“Are you sure you don’t want me to do your hair or makeup?” Indy must have asked me for the tenth time in the bathroom as she was getting herself ready. “Yeah I’m sure.” I whispered back as I sat in the barely lit room. “But Starry when you go to a club you’re supposed to make yourself look better.” She insisted not giving up on her inclinations as she looked at my reflection in the mirror. “Fine but I’ll do it myself.” I grumbled as I stood up and went searching in her collection of makeup. “Ohh you can use that one. I haven’t used it yet since its not really my color but it would be perfect for you.” Indy chimed in while my hands uneasily pushed around cases of eye shadow that was mixed in a sea of liners, brushes, and lipsticks. I held up the eyeliner that she had motioned to, to find a deep blue that was a few shades shy of being a navy blue. It was a pretty color and reminded of the sky after a sunset when it got completely dark out.
“Ok this is what I am going to use.” I whispered as Indy looked shocked “But what about lipstick or some blush or even some foundation?” She questioned quietly as she began to pull what I guessed where those items out as she named them off. “One lipstick comes off too easy from what I can tell since you are always putting it on and checking it, two I don’t want to look like a clown, and three I’m not having any breakouts right now so what’s the point? I think I’ll be just fine with this and only this.” I replied holding the eyeliner up to her face before I turned around and attempted to apply it. My results were not as disastrous as I thought they would have been as I looked at myself in the mirror afterwards as I silently thanked my steady hand to my past hours of painting and drawing.
“So how about we pick out an outfit for you now?”
The music was pumping and the bass could be heard from the outside as we walked through the crowded parking lot weaving through the parked cars. There was a crowd of kids from our school waiting outside I guess for their parents or ride, but we were just heading in.
Excitement riddled through my body while we paid the cover charge and had our hands stamped. I still wore my favorite pants and skirt though I had let Indy dress me in one of her shirts. “If we get split up at all text me Starry.” Indy reminded me as we both took in the inside of the club. All sorts of berries were dancing on the dance floor in a way that would have made our father have a heart attack if he ever caught us dancing like that. Different colored lights lit the way as globes that hung suspended from the ceiling projected shaped colorful lights on the dance floor and dancers while a fog pumped from unknown places to float aimlessly amist it all.
There were cute guys all around and pretty girls that dressed like my sisters were just as equally in abundance. As high as my heart had risen in excitement it was plummeting now as an all too familiar feeling was starting to come back. Maybe I should have left Indy fix me up. I thought miserably as I caught a glimpse of an unfamiliar face that for lack of words was stunning. What guy would want to dance or even talk to me when there are girls like that around? Nervously my hands searched for my hoodie sleeves to pull them down over my hands but all they found was my bare arms as I remembered that Indy had talked me into leaving it at home leaving me feeling more exposed than I actually was.
“Starry are you ok?” Indy asked over the music and for a moment I couldn’t answer her. What was I going to do ruin her fun time because once again I was feeling the title of outcast that I had worn proudly was now suffocating me? “I’m fine! Let’s check this place out!” I answered her as I tried to push those feelings behind me. Without answering Indy eagerly nodded and motioned with her head to follow her. The place was huge with multiple floors, one including a lounge with a bubble bar.
It didn’t take long for Indy to be asked to dance by a good looking guy and they headed to the dance level. But not before checking with me to see if it was alright and a promise that as soon as the dance was over she would be right back. So alone in the club I stood there watching what seemed like everyone else having the time of their lives. Why did I even bother? I couldn’t help but wonder to myself as my hands went in search of my sleeves again to pull the down but they weren’t there and my mood began to darken. So far out of my comfort zone I just wanted to go home but instead I tried to wait it out until Indy came back.
Standing next to the bar that was selling non-nectar drinks I idly watched, bored out of my mind lacking the self-confidence to just go out there myself and dance alone. Time slipped by slowly as I barely noticed the guy approaching me. He looked like he was from Wisteria and Porfirio’s class I guessed since I knew he wasn’t from mine and he didn’t look like he could belong to a younger class. But I wasn’t sure since I never saw him at school before even though he looked oddly familiar, like I had known him from somewhere.
