Chapter 14: Playing PretendMature


Narrator: Edward Fisher

The number of people on the dance floor is thinning gradually. A song I can’t recognize is playing in the background and my body is beginning to ache from the excessive dancing. Being the only sane one here, I haven’t been able to take a break by making out with a newfound love. Not that I resent my lucidity – no, not in the least. My parents make sure of it too. I don’t think I’ve been grateful enough towards them for it – otherwise I might have been the one dry-humping Josh’s brother on that couch. I think I'll stay standing... 

Juliet never seems to tire of this ongoing vitality of the party; dancing furiously in front of me. I can’t say her figure looks best in that white low-cut blouse with a tongue stuck-out frog printed on the back. Her curvaceous (more bluntly – beefy) legs do not look any better in that green skirt either. I wonder how many Twinkies she had today...

Despite her wacky sense of humor, quirky obsession with frogs, and naiveness she was the first friend I made in this unorthodox arts school. I say ‘despite’ because she is not the type of friend I had in mind. To be perfectly honest, being the slightly finicky person that I have been brought up to be, her personality did not appeal to me in the least initially. But, I, more tolerant than my mother and father, have become to accept it. And well - she was the only person who seemed remotely interested in me at the time. 

So I got to know her. And I learned a couple of things about Juliet Flanagan, or rather I have a theory. Given her sunshine personality, one would suppose she lives life to the fullest; enjoying the perks and making best of the letdowns. But in reality, I don’t think she has experienced any form of pain or desperation and this one thing is what makes her so callow. Call me highbrow or a pompous bastard, but I don’t believe she’ll ever really grow up; she can't stop pretending. 

I notice her breasts are bouncing up and down as she moves to the music. A sight, I’m sure Brent would like to get a good view of. She winks at me, and I smile, not at the flirtatious gesture, but the fact that she’s so unaware of my thoughts of her. A person with some level of insight would have been able to vaguely figure them out by now.

Juliet suddenly faces the sofa, and says in a deep commentator-like voice, “Presenting… The Ardent Couple, the King and Queen, the Demotic Duo… The Waltzing Lovebirds!” Just as abruptly, she walks towards me, a comically seductive expression on her face. It is close to mine and she bats her eyelashes. I take her hand and I kiss it lightly. 

This is all a petty game that she likes to play, and as a friend I owe her to play along. My right hand is now on her left, and my left on the right side of her waist. Both our faces instinctively becoming serious, and we do the waltz dramatically to the R&B music that is now playing. Had this taken place some time ago, I would have backed out nervously. But not now; at this point I am accustomed to such things.

The music stops and takes a moment to change to something by The Noisettes. We end our “performance” with a theatric finish and bow to our imaginary audience. Then Juliet begins to chant softly, “Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss…” in a range of voices; none of them her own. Then she looks at me worriedly and I return the look – however, mine is genuine. 

She shrugs and she moves in to lock her lips onto mine. My eyes are open, and my brain is stunted by the suddenness of it all. As I slowly gain awareness, I notice I am kissing a girl whose skin color is the palest white, and is smiling innocently, like a child. She is no longer in role.

I back away, looking at her contritely and for a moment, she is distraught at my unyieldingness. It doesn’t last long, and soon Juliet Flanagan is once more bowing to the audience and she goes “backstage”, waving and blowing air kisses as she walks away. I turn around, her back facing me, now in the company of Michelle. She laughs and dances, ever so joyously, as though nothing has happened.

The End

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