Let That Girl Go

By: Emme Mackenzie

I weakly smile as she makes a joke. I forgot her name, but she doesn’t need to know that. Instead, I take a fake sip of whatever is in my cup; I don’t trust it. My dad taught me that trick. “See you,” she drawls, her hair brushing my face as she turns around. The girl now moves on to screaming with her friends and throwing up her hands. Once again, I’m alone in a room full of people. Ironic. That conversation was my lifeboat in a sea of bodies. I scan for another possible conversation, but the longer I search, it becomes harder to pick out familiar faces through the smoky air. It’s obvious that I’m indeed sinking. I’m basically the Titanic . . . except, no one has died . . . yet. 

If I were to die here at this party, it would be the mob of teenage boys (way too tall to be freshmen), jumping a little too high that would crush me. 

I still can’t find someone to talk to, so I start to panic. The curious, confused eyes burn my skin. I don’t know whether to meet them or continue looking across the room, pretending that I have somewhere to be; pretending that someone here, wants me here. I’ve learned that no one is looking for new friends unless they need them. 

It’s so uncomfortable. My breath quickens, and my stomach churns. Moisture accumulates between my palm and the cup of mysterious substance. I move to the left a step and set it down on a side table. Bye-bye, item-that-I-used-to-fill-awkward-silence, it’s been good. Now I have no conversation to awkwardly fill with fake sips. Now, I’m alone. 

I feel the unwanted attention on my back as I move throughout the sea of bodies. The music pumps out of the speakers with ear-drum-damaging sound, and a boy leans over ready to crank the dial even farther to the right. There goes my hearing. This is what I get for branching out. For weeks at school I had looked at this party as an opportunity to make a statement. I wanted to be her. That girl: Regina George blonde hair with style from Clueless; not just the new girl anymore. I tried so hard at school, and before this night, I thought that a party would be different. Instead, all I feel like doing is going home. I think of my bed, where it’s warm, cozy, and I can take off this itchy dress and cakey makeup. Instead, my thoughts are interrupted by the mob of boys that I tried so hard to avoid. They come bouncing over all in unison, waving their hands and seeing how many random shoulders they can hit with their limbs. “Started from the bottom now we here!” they all scream to the music. In a matter of seconds, I find myself swept up with the current. No thank you, I think. I courageously push against the wave. Big mistake. My stomach is punched by a random elbow — hard. 

I’m too shocked to curse. My body jolts back as I let out a moan. The mob spits me back out and I lean over in pain. No one notices me. Tears automatically begin to form; I’ve totally lost control over my body. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry — this mascara is too expensive — but here I am, ready to breakdown in the middle of a party. 

Great first impression. Everyone’s lying; you do not make new friends at parties. In fact, I just made an enemy with that kid who decided to almost break one of my ribs. The music vibrates in my chest. The air smells of sweat, vape, and alcohol. This is not where I want to be. I will never be that girl. 

 I turn left and right, looking for an exit. I find the winding staircase: the stairway to heaven. The lights from the main level scream safety. I stumble towards the stairs, concentrating on that first step. I slide through bodies, say rushed “goodbyes,” to my friends — acquaintances — while they raise their red solo cups, and somehow keep breathing. My foot finds the first stair, the second, and then the top. Before disappearing from the basement, I look down and observe the chaos. The tears in my eyes blur the disco lights and flashy outfits.

To be honest, it looks like fun, but I’m not having any. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. The lump in my throat demands to be let out. I feel a rush of sadness — no — sickness — no — anger; I feel like throwing up. I turn, rush for the front door, throw it open, and break free into the fresh, cool, autumn air. It feels so good to breathe. I expect to throw up, but I just cry. I cry and it’s refreshing as f*ck. No, I’m serious, I need this. As I keep sniffling and gasping into the night, I start to lose my stress. I let it all out, everything I’ve been keeping inside me this whole year. I cry because I can’t pretend anymore. I cry because I let that girl go. I cry because I am finally being honest. With that, I start walking towards home to the only girl I’ve ever needed: myself. 

She had broken free

And she was ready to break something else