Why not live for the moment

April 9, 2009
Maria sat next to her friend Katie, who was sitting a black leather couch. Over the buzz of voices, Katie says to Maria, “Oh, hey Maria. So you decided to come after all.” Katie smiled lightly.

“Yeah. You know I’m not a big party person, but I was already done with my homework and chores anyway...”
Katie nodded understandingly.
Maria brushed a strand of her dark hair out of her face. The party she was at was being hosted by Amy, a girl in her sophomore class. Amy had invited everyone. She was no special friend of Maria’s. In fact, Maria hardly knew her. Katie, on the other hand, she was closer to. Katie was the only person she had really looked forward to seeing at the party.

“I’m gonna go get something to eat,” Katie stated, as she stood up.

Maria followed Katie, weaving through the guests, into the kitchen. The counters were decks with snacks of all kinds. Maria eagerly took a Styrofoam plate from counter. Mmm... Maria thought hungrily. It looks like Amy bought the whole snack isle from the supermarket. Cheetos, Lays, Doritos, pretzels, Goldfish, M&Ms... eww... pork skins. Katie’s plate was already stacked high with junk food, but Maria was still just standing there, trying to figure out how much of this she could fit in her stomach. She didn’t often get to eat such things at home. Just a bit of everything, I guess. Maria began serving herself. Her plate was soon nearly full. Just as she was reaching for some Chex-Mix, a little thought escaped from her conscience. I shouldn’t be eating this. Maria was not fat, nor was she thin, but regardless of her weight, she shouldn’t eat junk food. Maria sighed as she pulled her hand away from the Chex-Mix. She stared at the plate of snacks she had served herself. As much as she loved junk food, Maria knew it just wasn’t worth eating after all the health problems it could give her then and later in her life. I may not get a heart attack today, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get one when I’m in my forties. I sure don’t ever want one. Maria passed through the partying people and seated herself on the couch next to Katie, who was amiably chatting with another girl and now and then popping something into her mouth.

“Do you want any of this? I’m not going to eat it,” Maria mumbled, discontent adding color to her voice.
Katie and the other girl had both turned to her.

“Uh, no thanks,” Katie shrugged.
Maria stood up to put the plate back on the counter. As she walked away from them, she heard the girl laugh and say to Katie, “Maria is so weird sometimes.” Then, in a darker tone, “That’s why she doesn’t fit in.”
Maria dropped her plate onto the counter, splattering Gold Fish, Chex-Mix and M&Ms on the counter. She didn’t bother to clean it up. She just headed straight down a hallway, hoping that’s where the bathroom was. Luckily, she found it, and she slipped inside before anyone could glimpse her tears. Maria placed herself on the toilet with the lid down. Oh, so just because I decided not to eat junk food today, I’m weird. Just because my skin is olive, I’m weird. Just because I don’t have many friends, I’m weird. Maria’s tears made tiny dark dots on her thrift store jeans. Well, if I’m weird for silly little reason like that, then so if everyone else. And if everyone’s weird, then no one is, right? Oh, I don’t know. If I really want to “fit in,” I guess I’d better just go party like the rest of them. Maria pulled a tissue out of a green ceramic tissue box and wiped away her tears. She went over to the sink and quickly rinsed her face. She stared in the mirror. It reflected the deep green walls, and in front of them, her 15-year-old face. She hadn’t been crying long enough to get pink blotches all over her face, but her dark eyes seemed melancholy. Too bad, she thought, and with that, she left the bathroom.

When Maria returned to the party, the lights had been dimmed, and moments later, dance music was blasting. Well, good thing I can dance, she thought smugly. No one really formed couples, yet – everyone was just bashing to the music. Maria’s style was fancier. She hoped that being better than everyone at something didn’t make her less-liked than she already was. No one seemed to notice though. The next song was slower. Boys began asking the girls to dance, and couples formed. Oh no... Maria moaned internally. She felt quite sure that none of the boys had any attraction to her, and therefore that no one would ask her to dance. Maria snuck off to the kitchen to “procrastinate” by getting a herself a glass of water. She snatched a plastic cup off the counter and walked over to the fridge. Take your time, she directed herself. No need to rush. As you can imagine, it didn’t take her long to drink the glass of water. Now what? I could... pretend to text someone on my mom’s cells phone. Maria recalled having left her handbag (well, it was really her mom’s) by the couch. She had just about gone around the dancing couples when she bumped into someone.

