colored lights at night

Because the Night

By Violetta Leigh on August 9, 2016

Adrian woke up face-down and reeking of Chanel. The chaos of Saturday night careened into Sunday morning confusion. In the aftermath, she lay at the edge of her bed with one arm dangling off the mattress. One platform hung off her right foot. Her fingers splayed around the neck of a wine bottle strewn on the floor. The belt she had worn last night was flung over her vanity, the brass buckle tapping the mirror. Behind her, the window gaped open, its screen laying flat in the center of the room. Somehow, last night or this morning, she had crawled into her bedroom through the window. She couldn't recall her thought process on that decision.

She sat up. The hangover crashed down with the fury of a thunderstorm. The night had been worth it, she was sure. She couldn't remember, but she was sure.

She had waited so long to turn nineteen. After her birthday in April, she moved away from the gaping void that was Nanaimo to the big city of Vancouver. She was a week shy of having lived there for six months. She didn't know that many people yet.

Had she made any new friends last night?

Pain radiated through her skull. She held her head in her hands. A moan rippled through her. She needed water, but questioned her ability to make it to the kitchen without hurling. When the pounding in her skull diminished, she raised her face, ready to confront the morning. A white oval in the mirror caught her gaze; her hair stuck out in a frenetic black nest. Beneath old makeup her skin was pale, with lipstick smeared across her mouth like a wilting bloom. Eyeliner smudged her left eye black, while the dregs of makeup on her right eye stretched to the tip of her eyebrow. She was a fucking mess.

Closing her right eye, she licked her thumb and pulled her eyelid towards her ear, rubbing the streak away. She stood. A memory struck her.

Adrian perches, dainty, on the edge of the old, plush stool at her vanity desk. Pulling at one eyelid, she strokes black makeup across it. The record player spins vinyl at her right elbow. She repeats the words of the singer under her breath. Patti Smith – rock-and-roll goddess – eases her whiskey-toned moans through “Horses.”

Adrian's lips find the sour mouth of the wine bottle. Cheap, but effective. She checks the time on the wall clock. The show starts in an hour. Up, she grabs a leather belt from its peg on the wall and tightens it in one movement around the inversion of her waist.

The fabric of her memory hung ragged, moth-nibbled, unraveled, and incomplete. She recalled last night's bright blurs of bar signs. O, kaleidoscope of neon, red letters of lit signs stretched taut above her head. Propped outside a familiar bar, cigarette draped from two fingers, she had inhaled. The indent of her lower lip a left half-kiss on the filter of the cigarette. She remembered these images like flipping through a stack of photos. Each print clear, but disjointed from the cinematic event of the previous evening. [...]

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