101 is for remedial students.”
“Hey I took Spanish 101.”
“It was like remedial Spanish.”
“See, I knew it. My teacher acted like she was teaching elementary school Spanish. She also had poufy 80s hair which I hate hate hate.”
“Not everyone can have such flowing locks as yours, Kate.” Blanche joked, tugging the end of one of my shit locks. I tossed my head around, jerking her hand with it, and made a horse noise. She giggled and let go.
“You’re kind of silly.” she remarked.
“Dude, I know. I can’t help it.”
“I like it!” she giggled again. I remembered Alice then, and wondered if she was ok, if I should call her or something. I decided to give her space. I was having too much fun, anyways.


I wanted to sleep for ten more hours. This coke was kicking my ass, and at least when I was asleep I didn’t have to think about Marcus. Whenever I awoke, my shame would creep down my spine and I would have to put my head under the covers again, hiding from everything I remembered about the night before. I had no idea why this was hitting me so hard. Maybe I really liked him, maybe I just had never been rejected. It was definitely a blow to my confidence, that’s for sure. I felt like I wanted to get up, but couldn’t. if I got up, it was saying I didn’t really care. Like I was okay, and I was most definitely not okay. I finally dragged my ass out of bed, and looked in the mirror. Jesus. No wonder he rejected me. I was hideous. I raked my hair back from my face, and turned to my profile. Too big nose, pointy chin, freckles.
“How could he not want someone else? God, anyone else?” I said aloud, dropping my hair back into place. “Fuck, pull yourself together, Alice. You’re such a fucking loser.”
I kept staring at myself, picking blackheads I imagined and wallowing. Eventually I decided to take a shower, to shock myself out of this abyss. I let the water pour over me, not washing myself, just standing under the spray. I watched some dye from my hair run into the drain absently and shifted myself close to the hot water. I resolved to re-dye my hair later that day. Changing ym hair had always been somewhat cathartic for me. I chopped my hair when I lost my virginity, and dyed it when I left for college. New hair, new self. That was going to be my mantra today, I thought, I could use a trim. I needed to give myself concrete tasks to do so I could lose myself in the, and stop thinking about Marcus. I turned the water off, and grabbed my robe. The cool air chilled my skin, and I hurried back to my room, fighting the urge to crawl back in bed. I didn’t get dressed, just fished around under my bed naked, looking for my haircutting scissors and some hair dye. I stood in front of the mirror, combing my hair straight, the wet strands sticking to my cheeks. I turned my head one way, then the other, eyeing which strands were longer and needed to be cut. When I picked up the scissors, I felt reckless, like I wanted to chop it all off. Instinctively, I titled my head forward and grabbed a chunk of hair. I trimmed it close to the skin, exposing the nape of my neck. I continued around my head, cutting my hair with light snips, angling the hair forward until the front pieces were longer, grazing my chin. It was a bob of sorts, I though, just a little more interesting. My hair was dry now, unstyled and kind of frizzy. But it was an improvement. It was a cool haircut, with the shortest part at the back contrasted with the longer parts at the front. I mixed the dye meticulously, wiping up the small spills I made on the dresser with my bathrobe. Parting my hair in quarter inch intervals, I spread the fire engine red dye over my hair evenly. Somewhere around halfway through, I realized the reason why I was doing all of this. I was going to make Marcus so fucking jealous he would kick his own ass for rejecting me. I perched on my bed, pulling my laptop onto my legs as I waited for the dye to penetrate my hair. I flipped through Facebook, going through friends I had accrued online before school started. I marked all of the cute boys on my bookmark list. I was going to date boys, until I found one who made me forget Marcus completely. I was New Alice still, I told myself. And New Alice was strong enough to not only forget about Marcus, but fucking thrive without him. I couldn’t wait til I saw him next, looking sexy and making out with someone else. He would regret last night as much as I did.


I danced all night, and I was pretty sure I was getting better at sexy dancing. Maybe. I was exhausted by one, and tried to leave at least five times before all the girls would let me go. I got a few numbers, mostly friend-types, but it was exhilarating to have real gay role models. Maybe I could figure out from them how I was supposed to navigate the straight world while being gay. It was tricky.
“Okay, class tomorrow, I have to go.” I yelled over the music to everyone.
“Okay, well, it was nice meeting you.” Carmen grabbed my hand and pressed a piece of paper into it. “That’s my number. Call me any time.”
