I apologize that the second installment of this series has been delayed a week! Nevertheless, here is the second publication. If you haven’t already, read the first one here!
The night was brisk but warm enough to walk without a coat. I crossed my arms over my chest as I walked down the vacant street with my friends, all of us expecting one last night to cut loose before the summer.
I heard the base boom from the basement as we approached the house. Two people that stood on the front porch nodded at us as we made our way up the driveway.
We walked down the stairs into the basement, the music and flashing lights washing over us.
“Let’s grab a drink,” one of my friends said. We all grabbed cups of beer from the bar and then shimmied over to the dance floor, my friend crooning the words to a Rihanna song into my ear. As we approached the center of the dance floor, I noticed the cute, Latina girl from my sexualities class. The one with the female symbol tattooed on her ring finger.
She was chatting with a couple people in the corner of the room, a half-empty beer in her hand. Her head fell back as she laughed, her mouth wide open and eyes closed. I confidently strode up to her, leaving my friends behind.
“Hey, Ronnie!” I called to her over the blaring music.
When she noticed me, her face lit up and she grinned. “Oh my god, heyyyy!” She pulled me into a one-armed hug, her hand lingering on my lower back when we pulled away. “How are you?”
“Good! I didn’t know you came here,” I said.
“Oh yeah, I do once in awhile,” Ronnie replied. “What about you?”
“I’m always here,” I confessed. “It’s always fun.”
“Yeah, I’ve had fun here the couple of times I came. There are some people from class here!” Then she pulled her hand away from my back and pointed to the friends she was talking to before. “These are some of my friends. This is Barbara, Freddie…”
I nodded, smiling like I cared about who her friends were when I only cared about her.
When she finished introducing her friends, she pointed to me and said, “This is my friend from class, uh…shit, I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” she looked at me apologetically.
I stared at her for a moment, dumbfounded. “Victoria,” I muttered disappointedly. How could she not know my name? We talk all the time before, during, and after class! The professor always calls my name because I always raise my hand!
“Wow, Ronnie. You’re friends, but you don’t even know her name?” Freddie chastized.
“I’m sorry, I suck,” Ronnie said to me.
I shrugged, feigning indifference. “Do you want to dance?” I asked, changing the subject.
“Not right now, but maybe later. Find me,” she winked at me. I nodded, waved to her friends “goodbye,” and lumbered away.
I found my friends dancing in the usual circle formation, all of them facing each other. One of my friends referred to our dancing in a circular shape as a “bubble,” which warded off intruders such as creepy, thirsty boys that broke off chunks of the wall to gift women. Or creepy, thirsty pirate boys that insist you dance with them and then nonconsensually kiss you. Or creepy, thirsty boys that want you so bad but you reject them and then they find another girl, but they call her your name and the girl gets mad and leaves the creepy thirsty boy. These are all true experiences, unfortunately.
“So how’d it goooo?” my friend Marisa sang to me when I joined the bubble.
“We’ve been talking all semester, but she didn’t know my name,” I complained, hanging my head low.
She raised her eyebrows. “That’s weird.”
“I know. It’s not like my professor calls my name a million times in class or anything,” I reply sarcastically. “It’s disappointing.”
Marisa put her hand on my shoulder empathetically. “Forget about her. Let’s just dance and have fun.”
And we did dance and have fun. I had too many beers and my friends had too little. I waved my arms animatedly in the air during every song and confidently yelled, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!” to every creepy, thirsty boy that approached me that night.
I also kept glancing to the corner of the room where Ronnie hung out. I watched her drink more, dance more, sing more, and kiss more than one person at the same time. We never did any of those things together, though.
Around 1am we left the party. When we went outside, I saw Ronnie smoking a cigarette, talking to her friends. She didn’t notice me, and I pretended not to notice her. There will be other romantic interests in my life.
© 2015 Vic Romero