Her eyes felt like cigarettes, weighing on my lungs with every inhale. Her voice was like smoke, thick and muffled in the dark bar. “One day you’ll be like us,” she kept saying. “One day you’ll understand.”
Maybe it was her intense gaze, maybe it was the gin in my system, but I could not wrap my thoughts around the optimism of her statement. She seemed to speak of this promising Utopia, where all things connect where they are supposed to connect, and painlessly break away whenever it was time.
She spoke so simply, as if I were a child; but to me it sounded so foreign and strange, like ancient tongues. As if she believed that if her deity favored me like she believed it did, I should understand.
“Why don’t you have a drink?” she taunted. She threw her head back and laughed, “you think I’m 21?”
I shrugged. Truth be told, I didn’t care how old she was, or about the lies she had been trying to feed me for the last twenty-five minutes. She seemed frustrated I was not lapping them up like a grateful dog, marveling at her wisdom.
“Nineteen, baby. Girls like us…well, you understand. We do what we want, and society lets us, and loves us for it. One day you’ll understand.”
This is what I could not wrap my mind around. The only interesting thing about thing about this girl was she was accompanied by interesting people. She was not captivating and addictive, like she tried so hard to seem; instead she was suffocating and harsh. She looked much older than nineteen. At a glance, she seemed attractive, but the longer I looked at her the more apparent the bags under her eyes became, and signs of prolonged drug and alcohol abuse became obvious with her stained teeth and bleached white skin that hugged her bones much too tightly.
Is this what I’m supposed to aspire to? To be an already washed-out nobody at nineteen, known by everyone in a bar that had seen its glory days thirty years prior? To live in the shadows of the wannabe rockstars and climb the almost non-existent social ladder using their fruitless fame?
Did I say any of this? No. Let her live in her misshapen Utopia. I do still question, however, do the bags under my eyes resemble hers? Was she so far off?