It's 3a.m. and I'm sitting in the bath letting the cool shower rinse away the humid summer day and the sweet sweat that still smelled like my favorite perfume even after hours of dancing. I am sore and exhausted. I feel amazing. My feet are throbbing in sync with the bass of the music still pulsing in my ears. These are the wonderful kind of aches. The ones you earn and the ones you would turn right around and go out and do again and again because it is so worth it. The kind I get hungry for. Not the usual pain of my body's relentless rebellion. I close my eyes and enjoy an amazing oblivion of drowsiness. Half of the reason I was still awake was because I wanted to revel in the enjoyment of my body being tired from physical exertion. Usually every evening I will gradually slip into a foggy stupor as my medications effectively start blurring the lines between asleep and awake.
The other half of the reason is because I want to replay the night and make it stretch out as long as I can. Nights I am feeling good and able to get together with my best friend, Nicki, are few and far between. She's in a career which has her travelling a lot. We jumped at the chance to catch up and gossip. To be the versions of ourselves we can only truly be in the presence of a friend who loves you no matter what.It all started with the lipstick. I never wear lipstick. I don’t even own lipstick! But for some reason I swiped Nicki’s deep rich crimson across my lips and there was a change in me. The girl looking back at me was not pale and sickly. She was porcelain and alluring. Her long plushy eye lashes fanned and beckoned to be looked at. This girl was not sick or scared. She was carefree and confident. We were having so much fun doing makeup and catching up, laughing and gossiping that when it came time to go we were in such a giddy state we practically ran into the club all dressed up and ready to seize the dance floor. I felt like the kind of girl I'm usually looking at and wishing I could be. Nicki and I laughed and danced and danced and danced.
Eventually we needed drinks and took our place in line at the bar (vodka cranberry for Nic, water for me). Nicki nodded in the direction of two very good looking guys in line next to us. Any other night I would have half- smiled looked away and stared at the floor. The girl with the lipstick smiled openly at them and they eagerly accepted the invitation and came over. They introduced themselves and bought our drinks. Nicki being Nicki grabbed the taller of the two boys and pulled him in to the chaos and called for us to follow. The guy with me was tall and deliciously scruffy. He had a shyness about him that only added to his attractiveness. He made polite conversation before leaning into me and saying, “You are very beautiful.” I smiled coyly and told him the truth. "It's an optical illusion. I don't exist when the lights come on." He laughed at my odd answer. He put his arm around me. His hand came to rest in the small of my back and my body shivered like static sending tiny vibrations to parts of my body I had long ignored then forgotten about. They seemed to jolt awake like an electric shock. It had been years since I'd been remotely close to a boy. I decided to let the lipstick girl take over. We danced, flirted shamelessly and shared one very intense goodnight kiss.I turn the water off and wrapped my head in a towel. I wipe away the steam on the mirror. Even after all the dancing, showering, and one wonderful good night kiss, my lips still looked bee-stung plump. The guy had asked me for my phone number. All the way home I thought of all the wonderful little possibilities that could happen for the girl with the lipstick. When I said I was an optical illusion I meant it. I look normal, even pretty, to everyone else. But now, looking down the mirror at my naked stomach, every scar, every stitch, every pain, I see all the reasons why when he calls, the girl with the lipstick won’t be there to answer the phone.
…but maybe tomorrow I will go buy some red lipstick of my own.