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.