How do I accept that I won’t ever be great or outstanding? I always thought I had talent, and maybe I’m not bad, but a great many people are far better. I can’t stop thinking this and it’s causing me great anxiety.
Kill your ego, because nothing you do will ever matter. That’s OK, though….
Tonight was Masquerade. I didn’t think that college held dances like this, at least, I didn’t ever think I’d come to one. People wondered around the halls and lurked around the gym that was unrecognizable due to the amount of disguising it underwent. Purple curtains were draped over windows double the size of my torso and the room was light by a dim, neon rainbow of sorts. Neon blue, neon purple and an occasional gold would splash the floor, letting us know that tonight was special. I feel uncomfortable. Everyone’s identity was concealed. I didn’t really know anyone here in the first place, no one but my best friend, but she wouldn’t be paying me any attention in a place like this. Bandage was a bad-ass kind of friend. The kind of friend that takes care of your pets when you’re gone, helps you make breakfast when you’re doing it for her, spends a Saturday night watching you play Street Fighter and remembers the little things that matter to you. She bought me a Spider-Man comic for my birthday this year. I’ve only mentioned that I like Spider-Man once. But as bad-ass as she is, Bandage wants a man in her life and there are plenty here. Masks on or not, she had a way with finding these things out. Even with her mask on you could tell she was beautiful. She demands people pay attention to her when she enters a room. I’m not going to waste time making it sound fancy, but this is heartbreaking. I don’t want to just be her best friend. But it’s the card I played.
“Hey you!” That’s a voice I’d recognize anywhere. She’s found me. But I guess when you spend the amount of time together that we do it isn’t that hard. Being seven feet tall doesn’t hurt either. She walks toward me and gives me a long hug.
“I didn’t think this was your kind of thing.” she says. It isn’t, but because she is here I felt like I should be. “Special occasion,” is the best response I could come up with.
“And that is?” she replies with her eyes fixed on my chest.
“You’re here.” She looked up at me, phoenix brown eyes blazing through a winter white mask and smiled.
“God, that was a stupid thing to say.”
“It wasn’t, it wasn’t.” She’s trying to comfort me, but I’m aware when I say something stupid, because I get told it wasn’t stupid. I read this book once, Mystery’s Guide To Love and it said you should make a girl work for compliments. It feels rude to treat Bandage like some normal girl. I never listen to the book. I never get laid.
Bandage wonders over to a table and removes her shoes and bag.
“Watch my stuff?” she says, as if I wouldn’t.
“Sure, you’re covered.”
“I appreciate you.” She smiles and is off to the dance floor. She’s a wonder to watch move, like when water moves the ocean or when the snow is falling at just the right speed, it’s a thing of beauty. A perfect sunset, a night sky full of stars, a tap on my shoulder… a tap on my shoulder takes me away from fantasy. It’s Sabrina. I figured we were still not on speaking terms. Christ what does she want?
“Hey, David. How’s it going? Didn’t think you came to these kinds of things.” That’s a nice way of saying what are you doing here. I was honestly wondering the same thing. I shouldn’t answer.
“I came with somebody.” Damn, I answered. I always answer.
“Why do you care?” She looked at me like I mentioned her mother wrong, turned and walked away letting that blonde sea of hair splash me on her way out. A typical Sabrina reaction, but I can’t say I was surprised. Even though we haven’t had a real conversation in months, she had a knack for making good points. I did say I was finished with Bandage, I should be, but I don’t have the heart to move on. Being pathetic is something I’ve become accustomed to.
I stared out of the one window her dorm room had. It was beautiful out. Ohio has always had odd weather, but it was just 70 yesterday. Now it was snows time to shine. Even though it was late, the snow was bright enough to add a faint glow to the room. There’s movement. I feel the bed begin to move as her hand slides across to touch mine.
“You should just stay over. It’s a blizzard out there.” She was right, it was a storm out. Freezing rain painted the windows and the world was white as far as the eye could see.
“You only have one bed.”
“We can share.”
“I can walk.” Smoooooooth. I’ve always had a way with words. She looks at me, holding my hand, then looks out the window.
“Look outside David. It’s not nearly as friendly out there as it is in here.” She’s looking at me again. “I know you can make it, you can do anything. But I’m alone for the weekend and I want you to keep me company. Isn’t that what friends are for?” she finishes, smiling.
