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Solo Cups and Jesus Scars

There's a little scar just below her right eye. It looks kind of like a bow, or maybe an infinity sign, that is if you want to be romantic about it. “It's really more of a f*cked up line than anything. It’s stupid to even talk about, think about. Why did you bring it up? You killed the mood. Slaughtered it like you were the butcher and it was a pig. Why does this always happen? How can I speak of always? This never happens. This never happens.” There’s never been a boy this close to her face. There’s never a boy looking into her muddy eyes and (quite nearly) whispering sweet nothings.
“No one ever looks at me long enough to realize that I’m a little f*cked up. There. I said it. I’m a f*** up. I’m sorry. I’m scarred. I’m f*cking scarred all over. I’ve got lines up my arms and down my thighs. I’ve got scar tissue where my heart should be. My face is a daily reminder that refuses to fade. A reminder that I am imperfect in ways that no amount of insults could put the right reason to. All those freaking insults but it was never the right word.
“Yeah, I was bullied. Everyone has been. Right? I don’t know why. I wish I knew why. They never told me f*cking why. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m not an angry person. I’m not an angry person.” She downs her beer. She looks around and taps the side of her solo cup like she is waiting for an excuse to get out. “I should go.” He pours half of the liquid from his cup into hers. She opens her mouth as if she is about to say something and then returns to her previous position, leaning heavily on the wall. She feels boxed in. His body is so close to hers she can feel the heat rolling off of his and onto her white lace dress. It was anything but slinky and she had no clue how she’d earned his attention. She takes another generous gulp from her solo cup. Instead of lowering it she keeps it eye level, so he can’t see the f*** up on her cheek.
“I’m babbling. I’m usually not a babbler. It’s the alcohol, I promise. I’m a rowdy drunk.” He doesn’t laugh, so she takes another sip. Perhaps drowning problems in alcohol is something she and her father can have in common. “I- I don’t know what to say. I’m not a talker. I’m not a talker. I’m not a talker. Wow. I-” She waits for him to interrupt her. Leave her. Kiss her? But no. He’s just looking at her with those baby blues, which are really closer to a teal in the shadows of a stranger’s house. “How do you know Maddy?”
“I don’t,” he says definitely, tipping his cup but taking nothing in. He’s a little too Christian for alcohol and found himself a little short on faith for church today, so on this late sunday night/early monday morning, he’s decided to battle his religious uncertainty by saving someone. Not with Jesus or anything. What did Jesus ever do for him? Not like that. He knows what Jesus did for him, but he’s just not so sure that Jesus really cared if this stranger believed that Jesus was her savior. He just wants to feel like all the parents talk about feeling when they get someone to convert, when they get someone saved. He just wants to lend a nonreligious helping hand. She would be disappointed to find out that his interest in her was purely scientific. “I go to the church next door. Shaun, that’s Maddy’s boyfriend, he invited me.” He faked another sip. This time the alcohol pressed against his lips and his winced at the repulsive flavor.
“Shaun doesn’t invite anyone. He’s a total recluse.”
“Well I overheard it,” he tried to justify, leaning further into the right arm he had extended over her left shoulder. He tried to smolder. She laughed.
She looked into her nearly empty cup. “I’m not a freak you know.”
“I didn’t think you were a freak.” He’s lying. He hates lying. He’s terrible at it. Most of his friends had tongues like the devil himself, yet he’d been cursed with a voice that would crack on ever false word since puberty. He can’t take his eyes off the cross sketched in white across her dark cheek.
She gestures toward the f*** up with her solo cup. “It’s a battle scar. I didn’t do it myself or anything.” She says it like it’s a joke, as if she hadn’t already admitted to her self deprecation. She shuffles the rubber bracelets on her left wrist with her solo cup. “It was just some stupid girl in fourth grade. It was stupid.” She looks at him expectantly, knowing that he won’t respond with anything of substance. She knows better than to have high expectations. She thinks of her parents arguing at home. She takes a sip. She thinks of her dad drinking alone. Another sip. She’s empty.
“What happened?”
“What?” She’s gone. Far gone. Light weights go easy. She’d only been drunk once before and she’d never been drunk alone.
“Sorry buddy,” some guy, Alan, was saying as he pushed the boy. She felt her heart pick up speed as he leaned into her. He pushed himself off of her once Alan moved on to pushing past another couple, Jim and Jonah, and wiggling his way into the overcrowded bathroom. Her heart slows to a normal pace and she giggles. He laughs uncomfortably and fakes a sip of beer.
She leans uncomfortably close to him, so close her bottom lashes are almost touching his chin.
“You know, you have beautiful eyes. No one would ever slam a lock into them. I wish I had eyes like that. Mine are all muddy. No one likes a girl with muddy eyes. I’m gonna get another beer.” She makes a grand sweeping gesture with her left arm to push past him and heads right for an empty keg.




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