“I will take you up on that. Expect some six a.m wake up calls.” I teased. She laughed. I made my way to the door finally, and wondered if Alice and Marcus had made out finally. I was so excited when they came over, obviously flushed and making excuses for why they were leaving. I hoped she didn’t just sleep with him like she had with that senior dude. I really wanted them to work.
I ambled across the quad, hands in my pockets, my thoughts swirling over the evening. I was in such a good mood. I thought briefly about Melanie, and wondered if she wanted to get lunch tomorrow. I was determined to show her the path of freakdom, and how great ti was not to listen to mainstream hip hop and watch The Notebook. i
Decided to text her tomorrow after my first class. I also thought about how happy Alice would be when I got home, if she was even there at all. I hoped she wasn’t kind of, that she and Marcus were listening to records and talking about life, holding hands and kissing gently. I felt like a fag for thinking like that, and smiled to myself. Nothing could bring me down right now, I thought.
I tripped up the stairs on my way into the door, and realized I was still drunk, aa thought which hadn’t occurred to me in a few hours. My high, I though was, was due to meeting new people, not alcohol induced. I fumbled with my keys, closing one eye to see straight. I pushed the door open, waiting to see if Alice was there. She was, but she was lying on her bed, half undressed, sobbing.
“Whoa, what’s wrong?” I was taken aback. He what?
“Marcus…said…no….he likes someone else!” she struggled to get her words out through her tears. I felt sobered up immediately, and rushed to her bed, sitting on the edge.
“Maybe he still likes Blanche?” I let the question hang in the air.
“Maybe.” she sputtered. I stroked her hair, letting her cry it out.
We fell asleep in her bed around three, and I knew I would be tired tomorrow. But I didn’t care. This was more important.
I got up at nine, my head pounding. I needed to slow down on the drinking. I let Alice sleep, because her class was later than mine. I changed out of my clothes from the night before, and smelled myself. I was rank, but I had no time to shower. I wore a hoodie, and hoped I wouldn’t be the smelly girl in class. I pulled on some jeans and slipped my sneakers on. I had just enough time to grab a coffee on the way to class.
“Hola chicas y chicos. Me llamo es professora Diaz.” My teacher was a plump middle aged lady with a ridiculous poufy hairstyle. I sighed. I wasn’t dumb, just a bad student, and I hated teachers who acted like kids were borderline retarded. She spoke so slowly I wondered if I had wandered into remedial Spanish instead. I had thought college was supposed to be challenging. We had a break halfway through and I walked outside to smoke. I lit up my cigarette, and remembered why I smoked pot before my classes in high school. This class was exactly like my senior Spanish class, not exactly what I had thought it’d be. I was worried I’d be out of my league, but it was entirely possible I would do well in this class. That was a novel thought. I wondered if Alice had gotten up for her class, and I felt a knot of worry tie into my stomach. I remembered my idea to text Mel last night, so I pulled out my phone. I typed in “Lunch today?” and pressed send. My phone buzzed a moment later with the response “Yes! : )” and I smiled. She was pretty cute, like a little sister type. I wanted to be her hip role model and decided to burn her a cd of some underground hip hop to supplement her collection. She needed direction I thought. I went back inside, fighting the urge to just leave. I had made a promise to be a better student and stop getting high for class, and I was determined to do that for exactly one week at least.
After class I went to the cafeteria, looking around for Mel. I found her typing on her laptop, and she looked up and smiled big.
“Hey, Kate! What’s up?”
“Nothing, done with class for the day, you?”
“Oh I have one later. I just love my classes so far.”
“Melanie, if you want to be cool, stop saying stuff like that.” I laughed.
“I can’t help it!” she pouted and I chuckled some more.
“I’m making you a cd,” I announced, “You need some good tunes.”
“Oh, I’d love that!”
We chatted some more about my class, and I shared with her my plan to be a better student. She laughed at that, and offered to do homework with me at the library. I realized she could be my school role model in exchange for my cultural expertise for her.
“Ok, dude, I’m going to go find Alice. She had a rough night. But I’m taking you up on the library offer soon.”
“Ok, Kate, see you soon.” I cleared my tray, and walked out into the bright sunshine. I squinted and fumbled through my bag for some sunglasses. I found my Wayfarers and put them on. I pushed off on my skateboard and cruised toward the dorm. Alice should have been done with class by now. I wanted to see if she was still upset, or if the morning had given her a little relief. Maybe they were just drunk tears, I thought. I didn’t think so, but who knew? I wanted to call Marcus, and ask him what the fuck his problem was. Who does that? Wait til a girl gets all worked up and then deny her satisfaction based on the premise of liking someone else. I wondered who it was, Blanche or Ellen, maybe Jess. Maybe me? I shook that thought out of my head. He knew I was gay. But he always looked at me like…I decided not to think about it. I peeked my head in the door first, and all the lights were out. I flipped the switch and the harsh overhead light shined through my sunglasses. I pulled them off, and I noticed a shape in the bed.
