This is who you are right now. You are not lonely, but you are alone, physically. You spend your nights by yourself in your quiet room with your quiet thoughts. You spend your days waking up late and not regretting the wasted hours. You go to work and think about going out. You go out and think about coming home. When you are home, you think about going to work. You drink wine out of coffee cups and smoke too many cigarettes. You cut your hair too short and you fall in love too easily. You are trying to find the secrets inside yourself.
Though you have become accustomed to this unfortunate cycle you continue to crave the company of others. You think, “This isn’t getting me anywhere. Someone else can try their luck”. And so, right now, you are at a party. The sort you go to after you have graduated college, and a couple of your friends are married, but no one has any children. At least not yet. You do not own a house. You cannot afford to buy anything. You try to pretend that your education has bankrupted you but, in reality, you are just doing a bad job at being an adult. You like to believe that everyone else is as well.
You should not know everyone at a party. Parties should possess an air of mystery, excitement. But here you are, wearing these clothes, with this hair, and these eyes, and you think that no one notices you. And why would they? You are flanked by two beautiful blondes from your 10th grade European History class, with legs for days, their matching frocks floating around their knees. You are such a little thing, next to them. For a moment you wish you could fold your heart up tight and slip it into your pocket with your loose change. That way you would not have room for feeling obsolete.
But you have discovered other avenues for self-validation. Writing song lyrics. Stealing library books. Leaving scrawled notes at places where you have spent the night. In this case, it was an unguarded bottle of champagne. You never quite understood it, but you secretly loved the subtle vulgarity of drinking from the bottle. The way the glass neck dangles from your clenched fist, the shocked stares of people who automatically, and absurdly, conclude that you are an alcoholic. You drift through the kitchen and into the backyard, Veuve Clicquot in hand, and resume your rightful place as the token introvert. You think that no one notices you. But you are wrong.
A boy waltzes over to you from across the grass. He seems not to have a care in the world in his immaculately tailored suit and pristine pair of Oxfords. He stands casually next to you, hands in his pockets, dark eyes flicking between the party and your face. You feel his gaze but refuse to acknowledge it. There is something to be said for barricades and fortresses, and you pride yours on being higher and stronger than most. However, there is also something to be said about the power of curiosity, and it is for this reason that you finally meet his eyes, eyes that said, “I will wait for you, but don’t take forever”.
You realize that you know him in a nondescript way. A friend of a friend. You hold out the bottle in your hand, a peace offering, and he takes it gingerly. After a sweep of the house, neither of you can seem to locate a corkscrew. It is not funny, but he makes it that way. “Socializing is easier when you don’t think about it so much,” he said. You ask for the bottle back, as though you know some alternative and impressive method for opening these things. Then, without thinking (as per his instructions), you take it and break the neck over the edge of the stairs in the backyard. Just like that. The boy stands there for a moment, horrified.
You are so stunned by your own negligent behavior that you do not know what to say. You stand there, mute, clutching the decapitated bottle, hand soaked and sticky from wasted champagne. You expect him to walk away then, but he does not. Instead, slowly, he begins to laugh. Soft at first, then building to a booming crescendo, hands clutching his sides. He drapes his warm arm around your shoulders and looks at you with unchecked tears in his eyes. He looks at you, not through you, as though he can see all of those secrets you have been trying so desperately to find. And in that moment you realize that you know next to nothing about yourself, and the way that things are supposed to be. But this is who you are. This is who you are right now.