Rack City (You Know What Comes Next)

Could've Been The Life Of The Party
Could’ve Been The Life Of The Party

Saturday

31 of August

Ohh, where to begin? Savory sleep isn’t going to overcome me anytime soon and relieve me of this pain, so here goes the story of today, as best as I can relate to you.

This morning was the first day we took the streets to school, and it was a wonderful time. Walking in the dawn of the day is rejuvenating, fresh, and I love it. School went well- I played soccer in a dress and passed around a football. It was another beautiful day in paradise it seemed, and after school I planned on moseying down to the beach with Daisy, Lily, and some other prepa kids, including Talon. When I arrived home, I broached the subject with Mum, who retorted that Emery, Raya, and Aja were coming over at four, but- I thought she said- that it was okay to hang out at the beach for a while. I called Daisy and relayed the information to her, then skipped downstairs and told Mum about the conversation. “I didn’t say you could go to the beach,” she responded. I was confused and explained that she had just told me I could go to the beach, but she insisted those weren’t her words. Frustrated, I stomped over to the computer and plopped down, bored, and slightly annoyed at being trapped inside. And just my luck, as I was still pouting, wanting ever so dearly to just once have an easy time getting together with friends, Emery and the girls arrived at the house. Emery and her daughters are both beautiful and sociable- I cannot wait to see them again; Emery sounds just like my party-er cousin Kristine and is an absolute hoot. After our guests settled in, I spoke to Mum about the beach again- what should I tell Daisy and Lily? They’d be so disappointed I couldn’t make it to the little get together. Mum budged a little and said I could go at five, in an hour. I raced back up to my room and jubilantly, and with some trouble- my Mexican phone is a nokia- texted Daisy, who responded that the group probably wouldn’t be at the beach at that time, and to see if I could crash at their house for the night instead. By some miracle, sleeping over at the Larsons’ house was alright with Mum, so I packed my things: toothbrush, pajamas, strapless black mini, a bikini, and some decoy clothes to cover the black dress. On my way out I grabbed my IPhone and my Mexican phone, the Nokia.

Emery, Raya, and Aja went out to Quinta with us for supper, laughing and talking and wondering where on earth we would eat. Finally we settled on the restaurant we ate at the night before Papa left, the one almost right across the street from the Larsons’ flat. We socialized over Mexican food until after 8:30, when a pretty, young, black woman, about 27, joined us. Her name is Elle, and she has traveled the world, making exquisite jewelry to support her modest lifestyle. She is going to hook me up with art connections around Playa and a special event that happens on Quinta every Thursday night- local artists set up their work in the middle of the street to sell. We wrapped up supper with me bugging Mum to leave to go to Daisy’s. She finally must’ve gotten tired of it, because she said,”Ok, go then, and I’ll meet you there.” I kissed everyone around the table goodbye and walked the short route to the Larsons’. When I rang, they were concluding their meal, so I sat with them and bantered back and forth about all kinds of subjects. It was a lovely time, and soon Mum and the whole brood arrived. They hung out and talked for a bit, then Mum kissed me goodbye and my family disappeared down the stairs. Daisy, Lily, and I retreated to their room where we chatted and listened to music. After fifteen minutes maybe, we started getting ready to go out, an event I had previously suspected, but wasn’t sure was happening. I knew Mum wouldn’t approve, but the girls had a few parties they sounded excited about, so I didn’t want to be the burden and weight that dragged down their night. Besides, parties are fun. Dais wore a green shirt I helped her pick out and some small jean shorts with some combat boots. Lily, after much debate, settled on a dark navy tube top, dark shorts, and her sister’s tall black boots. I snaked Lily’s small, studded jean shorts and Daisy’s black tan top. After the outfits were straightened out, I straightened Lily’s kinky hair while we watched crime shows and battered around stray thoughts and stories about the day. Lastly, we spritzed finishing touches of makeup and perfume, and strutted out into the front room feeling rather fabulous. I looked high- my eyes were red and I was exhausted, Daisy looked like she was ready to drop and curl up on the floor, and Lily’s sunburnt face contributed to her tired completion. We were glamorous and spontaneous and I felt so ready for the freedom of the night. But, Mum. Daisy put a paper wristband on me and we turned to Dana, their mom, to inspect us. “You girls look amazing,” she breathed, and then we were off. As I tromped down the stairs of their flat in my big Dr. Martens, I reflected on the consequences of the night, my deceptions, and especially how Mum would never let me out at this time; it was after eleven. To my credit, going out like Daisy and Lily wanted wasn’t exactly how I planned the sleepover to go. All these conflicting thoughts ran through my brain and I felt how a schizophrenic must feel- one side of me was rebellious and young and mature beyond my measley fourteen; but the other part of me knew the consequences of my actions, the continuing snowball of deceptions, and then I knew I couldn’t hurt Mum in the way I was going to if I went out. It seemed utterly inappropriate to call her when the girls and I were hyped to be released into the night, but I guess the forty year old in me told me to do it, that the circumstances would be better if I told her about them as they happened instead of Mum finding out about them later on. I dialed her number.

