Cheap Perfume

25 of October

Tonight feels awfully familiar. A chokehold of perfume permeates my stomach and it all drowns in an unusual amount of acid, enzymes, and acid coming up my throat from my anticipation of the night. My head aches and my mind is buzzed on the chances of Camila’s quinceanera, and I am decked out in a tight dress and dripping jewelry and maybe even some beauty and the night is young. Playa nightlife is deep, and cretin, and sadistic, and I love it. The way the sky seems so luminous, so heavy, sagging in its place as if it wanted to touch the people, their mistakes, and their lives. I stepped outside with some friends under that unwavering, sexually charged sky that night, and one guy had a smoke and I breathed it like fire to my lungs and again innocence, childhood, adolescence, “parental faces on tall stalks”, vanished with the dirty, prickling, satanist necessity. I don’t want to smoke ever- it’s a compromising act, a filthy act, of unawareness and no glamour like I portray in my drawings. If I were dizzy then off that smoke, then dizziness like that is a sin. But I’ve been dizzy- faint- with adrenaline and people and too much perfume so many times, what is wrong with this time? That charring aroma of a cigarette does linger, and I want no part of it.

Camila’s quinceanera was sweet and innocent, other than the quick smoke one guy had outside, and innocence is something I know the kids here, and even I, could use more often. No alcohol was served to the kids like at Alma’s party, where everyone had a cuba in their hand. The venue is called Mot & Mot, and is a garden of sorts for events down a long dirt street with streetlights framing it that are never turned on. Maybe the man who works the electricity just didn’t feel like turning it on for those pitch black streets, since barely anyone cruises it anyway. The setup of the party was this: a large mirror turned dance floor was erected under the palapa in the garden, and sleek white couches and tables fluttered about the edges of the DJ’s turntables and the dance floor; in the garden space, barstools and tall, skinny tables shied away from the glitzing lasers that bounced off the mirrors in palapa. Many cousins and tios and tias and people of such relations to Camila poured in the doors to the dining hall, where beautifully set tables in shades of black and white filled the room, where bubbling champagne glasses clinked, and meticulously crafted cakes and delicacies sat, plump, at the head of the room. The birthday girl herself didn’t make an entrance until long after her guests had all arrived, in order to command the party’s attention, I’m assuming. The party finally began when the hostess entered,a party which was simply put, dancing and talking, periodically interrupted by toasts and the wedding-like cutting of the largest cake and the unveiling of the main course. I, meanwhile, was in a heated debate about something or other with a group of guys, until traditional Spanish music came blaring on, and I absolutely couldn’t miss the opportunity to dance. I left the table of boys to their devices and approached a group of Camila’s cousins, who looked like they knew what they were doing on the dance floor in the Mexican music department. I introduced myself and kissed around the circle in greeting, then we got down to the dancing part of our short interaction. After a couple songs, I collapsed onto the couch, ready to rest and talk for the rest of the night, since my feet were killing me, but boy after boy found it necessary to pick me up and teach each and every different kind of Mexican dance. I wasn’t enthusiastic about that at all, but I withheld all the sarcastic remarks that popped into my head that would halt my dancing lessons. It was a party, after all, I told myself. Maia, lighten up a bit sometime! Papa picked me up at 11:45, although the party went until one, but I had a nice time chilling out a party that wasn’t scarred by fantasies of sex, drunken fifteen year-olds, and the lips of weed. I also learned at the party, through conversation, about a soccer event at Tepeyak I absolutely couldn’t- couldn’t- miss the next day at nine o’clock. I was glad that I got home at twelve-ish: I made it to sleep around one thirty so I’d be able to wake up for the soccer thing, whatever it was, the next morning. Wish me luck- I know I have to impress to support my feminist position tomorrow and prove that girls can be as good as boys at sports.

A last thought to leave you with, I loved this party more than Alma’s, even though everyone protested Alma’s was better because she served alcohol. I loved it more because I’m no longer wondering aimlessly in a sea of people, questioning myself and asking, ‘Why do you go to parties? Why do you do things like this? Are you even having fun- that laugh sounded rather fake. Is commanding attention the only thing you care about?’ I have my family now, my class, and I have a purpose and am drawing nearer and nearer to the brothers and sisters that I’ll never, ever, forget. That’s why I loved Camila’s party- and besides, I can have a rad time without alcohol.

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