It’s trivia night and you’re sitting with your best friend and a guy you’ve just met. Your best friend stands up, buys two bottles of Russian beer. You crinkle your nose at her. “Have you ever seen an actual alcoholic?” she jokes. “Yeah, I have,” you tell her. You see the change in her expression: “I’m so sorry.”
A boy calls you chubby. You’re 12, he’s 17. You try to play it cool and throw a water balloon at him. Later that day you stand in front of the mirror and realize what they say is true. You put your hand over your stomach. You grab it. You squeeze it. You wish you cuould cut it out with a knife.
You read about the lives of your favorite authors. You read about their suicides. You picture yourself putting stones in your pockets and walking into the ocean.
It’s 2:00 a.m. and you know you’ve had too much to drink. You sang karaoke, you danced salsa, you took way too many selfies with your unmistakable drunk smile. Too much gum; tiny slivers for eyes. You’re still tipsy when you start the car. The streetlights are too bright. As you drive home, you call the closest Denny’s and order some mozzarella sticks to-go.
A girl bites your arm. You don’t react. You look at the bite marks on your forearm and don’t really understand why she did it. You tell your mom, who storms into your classroom the next day, pushing past your tree-hugging, peace-loving kindergarten teacher. “You see my teeth?” your mother asks the 3 year-old girl. “They’re bigger than yours. If you bite my daughter again, I will bite you.”
You try not to doze off as your dad drives you home, drunk. You get home safe and sound. You’re a little disappointed nothing happened.
At a family friend’s party, your stepdad calls you his daughter. You want to call him dad, but you don’t. You feel like it would eliminate the existence of your biological father. Your status as a daughter doesn’t erase his biological three. But his upgrade from stepdad to dad would imply that the original is inexistent.
You pack an overnight bag for the hospital. No one tells you you’ll be staying, you just assume. You don’t know how hospital visits work. You pack a lot of books. It takes about half an hour for security to let you in. Visiting hours are over, but they take pity on you. You hold your dad’s hand and it’s cold. You want to leave as soon as you walk inside. You’d rather be reading.
You say you don’t believe in marriage. Your boyfriend gasps and hugs you. “We’ll work it out,” he whispers.
Your dad lets it slip that he and your mom had sex on a cruise, and originally thought you were conceived there. He does the math and concludes you weren’t. Your mom tells you that you were. You choose to believe you’re a child of the sea.
Your mom drives you back home from the hospital on the second day that your dad is there. You break down. You cry for the first time since you got the call. You’re not crying because you’re about to lose your dad. You cry because you just lost your chance of ever having a good relationship with him.
You find your mother’s wedding shoes. They’re square, with a quarter inch heel, in some disastrous shade of brownish-gold. “I should’ve known we were screwed,” she says, pointing at them.
You stop at the gas station. Your dad asks you if you want anything from the mini mart, you say no. He comes back with a plastic bag filled with miniature bottles of red and white wine.
Your lips purse the moment you taste wine for the first time. You push the glass away and decide that drinking isn’t for you.
You ask your dad if he and your mom ever lived together. He says yes. Of course. They were married.
You ask your mom if she and your dad ever lived together. She says no. They never really got around to it.
One Sunday at church, you throw a rock at your cousin and hit her cheekbone. You just wanted to scare her. Before he can find out what happened, you tell your dad you want to leave.
Your mom finds a half-empty bottle of Bacardi Bahama Mama hidden inside your desk. You tell her it was a gift, and that you're not going to drink the rest of it. You don't tell her you drank the first bottle by yourself.
You break up with your boyfriend one afternoon after school. You tell him you think you two should end it. You pat his hand. You walk away.
You're dating again that summer. You break up with him at the beach. You have to share a car with him and all your friends afterwards. You all go for pizza. Every time you go to the bathroom, you drink out out of the bottle of Bacardi Zombie your friends hid in your beach bag.
You cry over your dead fish. Estrella. A Betta fish. You have a little burial, you read his eulogy. A few months later, you get another Betta. Estrella 2.
You fight with your mom about your Halloween costume. The fight isn’t really about the costume, it’s more about your weight. The fight isn’t really a fight, it’s more of a discussion where “I failed” is said more than once. It has multiple installments in the span of half an hour, each one ending with “I don’t know why you keep asking my opinion.”
You have your first kiss in 7th grade, behind the storage closet. You’re surrounded by palm trees. The first time he leans in for it, you turn your face away. Then you let it happen. You post a status about it on Facebook and go to the movies with a friend.
The first time you get your period, it's your dad's weekend. He picks you up on Friday at dance class and you tell him. "Ya es señorita": he tells everyone at a funeral the next day.
At a bar in Cuba, you have a $4.50 mojito. Then a $4.50 rum and coke. You keep buying cheap drinks until you can't even tell what music they're playing; the alcohol numbs your hearing. You just hear noise. You dance. You fall asleep in the taxi and leave your phone there. You get to the school and realize you lost your key. You share a twin bed with a friend. You're still drunk the next morning as you topple over your backpack, frantically searching for your room key. You shower in another friend's room. You don’t have your flip-flops (they’re inside your room), so you shower in your socks. You say you'll never drink that much again.
You stage a pretend wedding. You're 5 years old. You point at where the groom will be, your father, your aunt, your uncle, and your best friend. "Where will I be?", your mother asks. "You'll be dead by then," you tell her.
Your 1st grade teacher tells your best friend and her mother that you're a bad influence. You don't know why.
You run into your ex at a festival. He avoids you; you don't go looking for him. You greet all of your friends, and you walk away. He yells at you, “¡Adiós Lara!”, from afar. You turn around, and awkwardly wave your hand. You don't know what he's trying to do. You feel powerless. You post a cryptic tweet about never expecting him to make you cry. Your high school best friend replies "You? Crying? I'd like to see that."
Your parents wake you up and tell you your dad passed away. You already knew. You slept with your hand over the phone, expecting the hospital to call.
You arrive at the party, still a little angry. You’re stressed out because of the fight with your mom, and the teenagers on the street. The streets are narrow, and you get performance anxiety when trying to parallel park. You head straight to the bar. Down your first drink in 10 minutes. You didn’t time the next two, but they were gone pretty quickly. You’re drunk pretty quickly. You spin and twirl, you overshare, you lose your balance. You’ve been here before. You change course. Pour yourself some water in a red solo cup. Keep drinking water until you have to go home.
Lista de imágenes:
1. Mike Dempsey, "Dorothy Dog Sitting", 2015.
2. Isabelle Wenzel, de la serie Field Studies, 2014.
3. Mike Dempsey, "Drive-by Fruiting", 2014.
4. Isabelle Wenzel, de la serie Field Studies, 2014.
5. Mike Dempsey, "Huckleberry Finn", 2013.
6. Isabelle Wenzel, de la serie Field Studies, 2014.