I am sad though, to know for the rest of my life that I didn’t stand under that great midnight bowl of the night life of Playa before giving up the surely short-lived freedoms I had cooked up for myself. In all, I didn’t even make it out of the front gate of the Larsons’ complex before calling Mum and surrendering my freedom to the mercy of my Mum. There is never any hindsight for me, I always understand the rights and wrongs of a situation while it is happening, and I knew that calling was the right thing to do to save the relationship I have with Mum. It’s just that, couldn’t I have enjoyed two seconds of being fully free first? With Mum not knowing where I was and what I was previously going through with? No, I gave it up. Lily bought an energy we sipped on and smoked a cigarette as we sat on the curb by her father’s restaurant a eleven thirty pm while I talked to Mum, trying to maximize the potential of me staying out. I got off the phone with her, but unfortunately there was another thing I hadn’t anticipated about the night: she wasn’t the mad kind of disappointed in me, Mum was the sad kind of disappointed. She spoke quietly and said she didn’t understand me as I fed her information to get her up to speed on the situation. She hung up, leaving me to be careful and cautious in the gambling, effervescent night. That was when I felt an uneasy, distrusting sense of freedom that I didn’t get the chance  to distinguish before Mum called me back to tell me she was coming to pick me up. The two of us came to the conclusion that I would walk back to the Larsons’ house, gather my things, and walk to 32nd street, where she would gather me. The girls walked me to 32nd and I felt so terrible for wasting their night away and causing so much stress in their plans. Lily put her arm around me and said that no one understood what I was going through better than her and Dais.

Mum retrieved me from Lily and Daisy on 32nd, as planned, I kissed them goodnight, and proceeded to pace down Quinta home to 44th street. I did not speak, only to say that I was listening when Mum asked if I was giving her the silent treatment. She said it was right of me to call her, and like on the phone, she also said I was under severe restriction. I stared at the bowl of a night sky that trapped even the most precocious people under its hot night life and held my chin high in an effort to maintain an attitude of indifference. With each step on the swept cobblestone street, I could feel my freedoms slipping away from my hands. Mum unlocked the front gate, and then the front door, and I was back in the cage. Daisy had said in her room earlier that night, “Maia’s first night out! I’ll always remember my first night, and you’ll remember yours perfectly too.” Yes, Daisy, I thought sarcastically to myself, I will remember this time. I deftly took the stairs two at a time and collapsed, fully clothed, on my bed. I sat up after a while of debating whether it was worth it to take off my boots, removed them, and began to quietly sob. I sat and lay and stared, but my puffy, red eyes could not close. So I finally grabbed my phone, at one am, to record the dramatic, and comically uneventful events of My First Night Out.

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