PROMPT: Weave a story around the phrase “drown your sorrows.”
I don’t remember exactly what she was wearing that night, but I remember it was gold. It was shiny too, catching every ray of light and shooting it back off as if it were the sun itself. I think they’re called sequins. There were a lot of them. It was the kind of thing that even I knew was tacky, but I didn’t care because damn if she didn’t look good in that dress. That’s it, she was wearing a dress. A gold dress that sparkled with every move she made.
And boy was she making moves.
The music was so loud that its pulses seemed to take over your body and dictate your heartbeat to its own time. She sure wasn’t fighting it. She was clumped in a circle with some girlfriends and they were just dancing away, swinging their asses as if they didn’t know it would draw our attention. They knew. She knew. I remember her looking over her shoulder and catching my eye and smiling a real slow smile. At the time I thought it was an invitation. Now, I think it was just her enjoying her power.
I didn’t accept that invitation until I’d had a couple more drinks. My buddies and I were in the middle of a conversation, after all. And I wanted to make her think about it, to worry: would I come? or was I uninterested? Because then I would be in the position of power.
That’s how it was between us. Who was on top. And the other was always clawing their way back up as soon as they fell.
I don’t usually think about things like this. Analyze, I guess you’d say. Normally I just take things as they come. Like I took her straight up to my bed that night. Like I let her stay there until kingdom come without ever realizing that was what I was doing. I guess I realized after a while; when we’d seen each other every night for a month straight, and spent most of those days together, too. But I didn’t really think about it, and I sure didn’t fight it.
Now, I wish I’d thought about it a little more. Oh, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it one single bit. Best years of my life. Best nights of my life, if you know what I mean. I just wish I’d taken the time to look at her and think about her and realize. Or maybe I mean appreciate. Yeah, that’s it. Because nothing lasts forever, does it?
The thing is, I don’t remember too much of those years with her. We had a long time together, but it’s been a longer time since she went and I’ve had to carry on with my life and now my head’s filled with new memories. Nothing wrong with that. But I do remember that night, perfect as can be. Heck, I can even remember what she smelled like. I can’t describe it for you any better than saying that she smelled like one of those magazines when you open them and nearly choke on the stench of their free perfumes. She wasn’t as bad as that, of course, but that was the smell. Free perfume. And I could have drunk that perfume if it meant getting more of her.
When I went over to her after those couple other drinks she ignored me. I guess that was her getting the power again. And I guess it worked. ‘Cause by the time she finally did turn around and run one of those long fingers of her along the buttons of my shirt I really would have done anything to get her to pay more attention to me.
I remember when she stood on her tiptoes and said, “Do you like this song?” her lips brushed just barely against the skin of my ear. So I couldn’t come up with a response. I just nodded.
She smiled and reached back up for another question. “Do you like this dress?” Now she shimmied a little and those gold things caught the light again. I grinned because it was an excuse to look at her body without worrying about being caught.
“Yeah, I do.”
She pressed herself tight against me, grabbing my hand and placing it on her back for me. As if I didn’t want to do it myself. “Do you like me?”
That question confused me, and I remember trying to step back to look at her, to figure out what she meant. Because I knew it had to be a trap of some sort. She still had that smile on her face, the smile that said she knew she had me in the palm of her hand (although I still thought it was an invitation). But it didn’t quite reach her eyes. That was the problem. In her eyes there was something else altogether. Insecurity. At the time I thought it was because she was afraid she didn’t have the power she thought she did, that she was afraid I would say no.
But knowing what I know now, I think it’s something else entirely. I think it’s something that was in her eyes from the time she was a little girl and that stayed in her eyes until that day I found her in the bathtub, and it was just me who stopped seeing it.
In any case, I pulled my hands away from her back and grabbed her fingers and brought them to my lips. Taking back control over the conversation. Showing my gentlemanliness. Then I said, “I like what I know of you so far. And I think I’ll like you a lot when I get to know you. So let’s go have a drink together.”
She didn’t seem to know what to do with having her hands kissed. Her head bowed and her lips smiled and she followed me to the bar without another word. That gold dress of hers kept sparkling, but I could see a few sequins falling off from all the dancing she’d been doing, and underneath there was just an ugly yellow fabric.