Is It Worth It?

“It’ll cost you a kiss.”

“Just to get inside?” The girl in front of me laughs.

“Uh, huh,” he says and pulls her to him for a sloppy one.

But to me he asks, “Why are you here? You don’t drink.”

I don’t? How does he know what I do or don’t do, have I ever, even, talked to him? But he moves aside to let me into the steamy house filled with voices, laughter, and thumping music.

Someone stumbles past trying to get down a hallway. People snicker as he bounces off one wall then the other. I don’t think it’s funny. I think it’s kinda sad.

And because I feel pity for the guy, not humor, I’m reminded maybe that doorman was right. Maybe I shouldn’t be here. But I wanted to see if the Monday morning hallway stories were true.

I look around the room at the clusters of kids and realize getting outside the box I’m in is bigger than this one party, and moving beyond the label that sticks to me tightly would take a major event. Like the girl who partied so hard the resulting hours of sickness caused the fine blood vessels to rupture in her eyes and she walked around looking like a demon for a week after. I’m pretty sure after that she moved into the party crowd.

Or the girl, who, after some Friday night gained the nickname hurricane, because she blew so hard. She wore the easy label after that and never worried about a date again.

Me, I just want to be seen. I want someone to look beyond the label and get to know me. But I wonder if that could happen without some noteworthy action on my part. Some big scene or outrageous event that shatters the box that surrounds me.

I look around the room at the tight clusters of kids, drinks in hand, shouting to be heard above the music. At the couples sitting close on the couch or pressed tightly together against the wall and realize if that’s what it takes for these people to see me it’s not going to happen.

Someone, someday will want to get to know the real me, just because I’m me. As for tonight, I walk past the doorman who’s kissing yet another new arrival, and I return to my car.

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