So Mariasha tells me we are going to a party a friend of hers is throwing. Triste? I can’t think of her name, she’s a friend of hers so I know she’ll look similar. Mari surrounds herself with girls that look like her, red-boned, thick, and with big hips. Made for labor, my dad’s joke.

I have the hips and breasts of a boy, but I wear clothes two sizes too small to accentuate what little I have, according to Mari. She hates me. I mean if we’re being honest, she hates my dad, though. Which makes perfect sense. Her mom only had time for her and her brother. Her mom also looked like her, thick and red, but then in comes my dad with bedroom eyes and meaty hands on her mom’s plentiful hips. Then all of a sudden her mom doesn’t have time and she is 5 sizes smaller than her.

I mean her own mom.

I bet she was jealous too. That her mom had a dick that wanted to stay, instead of getting inside her in the dark, and sneaking out before the sun revealed her.

Then his skinny high yellow, regal (according to her own grandmother), daughter comes into the mix, and all the boys who made promises in the dark suddenly want her attention during the day, but not for her, to meet her aristocratic stepsister.

I’m not trying to be an elitist, simply just laying the tracks for the story.

The day of the party comes around. I put my smallest shirt on. It makes me look like I have boobs and hips, and says something sarcastic and bitchy on the front of it. I put on some lip gloss so the guys will dream about my lips. My step sister’s twin brother, Eros, walks by and unlike the little bit of attention he sprinkles on her every once in a while, his eyes cannot get enough of me. I watch him in the mirror as his eyes eat up my body. I know he’d pick me up and take me to his room, if he could. I think of all the times I’ve seen him shut his door in her face and lock it. He wouldn’t do that to me.

I meet his eyes; he smirks and walks away.

*

At the party, everyone is trashed. Kool-aid, vodka, and moonshine. Mari refuses to let me drink, so I sneak a few gulps of Smirnoff Ice that’s going around when she goes upstairs to the bathroom. Then it’s time for the show. Mari grabs my hand and leads me outside to the backyard where everyone was dancing. The bidders stand in a circle around us, everyone else goes into the house. She smiles and waves her hands around me, bringing the bleary-eyed attention of the bidders to my assets. I smile, the coquette, and I look demurely to the ground. Letting them know how inexperienced and pure I am.

She lifts my hand in the air and tells me to twirl. I do as I’m told. I hear whistles and claps as the bidders show their appreciation. I look up at Mari every so often and her smile is getting bigger and bigger. She is beaming. Taking in all the praise thrown in our direction, soaking it in. Her hips sway from side to side. She licks her lips. If someone stepped from the crowd for her, she would drop to her knees, in gratitude. It’s her twin, walking up to the circle, to enjoy the show that snaps her out of her dream.

His eyes dance. His smile taunts her.

Her face falls. Her hips stop and straighten. She drops my outstretched hand and takes what dignity she has left and gives a small, closed-mouthed smile. A shadow of my coquette. Then she turns and walks away.

The dancing continues. I am a terrible dancer, I confess, so I decline offers. That doesn’t deter the boys. One in particular, whom my number was given to and I assume meant he was the highest bidder, turns his hat backwards, turns the music on at the loudest setting, and sends everyone from the dance floor. As I see him touch the back of his hat once again and square his feet evenly with his shoulders and lift his feet from heel to toe as if he is warming up, I wonder, with his bright red shirt and shoes, if he and my step sister had made a decision before this party, and if so, what did he pay her with? Money, weed, a pity dick? I don’t know, but I stand transfixed. He raises his arms and partakes in his winner’s dance. All eyes on him and the words to the Lil’ Wayne song proclaim the boon he seeks.

As I take in the incomplete gerunds, the half words, as I take in all that I am supposed to be, I stumble back and to the bathroom inside. I look at my high cheekbones, my high yellow skin, my green eyes, my straightened hair tied up in a ponytail, and my fragile collar bone that is not meant for any kind of labor. My father once told me to be with a man that treated me well. The kind of man who would care for me as a gardener took care of his most precious flowers. “I know with my marriage falling apart, it’s hard to trust my word, but you shouldn’t be with a man who doesn’t take care of you,” is what he told me before picking up his cell and answering a text from his “friend,” who made him smirk and adjust his pants two minutes later.

I know Mariasha’s father never gave her advice like that. I knew by the way she gazed longingly at my father when she thought no one was paying attention to her.

Looking at my eyes dilated in the mirror, I ask myself, had my father ever danced for a woman? Had a man ever danced for Mariasha?

No.

I take my lip gloss from my pocket and apply it to my lips. It’s called Hot Mouth Shelly, how appropriate. I lean over the bathroom counter and kiss the cold reflection. Then I turn and saunter outside to watch my victor dance for me.

Rebekah Blake currently lives in Virginia Beach. She is a Black American mother and sister. When she can find time, she loves to read Toni Morrison (rest in peace mother), Simone de Beauvoir, and Amy Hempel. She identifies as an existentialist and loves to watch movies and shows that make her cry or that scare her enough to keep her up at night. She’s been published in Adelaide Literary, The Opiate, Bridge Eight, The New Southern Fugitives, Brief Wilderness and has upcoming publications in Midnight and Indigo and A Room of Her Own.
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