“Sorry,” she mumbled, about to go around this person without looking to she who it was.

“Hey,” the person said. It was a boy, she could tell.
Maria looked up at his face. She was about to say sorry again, but the boy spoke first.

“You wanna dance? Everyone else is taken.”
The more Maria looked at his face, the harder it was to look away.

“Sure, I-I’d love to.” Maria heard herself breath. Oh, great. I thought I decided not to get involved with boys yet. It’s nothing but trouble.

As she and the boy danced, Maria examined all of his features. His hair was mud brown and rather unkempt, but it looked cool that way. He had hazel eyes that she loved to look into. His light tan went well with the rest of him. Yet all too soon, their dance was over. He said “Bye,” gave her half a smile, and began walking away. She stared at him, and then called “Wait!” He turned around and walked back to her, with a look on his face that said, “What is it?”

“Um... What’s your name?”
They hadn’t actually talked to each other while they danced.

“Evan,” he stated, with a nod of his head. “Yours?”


“Okay. Bye.”
Evan walked away again.

Maria danced by herself to a few other songs, all the while thinking of Evan. She figured he must have found a more popular girl to dance, before they were all taken. But none-the-less, she wished he would ask her again.

Soon later, Maria realized she actually had to use the bathroom. She walked down the hallway for the second time, entering the last door that lead to the green bathroom. When she returned to the party, everyone was cheering as Amy and her boyfriend emerged through the front door, with packs of cans in their hands. It took a few moments for her to recognize what they were. The cans of Budweiser beer were passed around from person to person. As Amy came around to her, Maria thought, Well, if I really want to fit it, I might as well have some... The sounds of beer cans being opened snapped around her. The scent was slightly sickening to Maria Amy handed one to Maria, grinning. The can was cold and moist. Maria gave a very forced smile in return.

“Cool, huh?” Amy said to everyone. “I figured, since my parents are out of town for the weekend, why not?”

Why not... Maria murmured in her mind. As she slowly raised the beer to her lips, “Why not?” seemed a good question to ask. She pictured the look that would be on her mother’s face when she found out that her only daughter was drunk. She saw herself driving drunk, getting in car crashed, being in and out of jail. She imagined herself in her thirties, an alcoholic, poor, and divorced. Maria envisioned herself on a cold, lumpy bed in a dim, dirty room, all alone, dying an early death.

Maria’s eyes glazed with tears. She lowered the beer can without taking a sip. It just wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth drinking alcohol just to “fit in.” She placed the can on a coffee table and slid away from the crowd of drinking teens. She grabbed her mothers purse and headed to the front door.

“Hey, where you goin’?” Katie called, her speech already slurred by the alcohol. Maria didn’t answer. She just left the house. She took a deep breath of the cool, fresh, night air, then started walking toward home, the bag slung over her shoulder. I’ll find some friends who like me for who I am. Some friends who value the good things in life. Who value the right things, and don’t waste away their lives just to have a little more pleasure at the moment. I’m certainly not going to waste my life for that.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Victoria J. said...
Aug. 23, 2009 at 3:43 am
Thanks. Just so you know, I didn't give a whole lot of thought to planning this story - I mostly just though it up as I went along. :D But thanks for the tips!
Samantha G. said...
Aug. 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm
that was good. i like that you feel that way. you're dialogue was a little off, dn yur transitions were rocky. Maybe you should spend more time developing your characters mind frame and way of thinking. enjoyable though.
Victoria J. said...
Jul. 4, 2009 at 8:50 pm
Thanks; I'm glad you liked it. There were a lot of gramatical errors? I guess that would be because I forgot to edit it! :P :)
AquariusSun&Moon This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 2, 2009 at 11:25 pm
The beginning of the story has quite a few grammatical errors but other then that I really enjoyed reading it!
I can really appreciate Maria's feelings for all of the junk food :) How when you never get to eat it, it can almost be appealing then you remind yourself what it's made out of.... :D
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