we sleep in the bathtub or in my mom’s car.
she’s been gone for weeks and i don’t think she’s coming back this time. i take her good china and pour four loco in it until the cream porcelain is dyed fruit punch red and mango madness orange (you can lick the sides and still taste the wrecked disgusting taste of cheap alcohol).
we haven’t eaten much but sometimes at midnight we raid the pantry and lick mayo from the jar and crunch through expired crumb cake. i don’t know if there is something wrong with us or maybe everyone else is just weird.
he tells me stories and we play monopoly in the mornings. his parents don’t even exist and he must be older than me because i don’t think he ever goes home. i’m not sure if he even has one.
the good doctor would tell me i am having a psychiatric breakdown and my mind is making me see things that aren’t there, that i’m gently dying and my brain is making it easier on me. i knew i shouldn’t have flushed my prozac and xanax and the other crazy candies i am mandated to take.
some days i go a little crazy and play with my dad’s old lighter. it flickers up and down my arms but never burns me because i’m too fast for fire. sometimes i play with knives too, like a circus freak, juggling them like oranges, blade pointed down.
he applauds me and throws me roses from my mother’s garden. the thorns catch in my hair and my palms and pricks of blood dot my hands. i do not think he is real anymore but it’s okay because my imaginary friends love me best.
i got too old for peter’s home so they sent me here, down the rabbit hole, in the land of wonder where i dance and eat and play with all the mad men.
Night fell and we would shed our scholar, dancer, musician, athlete skins and slither to whatever rave was being held that night at whatever club we could get into with our cheap fake I.Ds. We would drink a bit on the way there, beer or whiskey or rum or anything we could get our hands on, just until our eyes were glassy and everything seemed hilarious.
We would dance so close, you’d have thought we were melded together, people we barely knew became our best friends, the music so loud our eardrums popped and our hearts pounded in sync, but that was okay because there were no consequences to anything, to lighting another blunt, to staying out until 3 or 4 in the morning, to hooking up in a bathroom or a closet or Jessica Mendels’ parents’ bedroom.
We were magic. Nothing could touch us, nothing could hurt us. We were made of titanium, so divorces and dance teachers who expected the impossible and tired fingers that couldn’t move fast enough over the strings and mothers who spent her nights mourning, didn’t exist. Those thoughts were plunged far back into your mind, where yellow-white lines of crank and the half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels could make you forget.
Not that we did the crank, of course. Meth wasn’t for us; we had tried it a few times, inhaling the powdery crystals, allowing them to dance up our nose and make us fly. We stopped because the crash was the worst feeling in the universe and because we were afraid of crank, afraid of shooting so high we might never come down.
We preferred pot, loved the way it made our hearts beat faster but slower, how everything seemed quiet but so loud, how it made us feel so alive, how the smoke mixed with beer and sweat and perfume and lip stick was the best thing in the world and no one ever wanted it to end.
But when it did, we would slip back into our windows, wash off the remnants of the night and put back our masks for the next day, so when we woke, exhausted and hungry, and our mothers asked how we slept, we could say it was the best we ever had.
Of course, the magic wears off and the titanium rusts because sometimes it wasn’t enough and we would puke in the bushes, or spend the night sobbing into our knees or drink a little too much, smoke a little too much and lose control.
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