“Yeah.” I smile back and take her hand into mine, feeling the need to pull her close. “This is what friends are for.”
Bandage wonders back with sweat slipping off her head, talking left and right and smiling with friends in her arms and glitter shining everywhere. Immediately I recognized these people, masks and all. One was constantly pumping her fist in the air, shouting to everyone around but only looking forward. One of her legs was dragging across the floor, but she was tall enough to look like she was standing straight, dwarfing the size of both Bandage and the girl beside her. Her name was Beth…. or Liz. Whatever. The other girl was the smallest of the two, blonde hair, a red hot mask and blue eyes like, um….. Liz. She went by the name of Marie and appeared to be screaming something, but I couldn’t hear her over the sound of the other one. Bandage looks at me.
“Having fun?!” Bandage asks,
“I am!” the taller girl answers for me. “Whoo!”
Christ, this is obnoxious, but as long as it makes Bandage happy, the very least I can do is pretend.
“Yeah I’m having fun, watching. You’re tearing it up out there!” Tearing it up? I easily hate 75% of what comes out of my mouth.
She giggles, “Heck yeah! You should come out and dance with us!”
“WHOO!” that girl, Beth, shouts again. I’m doing the best I can to hide my annoyance.
“I’m not much of a dancer.”
“Then why’d you come out?” Marie says, quickly putting me in the spotlight. All eyes seemed to be on me and I swear you could hear a damn dog whistle in the room.
“I, um….” Come on. I can do this. They’re still staring.
“Well, because…” Please don’t let me say because of Bandage. Not in front of her friends.
“Bandage said it would be pretty sweet and she wanted to come so…”
“I KNEW IT!! YOU ARE SOOO OBSESSED WITH HER!” That loud girl just loved to make things more awkward. I immediately felt heat rushing to my face, nearly mirroring Bandage, seconds later I could feel Sabrina staring. Marie and Beth started to laugh and Bandage formed a smile as to not make me feel awkward. Too late. Much too late. Some dance song starts to fill the room and the silence escapes.
“We’ll be back!” Bandage says as she turns the girls around and walks toward the floor. Marie winks at me, Beth shouts again.
“Damnit.” I had no need to say that out loud, but I have trouble containing things sometimes. I place my hands over my face, covering my eyes for a moment, wishing the world couldn’t see me either. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Her lips pressed against mine, transferring her energy into my body. With how cold it looked outside her window, this kind of warmth was welcome. I slid my hand down her back stopping at the small of it. She looked down at me, smiling, obviously the happiest she’s been in a long time, but I won’t lie, I’m pretty happy too. She raises up, resting on my lap and begins pulling her shirt over her head. I know what’s about to happen. For some reason, I don’t think she does. This can’t be the first time she’s done something like this, but I can taste hesitation on her lips. I want to say something….. I need to. But I’m lost in the moment. I hear nothing but rain lightly tapping the windows and snow softly landing against the ground. The only sound in the room is her shirt hitting the floor and her breath, panting at the same rate that I am. She lowers herself to my mouth and my hands automatic slide down her skin to unbutton her pants.
I lift my hands from my face and I see Sabrina standing beside me.
“David.” she says in an attempt to speak softly, “we should talk. We need to talk. Like forreal.”
Like forreal? Means she meant it. She was at least trying to be nice, so I might as well get this over with.
“About Bandage? Look Sabrina, I know you don’t like her, but I do okay?” My voice is shaking.
“Listen.” She completely ignored what I said. “There’s a party after the dance. You should come.”
“I don’t do the party thing.” My answer to about anything that involves people.
“Bandage will be there.” My ears perk up like somebody putting food in my bowl.
“And probably smashed. Who knows? You may get lucky.”
I do never get laid. But this seems fishy. It’s common knowledge that Sabrina doesn’t like me. It’s even more common knowledge that she hates Bandage. My Spider Sense is definitely tingling.
“I’ll see what she wants to do.” And with that Sabrina walks away. I look out on the dance floor and see Beth, Bandage and Marie out dancing with some random guys. Bandage really looks like she’s enjoying herself. I feel like I’m turning red. Did somebody turn the heat up? I’m sweating, having the feeling of anger running through me. No, nerves. Jealousy? I spend so much time debating what’s going on that I don’t notice her approaching my table again. This time with guys in her arms.
“David!” Her face is flushed. “This is Eric and this is…Brandon! We we’re dancing!” I don’t really care, but I extend my arm anyhow to be polite.
