At the concert I felt out of place, so I stood at the periphery and watched the audience like a movie. A girl with long red hair and glasses held herself up by clutching the sleeves of a young man, a boy really. She swayed to the electronic beat, the operatic voices. Her eyes appeared to be filled with tears, but it could have been the glare of spotlights against her glasses. Though the boy had clearly brought her here, their paths must have parted somewhere along the bar. He might have been her boyfriend. She might have only thought he was her boyfriend. The musicians onstage, sisters wearing painted mustaches, began my favorite song. I turned to the girl beside me. She was still attached to the boy and yelling, “yesss!” Her head lurched forward. The boy took a step toward the stage. The girl’s body buckled. She pulled herself up by his forearm. He bobbed his head as if there weren't a human-sized barnacle seizing beside him. She sang along, “I just want to be your housewife.” She grabbed both of his biceps and tried turning him towards her, “I’ll iron your clothes,” but he kept looking at the stage. I wanted him to love her because she felt so strongly that she needed it. She continued singing, “I’ll make your bed.” She ignored the musicians’ sad sarcasm and swapped it for melodic shouting. She was looking up to where she thought his eyes were gazing at her own. But she couldn’t make out his line of vision because of her tears. Or her glasses-glare. I imagined the next morning she might wake up alone in her own bed, and, later, beside a mug filled with coffee, or smoothie, or raw eggs, compose an email to her best friend about her boyfriend and their amazing night together.
Shannon McLeod teaches high school English in Southeast Michigan. Her writing has appeared in Hobart, NEAT, Gawker, The Billfold, Cheap Pop, and Word Riot. You can find her on twitter @OcqueocSAM or on her website at www.shannon-mcleod.com.