With his red hair ending in purple tips he was kind of cute, I had to admit even to myself as he kept walking toward me and I could feel my cheeks being to redden in a warm sensation that spread across them. Nervously I looked down focusing on the floor in front of me, anything to look away and not appear like I have noticed him coming my way before a pair of red sneakers with purple laces entered my sight. Oh my berry he’s going to ask me to dance or something. My eyes slowly began to make their way up from his sneakers to his face as they traveled along his crimson jeans to his partial tucked in shirt. Or he is just going to ask you to move so he can order a drink. I couldn’t help but also spitefully think.
He starred with a hardened look at me for a moment, hesitating as he chewed on his lip and narrowed his eyes. “Uhhh…” He started to say before he cleared his throat. I should have let Indy give me a makeover instead of just taking a random thing of eyeliner and having my own go at it, I thought to myself again.
Ok maybe a smile would help? Indy always smiling at the guys she likes when they talk to her and they seem to like it. I rationalized to myself as I tried to smile at him but I got the feeling that I was failing horribly at it. What I had hoped would be an encouraging smile I saw in a mirror was as just about as awkward as my whole existence was.
“You’re Indigo’s sister?” The guy asked me over the music as if he was expecting me to deny it. Not what I was expecting, ok I really wasn’t expecting him to whisk me off my feet as he carried me to the dance floor but come on. Did Indy really have to get every guy?
“Yeah, what? Not happy and shiny enough for you? Can’t wrap your head around the fact that I don’t have permanent smile a like she does?” I replied sarcastically after I felt my face literally fell “No, it’s just… You know what? Never mind I didn’t want to talk to you anyway.” He replied briskly before he walked away as he stuffed his hands into his pockets.
Whatever, I’m done here. I thought to myself as I scowled at him walking away as I tore my eyes off of him to send a text to Indy to let her know that I was walking home. I didn’t want to really bother myself with trying to find her because she would know something was wrong and eventually get it out of me. No, I didn’t want to see her only to explain that I briefly unsuccessfully met a guy that was really cute and like always when a guy approached me it was about her yet again? Another reminder how my expectations versus reality seemed to never be aligned, I was so stupid to think that an older cute guy could ever be interested in me
The night air greeted me with force as a cool wind blew from across the waves salting the air with its scent. It was almost empty outside with everyone else having fun dancing the night away inside the club, everyone but me and him, that guy.
“Fudge” I muttered to myself feeling surprised at the curse that had carelessly slipped from my mouth but hating the fact that a guy I barely knew could make me this angry. He just stared, watching me with his eyes narrowed as before. So I obviously stared back while making a not so sweet face at him, challenging him to ask me another question about my sister as I wistfully thought that he was really cute and sooo not her type. Without out a second glance back he left going in the opposite direction that I had to walk home, I felt a sense of relief flood my mind and body as it clashed with the known feeling of disappointment. I wish I could have known your name though.
Walking home brought almost complete silence that washed away the loud confusion that the booming music of the club had offered. The town was so quiet at this hour almost as if it had been deserted and walking through it was like I was the only one left in the world. The only thing that was missing was some fog but it was too close to summer for it to roll in. It brought forth some strange comfort as I pulled my arms around my body refusing to shiver from the late night breeze that wound around me.
I liked the quietness that night had to offer, it was peaceful with only the waves in the background lending forth their sound the sound of the clubs bass couldn’t be heard as a reminder of how once again I failed at being a normal teen. There were no cars, no people, or anything just me and the night.
My house was almost equally as dark as the sky; everyone was in bed or in Indy’s case still out. Crossing the yard I quietly slide open the back door, barely making any noise. Though if my mother was not here I would have been able to waltz through the front door and make all the noise I wanted with my father’s heavy sleeping. It was her that I had to keep from waking as I quietly crept towards the stairs hoping that as I climbed them.
By the time I made it to my room I was wired with adrenaline. I did it! I thought to myself as I flipped the stereo on so it could quietly play. I did it; I had snuck out like probably everyone that I went to school with had. Maybe I was normal after all. I ironically thought to myself with the beginnings of a smile that threatened to bloom into a full one as I sat down at my desk and began to type out an email of the somewhat failing that tonight had offered to my cousin Shadow Sea.
True to her word Wisteria and Midnight were back together by the end of Tuesday, much to my father’s dismay. It was also very much to his dismay that they stayed together through the rest of the school year and through graduation. As our father took pictures of my siblings in their cap and gowns my mother quietly hinted toward him that they might eventually settle down together which was of course something that our father did not want to hear one word of.