“Nice to meet you guys.”
She smiles and giggles a little. I hear Beth shouting above everyone else in the room.
“Listen David, I know you aren’t into the party scene too much but, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY COME TO THIS PARTY!” She’s been drinking. I hate when Bandage drinks, but I should probably go to this.
“I’ll be there!”
“WHOO!” Beth again. Damn, I hope I don’t hear a lot more of that. Bandage starts to pick up her things, “I’m gonna ride over with these two gentlemen. Meet you there, Davy!” That name was only okay when she said it. I notice the music begin to quiet down and people start to funnel out into the halls. I get light headed, how I long have I been sitting? And I begin to walk toward the door.
The snow and rain seems to have stopped, as the only noise I can hear now is the sound of her breath. She’s laying right beside me, panting, smiling with her eyes closed but with her face in the direction of the ceiling. She turns to face me.
“David. That was…… unexpected.”
She giggles. Is that a compliment?
“Is that a compliment?” I ask awkwardly. She looks up again.
“Yeah, it is.” She turns and starts kissing me on the neck. I turn to ask her ,
“So what’s next?” she looks perplexed, like I just asked the most difficult question in the world. “I mean, if we were willing to go this far, we must like each other right? I mean, I like you.”
She was unprepared for that. She’s quiet for a moment now, struggling for something to say.
“I like you too Davy. But I’m really not looking for anything right now.”
“What do you mean? I mean, it felt right. This feels right. What’s wrong?”
She turns her body away from me, facing the wall instead of my face.
“We just, shouldn’t have done this. I’m sorry.” My heart drops. I’ve never felt like this. The only thing I can think to say is the first thing that comes to mind.
“I love you.”
She quickly turns to face me.
“David.” She says “I’m sorry. I just want to be friends for now, okay?”
She turns away from me and I turn to face the door. It’s a lot less friendly in here than I ever thought it would be.
After a long, awkward car ride with Beth and Marie, we’ve finally arrived at this party. All the lights were out and black lights were on, giving everyone’s clothes that same neon glow that the dance had before this. The room seemed small, too small to hold all of the people who were managing to funnel in through the single door. Although it was dark, foreign, it seemed familiar. There only seemed to be one window, but it was covered, only letting the smallest bit of light shine through.
“You’ve made it!” Bandage instantly approached me, two cups in hand. She didn’t miss a beat. “This one’s for you!” she says, shoving the blue plastic cup in my face. “I know you don’t normally do things like this but, special occasion right?” she smiles as I take the cup from hand.
“What’s in this?”
“You’ll find out!” she says and against better judgment I take a sip.
“IT’S GOOD ISN’T IT!?” Beth seems to have only gotten louder. Twenty people in a room and she still manages to drown them all out. I nod and walk over to the bed to take a seat. On my left, I see Sabrina sitting down. Everyone else in the room is up and about, making drinks, dancing to music and they’ve even managed to make a little table for pong. Beth is staggering about, still drinking, but looks as she’s about to fall over any minute. Marie is really flirty, talking to what-his-face and whoever-he-is and nearly every guy at the party even stopping to make passes at me sometimes. Bandage is just as flirty and nearly as drunk as Beth is. Everything is moving so fast but so slow at the same time. I glance downward and notice my cup is empty and that Sabrina has managed to creep toward my side of the bed to make room for others to take a seat. She’s really close to me now. We haven’t said a word to each other since we’ve been sitting here, but we keep making eye contact. Her blue eyes are glazed, but I’m guessing mine are too. We break eye contact just in time to see Bandage making out with some guy and the room cheers like she just won an award. As much as I hate this, I’d love to be that guy.
“That’s gross.” Sabrina finally says, breaking our own personal silence.
“Agreed.” Is my reply, and then slip back into the quiet for a couple moments watch the party again.
“So, um. What did you want to talk about at the dance?” I don’t know why I asked. This couldn’t be good. She looks at me for a moment, than looks away focusing her gaze on the center of the floor. I hear knocking. I must be getting a headache.
“Her.” She says, nodding in Bandage’s direction. “You just… you shouldn’t…”
“She’s a slut David. You saw what she just did.” I wish I hadn’t.
“She’s drunk, it’s a party. It happens.” God, I wish I believed that.
