The party was just as amazing as I thought it would be. Loud music blasted, people danced, and the drinks made my head spin.
It was the first time I’d gotten drunk despite approaching my eighteenth birthday. All my friends spent their high school years partying, while I studied furiously under the pressure of my parents.
It all paid off though, and I, despite not being very smart, had gotten accepted into a top university. That’s why I deserved to spend at least one night as a teenager.
Someone bumped past me, knocking me onto the ground.
“Are you blind, idiot?” I snapped.
But the person was already gone. I rolled my eyes and stood up, then disposed of my annoyance with another cup of whatever it was they served.
“Jenny! How’s the party?”
I turned to see my best friend, Tiffany, coming towards me.
“It’s fun,” I said. “but that skirt you’re wearing is hideous.”
Her grin froze and her mouth opened slightly. I smiled.
“And I’ve always thought that lipstick makes you look like a clown. I just thought I should tell you, since we’re ‘friends’.”
“Jenny, what are you…”
“I’ve never liked you, ever. Why do you get to be pretty and smart and nice at the same time? And by the way, I was the one that spread the rumour you got plastic surgery. You probably did.”
Tiffany’s eyes widened and she trembled slightly.
“You’ve drank too much.”
“Even now, you’re still worried about me! How can you be so nice? I’m never going to see you again anyways, so you should see that this is who I really am.”
Were those tears forming in her eyes? I felt a sudden stab of guilt, but it was quickly replaced by another thought. How could she look so beautiful even crying? Why was god so unfair?
Laughing bitterly, I left Tiffany and wandered around the party until the music drowned out any thoughts of her. I screamed the lyrics of the songs along with everyone else, until I was almost deaf.
My stomach turned and I rushed to the bathroom. I threw up in the toilet, the world spinning around me. When my mouth and head cleared, I sank against the wall and took a deep breath. I immediately regretted it because the room smelled like vomit.
It was quieter in here, and I could hear my phone buzzing. I took it out and groaned, then started scrolling through the pile of messages.
‘Where are you???’
‘The kidnappers can have what they want, but don’t hurt her.’
‘Your window is open. Did you sneak out?’
‘Come back right now.’
I was terrible at sneaking out, but did my parents have to ruin this one night? Sometimes, I was sure that they cared more about my future than my present happiness. I wouldn’t be able to blame them for raising me into a failure, like they feared I might become, but I could blame them for my personality.
Don’t get me wrong, they were good parents that I loved and ones that loved me. I knew that, even if we never talked much. I would be moving out to go to university soon, so I felt it was my filial obligation to obey.
Tiffany’s parents adored her, yet she complained they’d never get anything. It was quite the opposite with me, because I knew that even though our family was fairly wealthy, it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough to get me what I wanted, because I wanted so much.
As I stumbled out of the house into the cold night air, memories came rushing to me.
‘Maybe you’ll just grow up to be useless.’
‘Privacy? Why would you need that?’
‘If you weren’t my daughter, I would never associate with you.’
The feeling was mutual even now, despite my dad having said it in the heat of an argument. Our personalities simply clashed, between me and both of my parents, so most of our conversations ended in me stomping to the basement to throw things. Yet in the end, we all grew tired, and perhaps that’s why our interactions stopped beyond the necessary, and I hid myself in stories.
Tears blurred my vision and I sniffled. I tried to wipe them away, and too late, I remembered that I was wearing makeup. It stung my eyes and tears streamed down my cheeks. I broke into sobs.
I loved them. I hated them. I wished I could like them more. I despised the person they raised me into. I wished I could be better.
I’ve worn so many masks, trying to be liked, or at least not hated. But if I had enough power to get what I wanted without other people, or if they loved me regardless, or if I could just be prettier underneath-
‘Fame. Power. Riches. A throne at the top of the world. All mine.’
A dream so distant and impossible. Especially when I was like this.
Therapy. Would that even help? What if all I learned was that this mess was just who I was? And they’d be offended, they’d think their daughter would be too strong for that.
The street lights flickered overhead. I yawned, tired.
Everything else could wait. I’d get to bed, and if they insisted on a lecture, I would scream or cry or whatever. Sleep would make it all better.
The tears just wouldn’t stop. I didn’t bother to wipe them again, I only wanted to get home. Maybe some part of me was still holding out hope that my parents would be there to apologize and tell me everything was all right.
I broke into a run, not seeing clearly where I was going. The world seemed a bit fuzzy. Everything happened so quickly.
A car’s frantic honking.
Bright headlights that froze me in place.
My body flying across the road.