The boy's fingers brush against my cheek, rough and calloused, yet it sends a wild thrill up my spine. This barely-known boy, anonymous boy, Mr. Anonymous. He probably told me his name at some point, but I forget. His intimacy is a facade yet I'm unwilling to break the silence, brush away the deceptive fingers. Soon there are lips, lips moist and very red from drinking.
"Hey!" I giggle, and burp. I switched from vodka to Diet Coke an hour ago, but the silly haze is all around me, crowding and pushy, perhaps I am sick even. He takes this as an incentive to probe further.
Then there is more. Always, always, there is more.
It's funny, the way my life -- so neatly stacked like books on which I might stand -- is lost to me. In mere seconds, it is snatched away. It's funny, the way I always thought of the events of my life as so orderly, perfectly sequential and complete, and yet now they are all smeared together, like barely-dry paint on canvas.
Only fifteen, and yet I've already begun to forget. Is this normal? I can't say.
I was born in the heat of summer, mid-July, born from a sick womb full of cigarette smoke and twisted with diet pills. Born into rage and sticky heat, hot, hot, hot. Perhaps it was this low moist heat that carried me through, for I came like a miracle from my mother's starved womb. Big, squishy-pudgy, I had long fingernails and a thick head of curls already. My mother retells the story of my birth with such pride, I am both disgusted and enthralled. A fighter, a survivor I was, whether I wanted to be or not.
In my early years I knew nothing of what I missed. My life was grocery-store visits, chocolate muffins with chocolate chips, potty-training and crayons and more than anything Momma. My pale skinny Momma with a flat chest and little spaghetti-strap tops. I did not desire anything more, not until kindergarten began. Then I learned of Daddies, what a Daddy was, and what a Momma was supposed to be. Other kids had Mommas with large, voluptuous forms, freckled skin, blouses and big smiles. They had clean little overalls from Oshkosh and juiceboxes for lunch. Oh, but I didn't mind, deliciously oblivious as we all are at that age. I didn't mind.
From here my memory anxiously skips from bit to bit, and I forget whether it is fourth grade I'm thinking of or fifth or even sixth. My memories are isolated snapshots, dusty Polaroids stuffed into dusty filing cabinets. I remember my first kiss, but why, why then? I remember Momma's shocked, tear-streaked face as I ran but why, why, why?
Mr. Anonymous smiles in satisfaction.
"I love you." He doesn't, yet I will pretend to believe him.