Chapter 3 (a)
I saw myself in the mirror when we had finished. I was a big red drunken blur. My hair shone like a beacon fire. I did not know myself. Lucy giggled at my expression.
I nodded blearily. “Cool. Red.”
“Very red,” she said with satisfaction. “How does it feel?”
I hesitated. How did it feel? “Liberating,” I said, and surprised myself. “Yes. Liberating.” I spoke slowly and carefully: “It is a visible... expression... of my free will and... hidden feelings of... rebellion.” I frowned. “Or something like that.”
Lucy laughed. “Get used to it, woman. Express yourself!”
“I don’t think I’ve got that much to express,” I said apologetically. “I’m really no different from anybody else.”
She poured us each another shot. “Everybody is different. Everybody is screwed up in different ways.”
I drank. “I’m just bored. I go to work, I come home, I sleep. I wake up and do it all again.”
“So don’t!” She drank her own shot, and immediately poured more. “Just start talking. You might be surprised what comes out.”
I rambled. I talked about my childhood and my brothers. I talked about my father, his illness, and how I felt about that. I told her about my job, my self-esteem problems, how I hated every guy in town, how I wanted to do something meaningful with my life but never seemed to have the chance. I told her about high school, being picked on, and pretending to be sick to get away from everybody.
All the while, she sat beside me and nodded. She listened. She sympathised, and more importantly, empathised. She poured us both drinks. After a while she moved closer and held my hand as I talked. Tears ran unchecked down my cheeks, until she brushed them away. I wondered if that was what it was like to have a friend.
Then I stopped talking and she kissed me. Just like that. I had closed my eyes while I talked, and I never saw it coming. Her lips touched mine softly, just for a moment. Then she put her arms around me and I cried until her shirt was soaked.