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Leaving the Club MAG
In the club, there is no ebony darkness or crystalline illumination, just a tangled silvery atmosphere, matted flat and pressed against cool, strange-smelling air. I can barely make out the neon sign above the bar; it radiates electric yellow as it flickers behind a dense veil of fumes spewing from the dry ice machines packed tightly in the corners. Black leather-clad dancers stomp and parade aggressively on the foggy dance floor. The ice fumes curl and ripple beneath their feet like ivory clouds torn apart by a storm.
“Why do people keep writing this awful, depressing music? It’s terrible.” Jed is beside me, to the right, musing agitatedly about the heavy, blasting music. “If they hate their lives so much, why don’t they quit and do the economy some good,” he drones, but I don’t pay attention. There is too much glitter pulsating before my eyes.
Kelli is leaning against Jed. She has green-apple hair, mid-back length and shimmery, like the concoction sloshing in the fluted glass resting on her bare knee. Kelli has long, tiger-like nails painted a trashy yellow that doesn’t coordinate well with her muddy green halter-top. She smokes pretty, violet-colored cigarettes that reek of a tasteless dime-store quality, and believes that they somehow give her strength. I disagree, and tell her so often.
The Goth set leaves the floor. Mysterious, vampiric beings slink toward the bar, drawn by the aura of that erratic yellow neon, whose sparks are lost within the residue of dozens of cheap cigarettes.
In the sea of smoke, punks are slamming around. The muted din of bodies colliding echoes over the hyperactive screams and rants of a band I have never heard of. I watch the pit of bodies and all I see are arms and legs, flailing and distorted, that don’t seem to belong to anyone in particular. They remind me of motorized mannequins, the ones with no eyes but staticy red curls. I murmur these thoughts to Iris, who is sitting beside me on the worn velvet couch.
Iris does not seem to be paying attention, so I stop. She has not been the same since she stopped eating, since she decided to unlatch the box deep inside her mind and release the voices that she says whisper beautiful, sophisticated things. They are malicious things that penetrate and dissolve even the most persevering common sense.
Sometimes when I look at her I want to cry, because she is not immortal like she thinks she is. She says that someday she will be as light as an angel – weightless enough to fly. She will be flesh molded onto bone with nothing in between. I imagine that there must be bruising, purplish veins tangled around the crumbling ivory pillars that make up her very being. I can almost see all of this beneath her pale skin.
I unravel her. Pulling back every translucent layer, I watch as that sophisticated facade shrivels up beyond the point of revival. And I know that even though she speaks of the future when she says she will be beautiful, today weighs heavily on her bony shoulders. Her home life is so dismal it chases her out to places like this and other places I prefer not to think about.
I wonder how she can carry it all when she’s so empty inside. That is what I think, that she is hollowed out and emotionless. Iris has grown dark to the point where no light can touch her. She is choosing to give up on everything that used to mean so much to her.
Iris whispers about losing all hope in her future because she is afraid of destiny. I fear my destiny, too, sometimes. Other times, I wish I could peer into the future, if only for a second. But I am afraid of what I would be. I am afraid I would turn out like Iris’ mother, bound in a loveless marriage with self-destructive habits that cause her to leak more of her soul than her thin flesh can hold. I am afraid of Iris becoming like her. But I cannot say this. There is no way to tell your friend that you think her mother is trash.
The strobe lights are flashing. I feel hypnotized and nauseated. Iris is still whispering tumultuous words that carve indentations into my mind. I want to close my mind and stop thinking, but I cannot, because I think that I am in the middle of some nightmare where it is not so easy to just stop thinking. And so many thoughts rush at me at once. Before I can stop, I realize I am trapped inside a box, one that holds death and desire so well blended that neither is distinguishable to the naked eye.
I need to leave. I stand, closing my eyes suddenly and trying not to be sick over everything that is going on around me. I need to run away to some place meant for people like me, a place full of people who are not afraid of the dark, but sometimes need light. I wish Iris could come with me and we could just hang out all day and talk about boys and dreams and the animal shapes that clouds create.
Jed and Kelli are lounging all over each other. They are snickering and sipping some dark liqueur that reminds me of the thickest, smoothest black satin, the kind you can imagine would stain your fingertips if you touched it. They have long since given up on school and real friends, on trust and emotions. I think there are times when everyone wishes to be a hero, and this is my time. I take Iris by her wrist, which feels like a cold metal pole. I drag her out of the room, and tug her down the long hallway to the exit, rushing and trying not to trip over the hem of my black skirt.
We emerge from the underground darkness, and tendrils of white smoke curl out. Iris hasn’t asked what we are doing or where we are going, but I tell her I am going to take her someplace better, a place without pretended ugliness, plastic people and broken dreams. I want to make her well again. I want to feed her life, the kind drenched with hope and raw emotion that can fill you up completely, but still make you yearn for more. I wonder what she is thinking but I do not ask. She is staring up at the dark night sky. There are tiny diamonds glued to the dark ream of shimmering silk wrapped around a crescent moon. I wonder where the other part of the moon is. I hope that I always think like this. I want to think clearly and smoothly, like liquid diamonds coating my eyes.
I will dream tonight. I will dream about Iris and the club. I will not be able to help the demons that invade my dreams, but I will not run away from them either. And I hope that Iris will do the same.