You’ve been waiting all week for this.
You dab a moon of melted glitter on your cheekbone, another to match on the other. There’s vodka in the mug you drink flowery tea from. You stare yourself down in the mirror as you chug, feel the ethanol-heat in your throat and your eyes shine like cabochons. The colleague you’ve known for a month jerks around your bedroom to Cardi B, and you sing violently to each other, to your mirrored selves. She smells like baby lotion and microwaved pizza – a sweet-scented garbage bag. But she does drop the occasional profundity like We don’t need love, we need understanding, and she’s got her impression of your manager down pat. Wine spills from her cup as she performs to the purple Care Bear you’ve had since you were five. She doesn’t notice when you laugh and dry your dress discreetly. You don’t really have the confidence for neon green, but your friend said you look hot, like a fuckable cactus. A skull-full of vodka washes the prickles away.
You’ve been waiting all month for this.
All eyes are on you when you walk through the door of the bar. And why wouldn’t they be? You look your best in ‘toxic lime’, don’t you? You didn’t put too much highlight on this time, did you? You’re a beautiful gecko. Your friend is a wildcat though, a blue panther slinking down the throats of men. You order two tequilas for yourself and none for your friend. She doesn’t need them. The thumb digging your ribs belongs to your boyfriend. He tells you your dress is too short. This is a man who charms above water. The one you thought you’d marry one day – glide down the aisle, rare and beautiful as a heron in your white dress. The same boyfriend who once said your body is like a half-eaten apple and he was the only one left who wanted a bite. The crescents on your cheeks fog a little. You pinch the hem down as he kisses the top of your head and walks away, and you wish you had the courage to do the same.
You’ve been waiting all year for this.
It’s your birthday and you’re in line for a club under an umbrella with a friend you’ve known for five minutes. Rain hangs in the air like glass beads you could pinch, and you can’t tell if it’s a UTI, or you just had too many blueberry mojitos. Your phone is ringing but you can’t find it in the jaws of your handbag. You know it’s your mother, worrying herself to sleep. You think briefly of the gentle songs she sang to you at night under plastic glow-in-the-dark stars. There are no stars here. Just the two waning moons on your cheeks. A slamming beat draws you inside on a gossamer thread, reeled in by a many-eyed, many-legged thing. Your head is pendulous as you dance, and the sticky stink of armpits and warm perfume fills your mouth. There’s no sign of your friends or your boyfriend, and you have work first thing. But that doesn’t matter right now. There’s a cigarette hole burned into your dress, glowing boomslang in the lights. You think someone has bitten your lip. Or were you wearing lipstick? Your cheeks are smeared with vivid red, moons totally eclipsed. Whom did you kiss? Who cares.
You’ve been waiting your whole life for this