Monster in His Eyes(6)

By: J. M. Darhower

I have quite a bit more ass and thighs, but she scoffs when I bring that up, like I'm bragging. Melody is downright gorgeous, sleek blonde hair and unnaturally green eyes. She looks like she belongs on a Victoria's Secret catwalk.

When she doesn't look like Neon Barbie, that is.

She pulls out clothes and flings them across the room at me. I grimace. Spandex. "You're just prepared for everything, aren't you?"

"You have to be," she says, turning her focus back to the mirror again. "You never know what life with throw at you."

Those words take me back an hour, to the hunk of man I'd encountered at the philosophy classroom. I don't mention it to Melody. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was nothing.

Or maybe because I wish it could have been something.

Either way, I keep it locked in my head, sealed inside of me, where it's only mine. Talking about it meant rationalizing it, when I prefer to let it simmer instead.

The reality is never as fascinating as the fantasy.

Hours later I'm standing in front of the mirror, the skintight black spandex bodysuit making me feel like sausage squeezed into the casing. Over top of it I'm wearing an oversize hot pink shirt, falling off one shoulder, the outfit complete with a pair of blue leg warmers. It might've passed for gym attire had I not been wearing pointy black high heels, my wavy brown hair teased to unfathomable heights, my face covered in makeup.

"I look like bozo the clown," I whine, gazing at my reflection in the mirror. Bright blue eye shadow and hot pink lipstick does not go well together, no matter what Cyndi Lauper might've thought back in 1983.

"You look hot," Melody says, smacking my ass as she struts past, heading for the door. She has changed again, for probably the fifth time, settling on what looks like a frilly blue prom dress. "Come on, the party awaits!"

I grab my things, stuffing it all in my bra since I have no pockets, and head out after Melody before I have time to change my mind. Timbers is just down the block from the dorms, a few minute stagger home at four in the morning. It's dark out now, the air starting to cool from the sun going down, the more typical March temperature creeping it. It doesn't seem to faze Melody, but I shiver.

My footsteps stall. "I should grab my scarf."

"Puh-lease," Melody says, slipping her arm around mine to yank me on. "It doesn't go with that outfit."

"Nothing goes with this outfit," I point out.

She laughs, casting me an amusing look as we stroll down the street. Music pours out of the door of Timbers, already alive with activity at a quarter after nine. We get in line, waiting along the grungy brick building as Melody fluffs her hair, fixing the gigantic bow she's using as a headband. When it's our turn, I pull my ID out of my bra and hand it over to the bouncer at the door, a big burly guy with a thick Long Island accent. He glances at it, and looks at me, before handing it back over.

As I slip it back to safekeeping, the man pulls out a permanent marker and yanks off the cap with his teeth. The noxious fumes burn my nostrils as he waves it my way, and I hold my hands out so he can mark big black X's on my skin.

I glare at them as I step aside.

Melody, on the other hand, gets a lime green wristband. She smiles, holding it up to show it off to me. She's only nineteen, not much older than I am, but her fake ID puts her at the ripe ol' age of twenty-one.

I stick my tongue out at her as she laughs, slipping her arm around mine again and dragging me inside. The bar is decked out in an array of eighties memorabilia, movie posters affixed to the walls as The Breakfast Club plays muted on a giant television.

We make our way to the dance floor, where New Kids on the Block bumps from the speakers. We get lost in a sea of color, crimped hair and leather jackets, surrounded by wannabe pop princesses and douchebags in black sunglasses.

The music shifts and continues as we infuse ourselves into the crowd to dance. From Vanilla Ice to MC Hammer, Madonna to Poison, the bass flows through my veins like blood, spiked with adrenaline as the lyrics wash over me, shouted out enthusiastically from the overeager not-born-in-the-eighties-but-fuck-if-we-don't-still-love-it college crowd. It's like stepping back in time, back into another decade, and leaving our imprint in a moment we never got to touch before.