I guess it was kind of hard on him having Wisteria and Porfirio graduating High School already with Indy and I quickly following at their heels. Two weeks after the ceremony as summer was just beginning he drove up the driveway in a brand new car. It was blue and a convertible. The kind of car that just screamed I’m going through a midlife crisis. I scornfully thought to myself as I eyed it. If my mother was irritated by the sudden purchase she didn’t show it all she remarked was how it would be perfect for a drive up along the coast this summer while Indy and I went to visit our uncle’s family in Briocheporte.
Although it didn’t always turn out that way as a few days later our father approached me in an unusual way. “You’re not like most of the girls your age Starry.” He started to say before he loudly cleared his throat nervously as I rolled my eyes and replied “Tell me something I don’t know already dad. Shall I count the ways I am nothing like either of my sisters”
“That’s not what I meant Starry Night. What I’m trying to say Starry is that you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and out of all my girls I trust you the most to make the right decisions. That’s why I’m letting you go out to Briocheporte without your sister this time.” My father said as he said down next to me with a sigh. “What is Indy going to be doing this summer then?” I questioned in surprise hoping that it wouldn’t change his mind as I tried to push out the thought that he trusted me the most since I never had a boyfriend because guys don’t look at me that way. A month without my sister in a place where no one knew the either of us, a place that would hopefully be a fresh start after next school year.
“Well she wanted to go visit your mother’s family in fondant fields, staying at their family farm.” He replied the answer still surprised him as much as it surprised me. “Indy wants to go to the farm?” I asked even more surprised than before. “Yeah she wants to see some of your cousins there and see some of puppies that your mom’s family dog has just had the other week, which is fine by me if she wants to take a sabbatical to your mother’s family farm instead of the city.” He explained as it began to sink in a little bit further and I stopped listening as I started to drift away with all the possibilities of what this summer could be.
It was only a 30 minute at the most train ride to Briocheporte but my father seemed to be regretting his decision before I was supposed to board as my saint of a mother’s patience began to wear thin as she remarked under her breath that I was seventeen and quite old enough to take the train into the city now. And with that they gave me both one last hug before I picked up my bag to finally get on the silver train that would take me far from the town that I struggled to grow up in for a peak of my future in the city that was well known to make or break you.
I saw my cousin before he saw me as the train pulled into the station, Shadow Sea didn’t look any different from the last time I saw him. Still void of color so much like his grandmother on his mother’s side with the allusive white colored irises that were rarely seen in our family, a remnant of a reminder of our first ancestor that had come here from a faraway country. “Shadow Sea!” I called to him as I got off the train as his eyes were slow to fall upon me in hearing my voice. “Shadow!” I said loudly as I got closer to him and he finally looked in my direction
“Oh there you are. Come on my parents are waiting, here give me your bag.” He requested as he held out his hand with mocked impatience as a crooked smile crossed his face “Who do you mistake me for, Indy? I can carry my own bag Shadow Sea. Thank you very much.” I replied tartly as I stuck out my tongue at him and made a face. “You know I hope you have a good time with the guest bedroom and all. Since it will be the last time you’ll be staying in it because believe it or not I’m going to be a big brother in a couple of months.” Shadow confided with a wink before quietly saying as I grabbed his arm in surprise “Look there’s my ‘rents, just act surprised when they tell you.”
It didn’t take long to fall into to a comfortable routine with my relatives as I stayed with them on their waterfront home. My Aunt Alliesort literally glowed with a happiness that could have only meant one of two things as my mother would say. The years seemed to melt away with that glow and Uncle Ashen was ever affectionately attentive to my Aunt to put it appropriately. Shadow Sea loudly remarked to me that he should have visited me this summer instead one morning that his parents were being especially affectionate in the kitchen as we came down for breakfast one morning.
Often we would head out to lose our selves in the vast urban jungle otherwise known as Briocheporte. Shadow Sea fiddled with his camera as we were hanging out one day. Sitting on a concrete block outside of a skyscraper that from where I sat looked as if the top of it punctured the sky. “You’re not taking my picture right? Shadow…”
“Hold on let me focus. I just got this thing today, kind of really an upgrade from my other camera Starrah. And yes I promise not to take your picture right now” He replied without even taking the camera away as he just continued to mess around with the settings.