“You don’t believe that.” Good call Sabrina. “How many other times have you used that as an excuse? How many times has it been true? Do you know why they call her Bandage?” She says, looking directly at me now. I’ve heard stories about the name. Stories that she breaks hearts or hurts people, but I don’t think it’s true. I think it just means she’s been hurt before.
“No, but it isn’t important. Why are we about to fight?”
“We don’t have to fight. I just…”
“You what Sabrina?”
“I care. You’re my friend. At least at some point you were my friend. I know girls like her, I don’t want you to get hurt.” She looks at me then away again. There is just silence, but the knocking is getting louder, my head is throbbing now.
“I’m sorry David.” She completely turns away from me, looking at the wall instead. “I just don’t know what to say.” Wow. This has been the longest conversation I’ve had with Sabrina in months. She looks upset. I place my hand onto hers. She looks at me and smiles slightly and it feels like it used to. I hear a really loud thump and it appears that Beth has passed out on the floor. Everybody cheers and screams and laughs and Marie sits by her face and starts fanning her. Bandage laughs and looks in my direction, causing me to remove my hand from Sabrina’s as easy as I had placed it. She got up from the bed and walked across the room to the door and immediately after opening it, was greeted by our good friends, the police.
“We’ve been knocking for about 20 minutes.” One of the officers said as he walked into the room. “Who’s room is this?” Sabrina steps backward from the door and raises her hand.
“Mine sir.” She doesn’t say another word as another officer wonders into the room. It has gotten completely silent.
“Who here is under aged?” Everyone in the room but me and Beth raised their hands.
“Now, who here has been drinking?”
Same, but this time no one raises their hands. I tilt my head back against the wall and shut my eyes tight, knowing what is about to happen and wishing it wouldn’t. I’ve reached a new low. I begin to feel a breeze and realize the once covered and closed window was now open… and that Bandage was gone. If I hurry maybe I can get out of here too. Being pathetic is something that had to change. The room was filled with noise again, people were yelling and screaming and I used the time to make a dash out toward the single window opposite the bedroom. My foot ended up catching on something that felt like…. Beth. Even unconscious she manages to ruin things and send me sailing head first out of a surprisingly high second floor dorm room. I’m positive that if the snow wasn’t here, I’d of broken every bone in my body. Bandage was sitting on a bench across from the dorm, alone. I dust the snow off of my body and wander over to the bench.
“It’s been a crazy night huh?” she turns and says to me as soon as I sit down. “We’re still a little close to all of the action aren’t we, Davy? Let’s take a walk.” She smiles and grabs my hand leading me along the near frozen path that was clear just a day ago.
“How’s Sabrina?” she turns and says to me.
“We broke up. Well, she broke up with me.”
“Oh wow.” Bandage replied. “Why?”
“ The fighting was just too much, we couldn’t even speak to each other the last two months. She just thought we couldn’t fix it.”
“Two months is a long time not to talk.” And six months is a long time not to love.
“Yeah, it is.”
“Well, out with the old in with the new right?” Bandage smiling said, struggling to stay on the path.
“Yeah, I guess so.” I smiled back and helped her to try and stay on the road. Even drunk Bandage is much cooler when we’re alone. I turn to ask her,
“Where exactly are we going?”
“Back to my room.” She replied, “This snow is getting worse and I don’t want to be out here much longer.”
“You’re right, it’s starting to look like a blizzard out here.” We walk along the snowy path and it takes us a few minutes to get to the door of the dorm. I’m worried about Sabrina. I should go back and see what happened, maybe we can work things out this time. Maybe they’ll be okay. Maybe we’ll…
“Thanks for walking me back! Come in, warm up for a bit!” the door unlocks and she pulls me inside.
“I really should…”
My roommate is never here on the weekends. So go ahead and make yourself at home! Just don’t touch her stuff or her bed, she’s a freak.” She says giggling.
I take my coat off and walk to sit on the bed. I look at Bandage as she comes over to join me. When’s the last time we’ve been alone? Maybe I shouldn’t worry about Sabrina anymore, maybe… maybe this is a sign. Caught in a snowstorm with Bandage, maybe we could talk and work things out. This could be the beginning of something new for us. I stared out of the one window her dorm room had. It was beautiful out. Ohio has always had odd weather, but it was just 70 yesterday. Now it was snows time to shine. Even though it was late, the snow was bright enough to add a faint glow to the room. There’s movement. I feel the bed begin to move as her hand slides across to touch mine.