Disclaimer: this issue of Colors of Adolescence does not make direct references to any real persons, nor should it be inferred.
She tightly clutches onto the metal rod. Everyone on the train sways gently before the subway rattles to a stop. “This stop is Gangnam-gu Office,” echoes the glacial voice on the speakers, continuing to babble on about ‘doors on the right’ and ‘exit number ones.’ ‘One stop left,’ she thinks, blotting out the other exhilarated, tickling squeals surrounding her, with the thump of her own pulse banging against her ears.
She steps out of exit five, giddy at the 8 p.m. breeze combing through her perfumed hair. Scurrying down the main street, she slips into the alleyway at the corner, where the welcoming luminescence of the brown cafe eases her into her familiar niche. The clattering banter of the rosy-cheeked youth, obnoxious effluvium of sour sauce and hotdogs, and in front, her black-clad acquaintances huddled insecurely, all embarked upon their clunky heels.
Time slips past as she transfers from booth to booth and from group to group. Avidly shopping between activities: cawing at the karaoke until her windpipe tears, picking on soggy tacos between the coughs of strangers and brandishing her stretched fingers in a futile attempt to clear the fumes of pride-filled exhales. Nothingness ensues, and as the night squirms closer to midnight, she can feel her fingertips pound in anticipation of the real “party of the night”- quite literally. She takes a deep breath, and finally ventures a cautious step into the unlit chamber.
It slithers down her throat, igniting a sparking tinder with its first touch. Warmth tingles across her skin, and her cheek begins to feel raw, bumpy, pushing and forcefully stretching to its limit. Little spins, crisp fireworks popping with her every pulse, vibrating on her fingertips. Each minute builds up, urging her to join the ‘gang’: them and their roaring laughter, the mascara-smeared crowd strewed across the leather sofa. As though the pineapple-scented vapor had blinded her, she feels as though the stares of others no longer matter. She staggers onto their table, and words tumble off her tongue in a gush of barely distinguishable slurs. Talks of politics, talks of school, talks of headaches, and talks of ‘only living once’. They laugh, they yak and spill liquid into her cup- but more onto her hand. She quaffs the mixture cloaked as social acceptance, and watches colors start to blur. Everyone talks at once. The music is too loud, and the lights a bit too bright. Shadows whirl, floor churns, table turns and mouths spurt hands roam heart burns –
Her eyelids drowsily part open. The feathery blankets rustle, and she enwraps her bare legs with cold, crisp cotton. Her iron forehead plunges into the pillow, and sinks deep down the foam. Jacket tossed on table and stockings coiled, serpentine-like on the floor – she must’ve had fun last night. But what good was it, if all there as left of it was blank space?
‘Pity,’ she thinks. But soon convinces herself that this stage of adolescence was meant to be blank.