“Alice?” I asked, my voice sounding too loud in the silent room.
“What?” she spat back.
“Did you go to class?”
“What?” I was in disbelief. Skipping class on the first day? Already?
“I didn’t go to class.” she rolled over, and I noticed she was still in her clothes from the night before. She looked horrible, all disheveled, her hair stringy and unwashed. I was suddenly angry at everything, angry about Marcus, angry at her for not taking class seriously.
“Get the fuck out of bed, Al.”
“No.” she grunted into her pillow.
“Get up.” I demanded again.
“Fine.” she sat up, her dress pushed up over her waist, bunching unattractively.
“Look at you! You look like..” I thought for an appropriate metaphor, “A train wreck.” I realized it was harsh but she needed to hear it.
“I just can’t stop replaying it in my head. Over and over, ‘I can’t do this.’ ugh.”
“Al, snap out of it. He’s just a guy.”
“I’ve never been so humiliated.”
“I know, girl, I know, but he’s just a guy.”
“A great guy.”
“I’m going to kick his ass.”
“No, don’t. I don’t want him to know I’m upset.”
“how could he mess up like this? You’re fucking awesome. He missed out.”
“How can I compare to Blanche?”
“You don’t have to. You’re Alice.” she fell backwards onto her tangled sheets.
“I’m going back to bed.”
“I’m going to Mel’s room. I’ll come back soon.”
I strode out of the room, past Melanie’s and took the stairs. Like it or not, Alice, I’m kicking his ass, I thought to myself. Fuck Marcus.


After a few more bumps with Blanche, I felt like my New Self again. I saw Kate dancing awkwardly with some dykey looking girls, and I smiled. Odd as it sounded, she seemed in her element, grinning easily and I felt happy for her. I felt happy in general, for that matter. Like my limbs would burst with elation. I walked over to Marcus and leaned in close to him.
“Wanna dance?”
“Yeah, sure.” I pulled him by the elbow to the edge of the dance floor and started to dance. He followed suit, awkwardly shifting from side to side, looking uncomfortable. I pulled him to me, and our hips linked front to front as we moved back and forth. He seemed more at ease now, and his arms wove around me. His touch was electrifying, but I couldn’t tell if it was drug induced or just pure sexual tension. I decided it was the latter. I pulled my head back and looked him in the eyes. His searched mine, looking for what answer I didn’t know. I decided to go for it, and leaned in, pushing my mouth against his. His lips parted in response, and his tongue slipped into my mouth. We kept moving, slower than the beat of the song, as we furiously made out right there on the dance floor. I raked my hands through his hair, pulling his mouth in closer to mine. He broke away, and swallowed. When he spoke his voice was deeper than usual, husky.
“Want to get out of here?” he looked into my eyes again.
“Yeah.” I said quietly.
“What?” I leaned into his ear.
“Okay.” he looked nervous, which I found endearing. “Let me just say bye to Kate.”
That irked me, I wanted him to want me so bad he couldn’t stand it another minute. But that meant I could find Blanche and get a little more, just a little bump for the road. I didn’t know why they called them bumps. Bumps sounded like you went down after, when in fact you went sky high, sailing through the outer limits where no possibility was out of reach. I pulled Blanche aside and we went to the bathroom yet again.
I decided to say good bye to Kate too, and I walked out on the floor, edging through groups of wild dancers. Marcus was already there, talking into Kate’s ear as she smiled. I tugged his sleeve, and he turned to me. We locked eyes again, and I could feel the sexual tension well up. He and I waved good bye, stammering excuses about class tomorrow awkwardly. we made small talk across campus, a ritual I was getting used to: The small talk before the make out. I wanted to reach down and grab his hands, but since I was in heels, I was terrified I would be able to reach. I was a good 4 inches taller than him now, something I wasn’t used to. I couldn’t wait to get back to the dorm so I could take my shoes off and be closer to his height. We went up the stairs, and he turned to me, eyes squinting in the fluorescent lights. I wondered if I looked ok under the harsh lighting.
“Let me check if my room is ok.”
“Okay.” I laughed. It was so cute, how concerned he was. I hoped he wanted to impress me. He stuck his head out of the door.