“Shadow how about you focus? How can anyone expect to talk to you with you holding that in front of your face?” I asked as boredom began to crossed the lines into irritation. My pockets were almost completely empty save for some money on me. I wished that I could be able to see into the future because had I known that Shadow Sea decided to spend this long behind his camera I would have brought something to distract me as the people that were busy walking to and from their jobs dressed in their work clothes provided no relief as they all seemed to blend into each other in their muted tones.
“You sound just like my mom Starry. She won’t even let me take my video camera out of the house anymore unless it’s for school.” Shadow Sea said back to me and I could barely see him rolling his eyes in discontent with being barred for using something that he like me and my painting felt passionate about. But as I leaned against the concrete as shifted my weight I felt little sympathy for him and his situation.
“Alright its focused! So many neat options with this one, hey Starry look over here for a moment” Shadow Sea said as I looked back over to him and the camera flashed. “Shadow Sea you know how much I hate getting my picture taken!” I said exasperatedly as I punched him fiercely in his arm. “Ouch! I forgot you don’t hit like a girl” He grumbled though with a smile as he rubbed his arm before he suggested that we get a bite to eat at this little hole in the wall place that served Tahitian food.
It was dark though the lights in the city proved otherwise as it was illuminated enough to make it seem like day during the night. Shadow Sea and I wove through the crowds on the street trying to get to the subway station in time to catch the last train that would take us from downtown back to his parents’ house. There were a lot of oddly dressed berries out that night though Shadow Sea acted like nothing was out of the ordinary with them. But I guessed he must have noticed the confused look on my face as he looked back to grab my hand so he could navigate us through the crowds more efficiently. “Street performers, you’ll probably end up going to school with a few of them. It’s how some of the students make money, instead of getting actual jobs. As some of them say “its living art.” ” He explained when I stopped for a moment in a fit of curiosity as I starred up at them in wonderment
There were several that had been set up and painted to look like living statues that stayed stationary only moving to go into another pose. Shadow Sea had to work harder to pull me away from those; it was almost like being in another word the city at night. “Starry come on, we’re going to miss the last train and then we’ll have to walk back to my house. By the time we get back my dad will have already called yours and we’ll both be grounded.”
“Shadow Sea don’t be such a stick in the mud this is so neat! I want to be a statue.” I said in awe as I continued to stare up at the painted berries while they continued to hold their poses. But the golden one in front of me looked down with his eyes as he stayed stationary with the rest of his body and winked at me. “Don’t be a statue.” My cousin replied without even looking at me as he scowled up at the golden guy. As we left and walked down the street being passed by, by mustard yellow taxi cabs I defiantly said back to him “ You know,I think I could be a statue.”
“No Starry, you can’t because I won’t ever let you.” Shadow said just as stubbornly as he begun to search his pockets for money to buy our train tickets. “I could soooo be a statue Shadow Sea.” I countered wondering what exactly he had against them but all he did was sigh irritatedly before we sat in silence the whole way home.
“I’m surprised Shadow stuck around long enough for you to get a good look at them.” Aunt Alliesort mused with a smile. “Mom don’t, no one wants to hear that story.” Shadow Sea complained as he crossed his arms against his chest. “Did Shadow ever tell you about the first time he saw one of those ‘statues’?” my Aunt asked as Shadow Sea sat down in a huff, looking annoyed as ever. “No, no he didn’t.” I answered unable to help myself from smiling even when Shadow Sea shot me a glare.
“Well he was between 5 or 6 years old his father and I took him with us downtown for a night out together since there was a Peas & Carrot Live show that night, you remember that television show? Well we came across the statues and they were standing so still at that moment, they must have just turned a pose right before we came along. Little Shadow just walked up to one and watched one as if he was trying to figure out why all the adults were standing around looking at them, when the one in front of him suddenly moved into a pose that brought him eye level to Shadow. He booked out of there, I never saw him run so fast. Your uncle and I had to chase after him for almost two blocks. He was almost at the train station by the time we caught up with him. Ever since then Shadow always disliked them.” She ended with a chuckle as Shadow protested “Do you really need to tell that story every time someone mentions those things? Besides I’m not afraid of those things… um berries.”
That night as I got in to bed in the guest bed room I couldn’t wait to attend Art School in the city. And I didn’t care what Shadow Sea said, I was going to be one of those statues at least just once. All I had to do was apply to attend there, graduate and hope that I got in.