Late Night?

By: Grace Gurgett

It’s late.
I’m not asleep, though. I won’t fall asleep for awhile.

I’m sitting outside my house, savoring the autumn chill. Yellow lamps illuminate the scraps of pink and purple glitter stuck in the street and in my hair, making me the centerpiece of a very dull and gray landscape. Being the centerpiece of this street might not be a huge accomplishment, but it’s just perfect for the night.
The silence is calming. Everyone else is snuggled into their beds, in their houses, in the bland suburbia. I am a rebel. I am breaking out of their ideals with pink cheeks and diamond eyes.
They never would’ve guessed.

It’s late.
It’s really late.

But I don’t care because I’m on the highway now, racing through the navy night. Pushing seventy, then eighty, and finally resting at ninety. My best friend is beside me, the shimmering night air ruffling her hair as it flies through the window. She smiles radiantly and sings along to a lavender song that is pulses through the car speakers.
Yellow lamps flash by us, reminding me of the small suburbia that I’ll return to.
 Just not for a while.
We’re going so fast, but I’m really not in a hurry.
Because I have all the time in the world.
I’m fifteen. What’s there to lose?

It’s really late.
It’s so late that it’s early.

I’ve made it downtown. The bright buildings reflect colors across the watery streets and absorb their joy in my eyes. Each club we pass has a different color. A golden walking bass over a blue jazz melody, or a vibrant purple club song with dynamic people that match.
My best friend and I stop in a coffee shop because we’re much too young for the booming clubs.
I have time until twenty-one.
I can wait.
I don’t like coffee, but I order some anyway. It’s bitter on my tongue and the taste is as brown as the color. My best friend sweetens the harsh coffee with her sugary smile. We’re talking about boys and dreaming in the present. My boy is kind, yet doesn’t know what he wants; he’s fifteen, so it doesn’t matter. Hers is the opposite of mine, because he’s twenty and likes to drink on the weekends, but he lets her use his car, so she’ll stick with him for a while longer.
I tell her she’s too young, she’s practically a baby.
But she won’t listen.
I don’t know if she has time.

It’s so late that it’s early.
It’s so early that people are beginning to stumble home from their nights out.

Girls are holding on to each other and giggling. I compliment a girl’s boots even though they’re ugly, and she thanks me and kisses my cheek. I walk away with red lipstick covered cheeks, and traces of clear liquor lurking.
The city intoxicates me. I’ve always said that I wanted to live here, but I have never felt a yearning like I have during this rainbow night. I’m going to leave my boring suburb and live.
The world is so much bigger than I imagined.

It’s so early that the early risers are peeking over their balconies.
Their day is just beginning, while mine is coming to a close.

The wonder of a new day. New possibilities, new beginnings. Forget everything that happened to you yesterday, because you can fix it today.
I don’t wanna forget today.
I’m sitting at the top of a hotel. My feet dangle over the ledge, just hovering over the threshold death. A wrong move and I’m gone. I won’t make a wrong move. My phone speaker is playing my mom’s favorite song. An orange song. The entire city is orange, fading from when I painted it red. I hum along, and remember my small little suburbia that is so familiar to me. I am so big in my home and neighborhood, but in this giant city I am a single letter in a five minute long song.
I tell my best friend this. She grins at my tendency to be melancholy, and brings me back into reality with her grounding response.
The song wouldn’t be the same without that little letter, even if it is silent.
I want to be a booming letter. So long and powerful that it sends chills up people’s spines. The last “A” in “Mama.” The “E” in “Dream.” The haunting first note of the guitar riff in “How Soon Is Now?”
I ask my best friend if her boyfriend treats her how she treats me.
She doesn’t reply.
I didn’t expect her to.

It’s early enough for me to go home.

I’m sipping a milkshake much sweeter than my coffee from earlier. Glitter hangs on my skin and in my hair, and I have a feeling that it won’t wash away for a long time. My best friend is driving slower now. Just above the speed limit, trying to get home on time. The sun is shooting up from the horizon in pink and orange, interrupted by blue clouds.
I look behind me. The black of night barely melting into navy, and in front of me is the color of the music I had been hearing the entire night.
I breathe out for a long time, then wait a moment before sipping more air.
The city, full of heart shards, lipstick, and people trying to stay young forever is now behind me.
I’m fifteen, I’m barely a baby. I don’t need to dream about youth because I have it. I’m living it.
My little suburbia is growing closer. Maybe I want it that way right now.
The city will always be there. Constantly changing and growing, but the same people stuck inside.
I don’t need to think about the city right now, and I don’t need to think about my suburb.

Because I’m fifteen,
and I’ve got all the time in the world.

I’m living a charmed life.