“All clear.” His Mohawk was all disheveled from my hands running through it, and he looked absolutely adorable. His room was a single, and full of punk posters and band stickers on every surface. I sat on his bed, feeling uncomfortable and debated taking my shoes off. I figured I should just stay seated, and I tucked one leg under me. He sat down next to me, after turning off the lights. He leaned in, and I felt him kiss my neck softly. I sighed and moved my mouth to his. His lips were soft and full, and it was a much better kiss than the previous night’s. We leaned back onto his bed, his hands moving over my dress. I went for his belt buckle, fumbling slightly. He stopped my hand and looked at me.
“Can we just kiss?”
“yeah, okay.” I was a little taken aback. What boy didn’t want more?
After a few minutes he pulled away and sat up.
“I can’t do this.”
“Alice, you’re great, I just like someone else. You’re beautiful and everything, and I’m attracted to you, but I can’t use you like that.”
I felt tears well up. I had never been rejected. I started to shake and I straightened my dress, and got up to leave.
“Alice, don’t be mad.”
“I’m not. Whatever.” I spat out bitterly. I felt shame creep into my face in the form of a dark blush. I slammed the door on my way out.


I was amazed it was that easy. Some of my frigid feelings for Blanche warmed because she had included me in this. I suppose I was just jealous of her, and of the changes she seemed to be inspiring in Alice. But this change was one I could live with, for sure. We had gotten there at what I thought was a late time, but it seemed like gays had a relative sense of fashionably late. The party was sparse and I felt shame for dragging everyone here. I saw Blanche and Alice at the bar, rolling their eyes and looking too good for everyone. Marcus and Ellen were arguing dramatically about some photographer who Marcus hated but Ellen adored, and Jess looked like she was concentrating really hard on standing upright. I sighed and looked around again, trying to scope out some potential test subjects for lesbian studies 101. I spotted a few overweight girls in cargo pants in one corner, and a few groomed boys in another. There was a third group of androgynous types, girls and boys with short hair and flat chests under wife beaters. I knew the term transgender from psych class, and I thought maybe they were, which confused me further. If they had girl parts, would I like them or would they like boys? I really didn’t get it. Were they gay men or straight men or lesbians? I needed a drink. I walked to the bar, waving at Blanche and Alice as I neared. I ordered a gin and tonic, and let the bubbles soothe my confused mind. Some of the androgynous ones were pretty cute, but I couldn’t will myself to go over and say hi. At least not til I was solidly drunk. I gulped my drink, overhearing Blanche and Alice’s idle chatter. I guess she needed someone to have girl talk with, and I was sure as hell glad it wasn’t me. Blanche’s femininity was something I didn’t have and didn’t want. I finished my drink, and felt the alcohol seep through my veins into my extremities. I pulled Marcus aside and asked him what I should do.
“Wait til it picks up.” he suggested. “Then go talk to someone.”
“Okay, okay.” I eyed the line of people filtering in, and saw a few more cute girls. It was weird to be able to check out girls without worrying if they were straight. I’m sure a few here were, like Blanche or Alice, but for the most part I felt confident that I could hit on any of them without creeping someone out. It felt good. I turned to Ellen, emboldened by my last drink, and asked her to dance.
“”Finally.” She said breathily, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask.” That struck me as a little cliché, her bad girl act was hitting one note over and over. But if I danced with her, I knew I’d send out a flag that I was into girls to the whole room. So I let her pull me on the floor, and we awkwardly placed our hands on each other’s waists. I’d only danced with a few boys, back in junior high, or danced crazy with Alice, so I was at a loss of how to sexy dance. I just followed her hip movements, swinging mine back and forth in time to the music. She smelled like shampoo, the scent wafting whenever she moved her long brown hair. I leaned closer to her, moving my hands to her lower back. It felt so natural to feel these curves like this, her breasts pushing against mine causing a heat wave to my nether regions. After the song ended, she fanned her face dramatically and said she needed a drink. We walked over to the bar, and I got two vodka tonics. I leaned back and surveyed the room again. It had gotten more crowded and I saw some girls who looked kind of like me, boyish but a little feminine. I turned to Ellen and asked if she knew anyone here.
“Um, some of those girls were in my classes.” she pointed to a group. “And that girl is a radio station DJ.” she indicated with her chin to a particularly cute girl with cropped blonde hair and almond eyes.
“Can I meet her?” I asked.
“Sure.” Ellen grabbed my hand and led me over.
“Carmen, this is Kate, she’s a recently out frosh.” I cringed at those terms in paring. Out of what? I knew she meant the closet, but I felt like I was out of my element more.
