You just bought a new shirt and you feel pretty good about it. You finally feel like you've figured out your own sense of style and who you are and how you fit into the world and, you know what? You feel pretty good about it. Your brother might make fun of you for a little bit but you know he's happy for you.
You spend a lot of time looking at yourself in the reflective tinted window of your childhood home. It's okay, you never look at yourself in the mirror and you deserve it today. Your phone will buzz. Your band mate will text you, saying that he slept all day. You call him and tell him that both of you can eat and drink for free at your uncle's house. He accepts your offer and you go to pick him up.
After spending an hour or so drinking and eating burgers and -- for some reason -- Japanese food (you are not Japanese) you decide to go out to a bar. Somewhere other than here, you think, this place is boring and dead and too rich for your blood.
You step into an old haunt. A bar that no one walks into. But tonight, it's crowded and there's a five dollar cover. You scowl and plead and beg with the bouncer to let you in because you don't have any cash. It doesn't work. You end up charging your card five bucks while buying a cheap beer and a cheap shot for six dollars -- this surprises you because, usually, you can't get that in your town for less than ten bucks.
You and your band mate shoot the whiskey down your throat and you feel that warm feeling run through your veins. It feels good. It doesn't burn anymore. It loosens your spine and your knuckles and you gain a semi-permanent smile (only semi-permanent because tomorrow, you will be hurting). You take a seat down in a booth in the darkest corner and sip your beer. There is terrible dance music playing but people seem to be enjoying it. One man in particular, with long brownish-red hair, held up with the help of some rubber bands is grabbing at the air like it owes him something. Like he wants to hold each molecule of oxygen before he inhales it. He's probably on drugs.
You listen to your friend talk about the girl in the pink dress and how she wants to dance with someone that knows how to dance and how he can be that someone. He's adamant about this. He's laughing and shaking the table and beer is spilling out of his can as he talks about her. You laugh and tell him to get up there but he declines then he urges you to get up there but you decline and then remember you're not in high school anymore. But you still decline.
You decide to leave the bar to find another one but you can't find one that's worth walking into. You both decide to drink and smoke at his aunt's apartment. You stumble a couple blocks up and walk through the door quietly.
You walk into a bedroom and your band mate's cousin is there. You haven't seen him in years. You remember how you all grew up together. He's happy to see you and you're happy to see him. He's sitting there shirtless, in pajama pants, with a gutted cigar in his lap. You know what this means, so I don't need to say it. Your band mate pulls something out of a beanie he keeps under the nightstand and hands it to his cousin. Again, you know what all of this is, so I won't say it.
The room fills itself with smoke and you catch up with your friend's cousin. You talk about the trailer park, the old friends you used to share and what happened to them, and the people you try to avoid. The ones that have pointed guns at you or your friend, the ones that try to start fights because that's all they know and that's all you knew at one point.
You take a deep breath in and start to cough. You have to go to the bathroom. Right around the corner, they say.
Before you leave the room, your band mate grabs your attention. He asks you if you noticed the heater on the table. You laugh and say yeah, what? You've never seen a gun before? He punches you in the arm as you walk out of the room.
The bathroom door isn't really a door at all. It's a hole where a door should be. You try to squeeze through but the broad shoulders you've inherited from your dad hit the sides. You laugh to yourself, you laugh a lot to yourself. You move the piece of wood to block the entrance of the door like that would do anything (it doesn't) but you like the aesthetic of it.
After flushing all the waste from your body down the toilet you wash your face and look at yourself in the mirror. You realize something. You are not the hipster you dress like everyday. You are not an artist or a writer or better than anyone from your hometown.
You are still the (extremely) lower middle-class skateboarder/stoner that grew up in a neighborhood that would make most (by most I mean upper-class [by upper-class I mean white, Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon, whatever] kids) lock their car doors as they drive past. You grew up in a neighborhood that was more afraid of the cops than the people on the street.
You are okay with this. Actually, if you want me to be honest, this makes you feel good. Even though you're slowly making it out and starting a new life, you feel happy and blessed that this is where you came from. And you wouldn't want it any other way.