13. Neon kisses

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"I don't want your body
But I hate to think about you with somebody else
Our love has gone cold
You're intertwining your soul with somebody else" (The 1975)

The club doors opened and the bodyguards started to let people in. After paying our tickets, getting a stamp on our hands and walking through a dark corridor, we finally made it to our table in privè. There were already some people dancing or sitting on the red sofas around the table. My basketball teammates, ex-classmates, strangers I rated on Ask.fm.  After empty conversations and casual smiles, the alcohol came. There was everything from beer to tequila to vodka. I started with Sex on the beach, then a Mojito, then another Sex on the beach. As I was to get a sip of another drink, Dario came to me and put a little pill inside of it.  

    "Drink up, little Pit! You won't regret it, trust me." He raised his glass, "Cheers, assholes!"

    We yelled "woohoo!" and "yeah!" and splashed our glasses one against another. And so I drank. I drank because I wanted to forget why I was here and forget all the faces and all the words. I drank because I wanted to prove something. To them or to myself, I couldn't tell the difference. 

    We ran on the dance floor. The music bombed and bombed and flashing lights blinded me. I couldn't see anything. I didn't want to see. I just jumped and jumped and jumped. And people pushed me and I pushed people. And a girl rubbed her legs against mine, going smoothly up and down. And I let her. I let her do whatever the hell she wanted. She pressed her chest against me and breathed heavily on my neck. And when I put my arms around her hips, her skin was on fire. Her lips were the only thing I could see. The only thing I needed. 

    And then I saw Gaia.

    I knew it wasn't her. It couldn't be. Gaia had big pouty lips and a beauty spot on the right corner of her mouth. I knew how her lips looked like, I knew them better than my fingertips. And Gaia would never dance like that, not with me. I looked up and saw her standing a few steps away, with Diego's lips on her neck.   

    I suffocated. 

    Blurry images flashed in front of me, and all I could think of was Gaia whispering in my ear. What would you do, Pit, If I put a gun to your head? What would you do? I would tell her to pull the trigger. I would tell her to rip my heart out just so I wouldn't feel this pain. The music deafened me, but her words were carved into my skin and running through my bloodstream. I needed to get out.  I pushed people out of my way, I ran, I tried to get through. Sweated bodies squeezed me from everywhere, heels and heavy shoes stepped on my feet. 

    And then I found it. A door that led to the outside. There was a group of girls chattering and smoking and a few couples making out. 

    I leaned on the fence. The calm sea was rolled out in front of me. I breathed in deeply and breathed out. The music wasn't as loud any more and the fresh air mixed with cigarette smoke was filling my lungs. Suddenly someone grabbed my arm and made me turn around.  

    "What the hell?" I yelled.

    "I should be asking the same question!" 

    It was a girl. She had short brown hair and pale, thin lips. She was the one I was dancing with. I looked at her, and without even thinking twice, I grabbed her and pushed her against the wall. I kissed her on the mouth. I moved a little below. I covered her neck with kisses, just like Diego did with Gaia. The girl groaned out of pleasure and laced her legs around me, pulling me closer.

    "I came here for you," she whispered.

    I stepped away and looked at her.

    "I know it's crazy but... this whole summer I've been thinking about you, about our kiss.''


    Now she seemed irritated. "Come on now, Pit, this isn't funny. Don't you remember me? Matilde?"


     I tried to remember where I heard that name, but my head was twisting and my mouth was sore and the world felt like a vacuum machine. 

    "Asshole!" Matilde cried out and slapped me on the cheek. Once I turned around I only saw her shadow as she disappeared into the crowd.

    I went back. Back to the party, to the nauseous music and sweating mass. I sat on the couch and grabbed a drink, squeezed between Diego and Dario blowing smoke rings. Stiff clenched a drunk Clarissa sitting on his thighs, while her best friend and Gaia danced on the table with glasses of cocktail in their hands. I didn't look at them. I didn't look at her. I didn't want to see the way she danced, the way she moved her body. I didn't care about her. I didn't care about anyone. 

I put a joint between my lips and closed my eyes. What the fuck was I even doing here? Who was I trying to impress? A James Dean wannabe, a poet with no poetry. A mediocre hooligan with an empty philosophy. Rebellious like Rimbaud, anguished and vulgar like Esenin. God, what a fucking poser. I didn't even know who I was pretending to be, all I knew is that I hated it. Or maybe not. Maybe deep down I liked it, just a little bit. To sit at this privè table and get blazed and have the music suffocate my thoughts. With my burning cheek, red eyes and the taste of Matilde's lipstick in my mouth.

     I wanted to be witty and creative. Exuberant, provocative.  Maybe that was the problem – I wanted to be too many things. First sceptical and sarcastic, then softer than a bag of marshmallows. I was inconsistent. Well, who the hell is consistent at sixteen? We changed our personalities like underwear, one moment trying to find the smartest words in our vocabulary, and a second later acting stupid in front of our friends. So serious and then so silly. Was it really such a bad thing? To wake up every morning feeling reborn, knowing that whatever we do is fine because tomorrow morning we can be different again. Was it dangerous or was it liberating? Sometimes the lines I wrote in my head tasted artificial in my vocal chords. 

    Gaia got off the table and grabbed my hand. I was too high to react, so I simply followed her to the dance floor. People pushed us apart, but she firmly held my hand. Then she started dancing with Clarissa and Gloria and I just stood there motionless, feeling numb.

    I looked at Gaia, studying the way she moved. How her black skinny jeans were perfect for her long thin legs and the way her large loose white t-shirt bounced every time she moved her chest. She looked me in the eye, she bit her lips. Oh god, was this heaven or was this hell?  

    I saw her shape slowly moving towards me. She laced her arms around my neck, and to her touch my capillaries bounced and burned. Her proximity suffocated me. She seemed calm, but her gaze was so intense I couldn't even feel my bones. Her eyes moved down my lips and I could feel her breathing on my neck. It froze my body like a winter storm.

    Within a few seconds I found her lips on my lips, her skin against my skin. And maybe there are a thousand ways to describe the way she kissed, but all I felt was bittersweet. She made my atoms shake and boiled my heart, but I took a step back and pulled away. I looked at her before turning around, and she just stood there like a hologram. Her body lost between the neon lights, her empty arms slowly falling down. I didn't know if her eyes were still closed or if she saw me disappearing into the crowd.  

    As I pushed through heated bodies, I wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Why the hell did I walk away from Gaia Monforte, the girl I had been dreaming of since the moment I met her? The girl whose lips tasted like Mon Cherie? Maybe I didn't want to kiss her like this, drunk and with someone else's passion on her lips. Maybe I didn't want to kiss her here, where every act of lust at night was a forgotten secret in the morning.  Or maybe, just maybe, there was something else...

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