“Nice. I’m Carmen. I’m a sophomore.” she smiled at me, and I noticed exactly how cute she was. She was tall, and I normally didn’t like tall girls, but she was like a model, all thin limbs and graceful energy.
“Let’s dance, ladies.” she suggested, pointing to her friends who were already getting down to some hip hop song.
I trailed the two onto the dance floor, and felt my nerves buzz with anticipation. I was meeting real lesbians. Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I was so excited for Blanche to get there and see my outfit. I was trying something new, something cooler, and I wanted her approval. I heard a loud knock on the door, and I threw it open to find Blanche. She burst into the room in her usual whirlwind fashion, air kissing and saying hello to everyone. She was wearing a tiny leather miniskirt topped with an oversize shirt and tons of scarves and bangles. I tugged at my short dress awkwardly, wishing she was dressed retro. It was probably over as a style now, she seemed like she would know the next thing before I would anyways. She turned to me and grabbed my hands.
“You look ravishing, dear.” I blushed and stammered a thank you. I was glad she noticed I had tried something new, but I saw Kate roll her eyes. I figured she was just jealous I was getting attention.
“Come to the bathroom with me.” Blanche winked.
We excused ourselves, and I followed her as she hurried down the hall. She pulled out a baggy in the empty bathroom, and shook it back and forth like I was a dog and it was a bone. She backed into a stall, and I followed, taking the bait. I sniffed up two lines, and pinched my nose like I had seen Blanche do. She tossed her head back like a horse, inhaling dramatically. We were laughing when we went back into the room, giggling over my retelling of last nights events. I felt invincible, so I sat close to Marcus on the bed.
“I like your tights.” he said, eyeing my legs. I stretched them out to their full length and looked down.
“I like them too.” I remarked, turning them one way, then the other. I noticed he was looking too, out of the corner of my eye.
“Okay, let’s go to this party already.” I announced to the group. I felt like I was the leader of the night’s festivities, playing hostess. I looked around to the group, and everyone stopped their conversations and started to get up. The sense of power must have been radiating from me, I thought. I slipped into some heels my mom had bought me, which I had sworn never to wear. But tonight I didn’t care if they pushed me over six feet, I wanted to be noticed. I didn’t even feel awkward in them tonight, I felt like I was ten miles high off the ground. We all trooped out of the room, in a raggedy line, and started out across the grass. The walk seemed longer than I remember, and I realized that was because I was wobbling on heels instead of on a skateboard. Blanche caught up to me, linking our arms together. I felt so girlie, and it was something I wasn’t used to.
“So I got you a present.”
“More?” I assume she was talking about drugs.
“Nope, here you go.” she handed me a card, some girl’s ID. Her name was Hannah O’leary. She was 5’11 and looked about two hundred pounds. She had long brown hair and freckles.
“You’re welcome.” Blanche sang out.
“What is this?”
“Your fake, duh. She’s fat so you say you lost weight and dyed your hair. I pad some girl twenty bucks for it in my dorm.”
“She looks nothing like me!” I protested.
“But she’s tall, and has freckles. She looks enough like you I promise.” She seemed sure of herself. “I also got Kate one, Kate, where are you?”
Kate jogged up to us from a little behind, and fake panted.
“What?” she looked at me, eyebrows raised.
“Present for my new frosh buddy.” Blanche held out an ID for her too, some tan girl with dreadlocks.
“Who is this?” she asked.
“It’s you, now, Theresa Connely.”
“Does she look like me?” and she did, actually. Tan, with bright blue eyes, just like Kate’s. Her’s was a better match then mine, but I figured it was hard to get Ids for giraffe girls like me. Plus, they’d look at the shit locks once over and think it was the same girl.
“Oh my god, thank you!” Kate pulled Blanche into an awkward hug, since they were still walking.
“So we’re twenty one tonight?” I asked.
“Memorize those birthdates, ladies.” Blanche advised.
I looked down at the card in my hand, trying to make out the numbers under the lights framing the path.
“Let me see yours.” Kate demanded. I passed it over and she burst out laughing. “She could eat you, Al!”
“I lost weight.” I giggled.
We walked up to the student center, and I got a nervous, paranoid feeling in my stomach. I knew I could get arrested for this, possibly. Or at least written up.
We formed a line, Kate and I at the back, trying to act casual. By the time we got up there, the doorman was so used to checking twenty one IDs that he barely looked at ours. I was elated. Look at us now, West Harlow. Look at us now.