The man, handsome as he is, pheromone as he is, is ignoring her. The party around them, a tinkle of talk and other people. He is lured away and doesn’t even say he’ll be back. She sits there pie on her face, clown shoes. She’s never been ghosted in person.
She thinks about walking over and joining him. Will he think I’m too needy? Will he think, will he think? Well here’s what I think, she tells herself. I think he’s a jerk and I’ll walk away right back. Breeze right by as I walk out the door.
I should have been this way in my teens, my twenties and so on. But I will be like this from now on. I will always be the girl who walks away. She saw that on a YouTube vid. How to keep a guy, or how to get a guy, or how to walk out of a party on a guy.
She sees the man on her way out. Standing by the punch bowl, talking to other people. The ones more interesting than her. He is the life of the party, and didn’t he warn her about that. I am a stallion, he had said, I like to roam free.
And rather than taking this as a warning, she found it exciting. Her father would sometimes work until 10 PM. Dinner would be an empty space at the table. He would give her a lollipop the next morning when he kissed her off to school. It was the best thing she ever ate.
When she gets home that night, she looks in the mirror. Look how pretty I am, she tells herself. Don’t you feel better, she says. Yes, her reflection says back to her, I will tell you this every damn day if you want. She wants to answer how hard it was, how much unlike her it was, how she wasn’t even sure it was her.
Later, getting into bed, she sees a text from him. She doesn’t open it. Just the words, I’m sorry. She breathes in the night air free of him, but not. She looks again at the text. In the dim light, if looks just like a lollipop.