They drank green cocktails with cucumber slices, ate hotdogs on buttered buns, and listened to an a cappella version of “Lilac Wine” sung by a young man with pumpkin orange hair.
“Drink up, sweets,” Ramona said. She punched her boyfriend’s shoulder. His bald head glistened under the bar lights.
I felt the knot on my forehead. Yesterday, she caught me with my back turned. I didn’t see the book coming at me.
Tonight, she wanted her boyfriend drunk. “Sweets, do you want me?”
Pumpkin boy was now singing “Tainted Love” with a fake cockney accent. He clapped two beats before singing the refrain and I jumped to his clap.
The barflies watched my small titties bounce.
Ramona didn’t scare me. She thought she did. She didn’t understand that I let her hit me.
I chose to stay with her. I chose not to jump out a window and feel the pavement scratch my heels.
Tonight, I’m her best friend. “Not my daughter,” she told me earlier as she plucked her eyebrows in front of the bathroom mirror. Eyelids caked with black eyeliner, she turned to me and said, “Blow on them.”
From a WIP vignette collection by Gessy Alvarez.
Featured Image: Frank Habicht’s fifth-floor rooftop in London’s SW5 district served as his “favorite open-air studio” and “was a melting place for exuberant parties on mild summer nights,” he writes in his book.