Christmas has come and gone, and I did get my new hoop. I can’t wait till the snow melts so we can put it up. I’m able to buy presents on my own for the first time ever. I get my sister a box of penny candies. I actually ate all hers and I’m replacing the ones I ate. Whoops. I get my mom a heart shaped crystal dish. It’s beautiful, like her. I get my dad some tools because I really have no idea what else he would want. I get my brother a Guns and Roses tape. He already has it he says but now he has 2.
Augie’s New Year’s Eve party is coming up and I buy myself a new white T-shirt. I can’t wait. Kathy has already invited me over to get ready. She’s going to do my hair and makeup but since her sister will be home, we can’t borrow her clothes.
The day of the party I show up to Kathy’s house and Beth is there. I sit there and let Kathy do my makeup and listen to them talk about all the boys in their grade that they like. Kathy leans over to put eye shadow on me and her boobs are in my face. I look down and realize I haven’t grown any at all. I’m still as flat as I was in fifth grade, I just have a sports bra for show, but it’s not supporting anything.
Beth and Kathy continue talking about who’s going to be at this party and who they want to dance with. Dance?!?!?!?! Oh my god! No one said there would be dancing. I can’t dance. Like, in front of people. While I panic, Sarah and Amy show up to get ready too.
Sarah gives me a hug and says I look nice, Amy says “hi” and sits next to Beth on the bed. I am surprised she’s talking to me at all. I guess since we’re going to the same party, I’m ok for the night. Amy and Sarah are both wearing black miniskirts and tank tops with a sweater over. They match on purpose cause they are best friends.
Beth turns up the music while we sing and finish getting ready. I let her put mascara on me for the first time and I like my look. I might have to ask Augie to grab me one of these on his next trip to Woolworth. I make money now, but mascara is expensive.
We start to walk over to Augie’s, and I pull out a pack of cigarettes I just bought. In one of my neighborhood excursions I found out that the Howard Johnsons down the street has a cigarette machine on the second floor and I buy myself a pack of Marlboro Lights with my babysitting money. I tried one on my own, but I decide that I will only smoke at Augie’s.
Amy’s eyes light up and she asks to bum one. I say sure. I also give one to everyone else and we show up to Augie’s smoking and dressed up. I feel like one of the girls for once. Augie lets us in, and he has the downstairs decorated with the music on already.
He walks us over to the bar and asks what we want. I get whatever everyone else has. Vodka and juice. It’s strong but I sip it slowly and look around. There are a couple other people there. Tony and Elle are laughing on the couch. I walk over and sit with them. They’re telling stories of some Social Studies teacher I might have in the future and how lame he is. I start cracking up.
Augie comes over and asks if we want to dance. Elle and I say not yet but Tony gets up and they start dancing. I look at Elle and she’s just looking at them and smiling. I shrug my shoulders and look around the room. Beth and Kathy are by a group of guys that I didn’t even notice showed up. They’re all laughing, and Kathy sits on one of the boys’ laps.
Elle rolls her eyes and tells me that all those boys are lame. She says they only go for the girly, skinny girls or the ones they can kiss easy. Then she starts to tell me about her gang boyfriend and how much cooler he is. She’s going to meet him later after this party.
She asks if I want another drink and I realize that I barely drank any yet. I say no thank you and she gets up for another glass. I sip my drink and see Amy and Sarah walk out the back door. I could use some air and now there are a number of people dancing and I’ve lost sight of Tony and Augie.
I make my way out the door and I don’t see Amy or Sarah. I do hear crying, so I follow it. It’s Amy. She’s sitting next to Sarah and sobbing. She sees me but she just keeps crying. I offer her a cigarette and she takes it. I light it for her. She takes a pull and starts to calm down. Then she starts to speak to both of us. She can’t go home anymore. She’s had enough, she can’t take it anymore. Sarah is hugging her and looking at her sympathetically. She’s slowly rocking her back and forth.
I wish I could crawl in her lap and she could rock me too. I really miss my childhood best friend, but looking at them now, I realize that Sarah isn’t and won’t be my best friend anymore. Or probably ever again. It feels like she’s outgrown me. It’s okay though. I actually feel fine with it. I want to ask what happened, but I don’t. I don’t want to know.
Augie shows up and I give him a cigarette. He’s beaming and listens to Amy. He said his neighbors just moved out and he thinks there is an empty apartment that is open. We all look at each other and then walk over to his neighbor’s house. Sure enough, the door is unlocked. Amy smiles. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her really smile before. She says it will be perfect for a few nights. We head back to Augie’s party and I sip my drink.
I decide to have a cigarette now and sit outside. It’s almost midnight and then I have to head home. My mom said I had to be home right after midnight. I’m surprised she even let me go at all. I guess that’s the perk of being a third child.
Augie calls out that the ball is about to drop, and I head in and count down with everyone. Happy New Year! Beth and Kathy are kissing their boys. Elle has left to meet her boyfriend. Amy and Sarah peck each other on the cheeks and start giggling, while Augie and Tony are kissing on the stairs. I smile and drink the rest of my cup and leave. Happy New Year.