Stuck in a Glass Bottle

Cassandra Belony

Girls in high school talked about losing their virginities like there was a deadline. “You have to lose it before you graduate,” they would say assembled together in the girls restroom. “Or else guys will never take you seriously in a relationship.”

You would nod in agreement, but really you were terrified. You didn’t know a thing about sex, except what you had seen on HBO. The thought of having sex was not only scary, but hilarious. You didn’t think there was anything sexy about you. You’re taller than the boys in your class. You don’t wear make-up in a mini world of Bratz dolls. Not to mention your natural hair is repellant to every boy that walks your way. You would assume they’ve seen poop in high places by the way they look at you.

Their quality glares make you believe you’re unattractive, but you don’t want to be that girl anymore. The pressure to fit in is unbearable, and being the only girl without a boyfriend is depressing. So when the same group of girls offer you the drug, you try it for the first time.

You begin to follow these girls as a side effect—mimicking their sense of style, the way they walk. You’ve even started wearing make-up and straightening your hair with a flat iron. You giggle every time you hear the word penis. Not knowing what they’re talking about, but taking notes as they share their experiences. Your head is so far up in the clouds, you don’t realize guys are looking at you differently. Like you’re the last entrée on a table.

One in particular is on the varsity football team. He is tall with broad shoulders, a trimmed beard, and a chiseled jawline that defies gravity. He said hi to you once. You didn’t think much of it. Then, he introduced himself. He said his name was Hassan. You put out your hand for a handshake, but he gave you a hug instead. He smelled of Old Spice and Spearmint Gum. The smells tangled in your nostrils like wires. As you broke away from the embrace, he smiled. You didn’t even get a chance to tell him your name before he walked away. The only thing you could do was stare as he turned the corner.

When you saw him again during a class change, you tried to tell him your name. You touched his shoulder to get his attention. His face flashed at you like a heavy light as he turned around. Your mouth didn’t move quickly enough, so you lost him in a crowd of your peers.

Every day you continued to try to talk to him, but something came up—fire drill, early football game, cramps. You finally got to talk to him during a lunch break. You memorized the words in your head as you approached him. Then, your tongue went numb. He cocked his head in a cute way, said “Yes.” In a panic, you babbled incoherent words. He chuckled, a chuckle that made you feel less embarrassed. He assured you, he knows your name. “We had Chemistry, together. Remember?” You nodded your head, but you didn’t remember seeing him in Chemistry class. You changed the subject to fill in the awkward silence. “Football.” He smiled, but didn’t say anything. He just stared at you in an alluring manner. You looked down to avoid eye contact, something you always struggled with. You were about to walk away when he asked if he could give you a ride home. “Buses can be so overcrowded,” he added.

Like a naïve child, you willingly said yes. A yes that made him smile, his dashing smile. A part of your heart melted when he said cool afterwards. You watched as he tore a piece of poster off the wall and wrote down his number. “Call me when you get out of class, so we could meet somewhere,” he said. You were unsure about grabbing the paper. You didn’t know what was more shocking to you: that he wrote his number on a paper like a sixty-year-old or that he ripped someone’s poster from the wall. You grabbed the paper from his hand and responded with a “Cool.” By then, he was halfway around the corner. You stood in awe and watched him walk away, until you realized the bell rung for sixth period.

You couldn’t concentrate in class. Your thoughts were all over the place. “What should I say to him,” you thought. “Maybe we could talk about sports, politics, or clouds.” But as jumpy as your mind was, you still couldn’t think of something. If anything, it made you think of the girls at school. They talked to boys with such ease. With their lips pursed to the ceiling and words fluttering in the boys’ faces like butterflies. You were still trying to gain confidence, so you were not ready for nose touching conversations.

It didn’t stop you from imagining what could happen though. The two of you would be walking to the car. Being the clumsy girl you are, you would stumble on air. He would check up on you, as a kind person should. You would shake it off as if nothing happened and comment on how clumsy you are. He would interject and praise your height. You would pay him no mind, but he would insist. You two would go back and forth about the insecurities of being tall. By the time your voice gets hoarse from debating, you would already be outside your driveway and not even notice it.

You would want to kiss him, leaning your shoulder towards his. You would look at him, and he at you. Then, your lips would touch his. In that moment, you would feel like dancing for no reason (corny as it is). Like that rush in your gut when you achieve something you didn’t think was achievable.

Or that’s what you would want it to feel like, but nothing is ever as imagined. Reality is funny in that way.

He was already in the car waiting for you after school. His face had changed since the last time you saw him. He looked annoyed and in hurry, so you swiftly entered the car. When you asked him how class was, he didn’t give you an answer. Instead, he turned up his radio’s volume and sped out of the school’s parking lot. While in his car, he showed no interest in talking to you. The only thing that spoke were his loud speakers. It was the same song played over again: They hating. Lord knows they hating, but I’m dangerous. Man, I’m too dangerous. He’s a huge Iceberg fan, apparently.

Along with the obnoxious music in the background, his hand roamed faster than the car’s tires. At first, you didn’t think anything of it. You brushed it off as if it was an accident. Then, his hand slipped between your thighs, while marking a sharp turn. “Oh my god, what is happening?” you asked yourself. He smiled at his gesture, his hand still on your lap. It was the same smile from the hallway, but creepier. You begin to realize he wasn’t so cute after all.

He revealed his true ugly self to you in the car. When you said stop the fourth time, he could not take a hint. So you grabbed his roaming hand and twisted it with all your strength. He squealed like a mouse all the way to your driveway. You were relieved to have made it home alive.

Before getting out of the car, you made eye contact with him. Your eyes pierced into his, and his into yours. “Lose my number,” he said abruptly. You gave him the meanest side eye. “Already did,” you responded. You got out of the car without looking back.

The next day at school, you didn’t wear any make-up and braided your hair into two French braids. The glares came back like a long lost foe. You kind of missed it, but you didn’t blink when a group of girls passed by talking about sex. You just walked another direction.

 

Cassandra Belony is a native of Fort Lauderdale, FL. As a writer, she likes to explore topics beyond imagination and real life circumstances. Currently, she is working on a collection of poetry in the perspective of her younger self.