It had been approximately an hour since I had arrived. It had been fifty-five minutes since I had forgotten what the reason behind the party was and about forty minutes since someone had broken into alcohol. I was actually rather impressed at the rate at which people had gotten intoxicated, though I suspected that some pre-party celebrations had taken place. I preferred to nurse my soda, I wasn’t in any mood to lose my wits. Though no drink let the tension flow from my body, I surveyed the scenes unfolding in the world around me with an almost unwilling reverence. The seductive atmosphere captured and held my attention, though I felt terribly distant from it.
The house thrummed with pure, unadulterated energy. I was almost surprised that I didn’t feel it moving under my feet from where I stood. I could picture it sending out vibrations into the night, acting as a beacon for all teenagers weary of life. Though all the lights were dimmed, there was no disguising the constant motion of young, closely-packed bodies. The scent of vitality seeped from every pore in the writhing masses of flesh.
I stayed a little bit away from the throng; leaning against the wall, I had the perfect vantage point to observe. Heavy, thick, sweet-scented smoke poured under the crack of the bedroom door. It seemed to infuse itself into every aspect of the house; it seeped into the walls and the furniture, soaking them in the smell of everything tantalizing and forbidden. I played a game, trying to hold my breath until my head started to spin. Still, the dizziness was more welcome than the uncontrollable feeling of wrongness in my head that resulted when I breathed too long in the smoke that stung my eyes and clouded my vision. It gave the dancers a misty quality, softening the flaws on all their faces and bodies until they were merely the vague outlines of gods in their spiral towards Hell. They all moved to some internalized beat until the air itself seemed to throb. They certainly weren’t dancing to the pulse of the obnoxiously loud music. They were all interconnected, part of each other, and the walls and the furniture. In the past hour, while I had occupied my position against the wall all the individuals had melted into mass. Now it was rather difficult to pick out specific faces, even those of my friends who had accompanied me, and then left me to fend for myself against the monster of a crowd that seemed intent on enveloping me.
On the other side of me there was a hallway, which seemed strangely empty in contrast. A rather frazzled-looking girl stumbled drunkenly around, loudly inquiring of the air as to the whereabouts of her bag. Her dress was wandering a bit too far up her legs, and her hair, which an hour ago was no doubt well-coiffed, now hung limply down her face. She didn’t seem to care about any of that, being very intent upon her purse. I watched her for a moment, amusing myself by listening to her drunken ramblings. Apparently everything was the fault of someone named Todd, and she shouldn’t have trusted him in the first place because, look where that got her, with a lost purse. Every so often the random expletive was thrown into her speech, cursing Todd and all his descendants, and his mother, and this party, and her “goddamned genius purse.” I mentally wished her the best of luck, but didn’t find it necessary to inform her that her– apparently intelligent?purse was dangling carelessly from her shoulder. She would figure it out soon enough.
Some equally intoxicated jock emerged from a separate room into the mass of the dancers. He bumped into a sexually overcharged male, whose “dancing” was merely composed of a series of pelvic thrusts directed at some poor girl. The cheap beer in the jock’s hand sloshed down the shirt of the thruster, who wheeled around and starting yelling at the rather confused and apologetic jock. Their rapidly escalating voices attracted the attention of their surrounding peers, as did their increasingly exaggerated drunken gestures. I was unable to make out their words, they melded into the sound of the throng far before they reached my ears, but I could still generally surmise their intent. The thruster’s dancing partner stood beside him, staring blankly at the two aggravated and overheated males. I strongly suspected that she had already paid a visit to the smoky bedroom, and so her mind had long since left Planet Earth. Friends of the two shouters laid hands on them, seemingly sober enough to sense a fight brewing. There was no need to worry though, for a couple seconds after, the crisis resolved itself. The drunken jock threw his arms around the thruster in a rather over-enthusiastic hug. Evidently the alcohol that had fired up their passions in the first place also kept them from maintaining their state of anger. I rolled my eyes and turned away.
A girl on the opposite side of the room caught my eye. She stood out from the crowd, probably because she refused to submit to the tides of movement that rippled through it. Though she was not the most beautiful girl in the room, there was something truly magnificent about her. She stood separate from the rest, seemingly having no connections with the people around her. Yet she surveyed the room with a faint smile caressing her full lips. There was some mystical quality about her face that spoke of another world, far, far away from the dizzying one we occupied. She seemed better suited to a book of fairy tales than to a drunken party. I could envision her seated mischievously upon a toadstool, or perhaps hiding in the hedges, with her brilliant blue eyes peering out, ready to offer cryptic words of wisdom to lead the hero astray or to help them on their quest. I imagined as she surveyed the room that she was choosing who, today, deserved her alien magic. Then her eyes fixed upon me. We stared at each other for a few moments, each one sizing the other up. Even with the misty quality of the room, I could see the faint dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose and her cheeks. The depths of blue in her eyes entranced me, called to me. I raised my eyebrows as if to question her motives. Her smile grew into a smirk and she beckoned me with a tilt of her head. Then she turned around and glided to a door, not pausing to see if I was following. I did not know where the door led, perhaps to the other dimension to which she belonged to. I pretended to debate following her, though in truth I already knew my decision.
Nobody noticed when I left my position by the wall. The crowd moved to envelop the gap that I left and it was as if I had never been there.
Sarah Saltiel, Age 15, Grade 11, Trinity School, Silver Key