You’re invited to a house party. It’s a friend of a friend – “her roommates are out of town.” You reluctantly agree to go.
As you approach the house, wishful voices spill from the open windows and coat the sidewalk like the snow that will fall five months from now. You grip your phone so tight that the sweat from your palm rolls down the screen. It buzzes and jolts you from your terror:
“I’m soo sorry but I’m running be late! Go in without me! Everyone is super nice :)”
There’s three people smoking on the porch who nod as you pass by unsteadily. The front door is propped open with a white, ceramic skull and you slip into the house without knocking. Inside the heat is oppressive; the sticky summer air is a guest too.
You move through small gatherings of people in the hall and the living room and go to the kitchen at the back of the house where you make yourself a drink (tonic water, a splash of gin, and heaps of ice) in a red plastic cup. You head back to the living room and prop yourself against the windowsill, savouring the brief gusts of fresh air.
Someone throws on gg peach’s melt.
The room fills with spacey-pop. It’s music that was probably made in a bedroom that has an “I Want To Believe” poster hung on the wall. The playful bass-line gets under people’s skin and they start to dance. You’re beginning to feel settled – “Once I tried to lift myself up, I found I was lighter than I believed” – and your friend arrives. She greets almost everyone, disappears to get a drink, and then stands beside you and offers an apologetic nudge.
You catch the eye of someone across the room. They smile, you smile. Your friend grabs your drink and pushes you to the middle of the room as your new interest steps forward. “Are you okay with this? Can I tell all my friends?” The words that sit on your tongue jump from the speakers. Together you wade through the damp air, at first stumbling over feet but then settling into a natural rhythm. You touch; hands, arms, shoulders, hips. “That’s all I need from you,” gg croons, sounding like Patsy Cline on a warped, dust-filled record. You slowly break apart as the music shifts to a song of departures and acidic heartbreak. You’re afraid of what you could become.
Lightheaded, you turn around and float back to your friend. She laughs at your burning face and hands you back your drink.
The ice has melted.
Top Track: “Lacy”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)