“I’m young, dumb, and full of cum.” A breathy college student yelled her motto in the yellow light of the Richard Bey Show set as she squeezed her tits. She sported too much moose and not enough neutral tones; her big toes hung over her open-toed shoes. It wasn’t summer, but the freaks were out. And, I was one of them.
Free tickets to the show were passed under dorm room doors. My friend Christina, a lover of all the guys on the football team who would forever be just one of the guys, phoned me as the car was loaded. “Common. Just come.” That was really all I needed to climb into a car full of cute boys. I’d never been to the taping of a show; I’d also never heard of this Richard Bey character, but it was procrastination and better than the Butler Library.
When full-o-cum girl unleashed her motto, she was standing, looking for affirmation in the eyes of a young crowd. If someone were beside her, she’d have expected a high-ten. Oh wait, that was her boyfriend sitting beside her. While he was tall and more built than I would have anticipated, there was something small and sad about him. He had a right to feel insecure about their relationship, and he certainly had the right to leave. But he stayed, looking down as he kicked at his Timberland shoes. I imagine he went to sleep beside her that night, biting the inside of his lip, worried, less about her, and mostly about why he stayed. Then he’d shut the bedside lamp and swallow when she said she loved him. He’d soon be a nineteen-year-old boy with erectile difficulty, until his next encounter with a better-suited leading lady who he’d still never love as much.
Vertigo, a woman beside the moose-head couple, had one curler in her hair where I imagined bangs to be. Vertigo was jealous, worried her boyfriend Gazpacho was sleeping with her half-sister’s cousin’s manager at Wings and Things. So, Vertigo carried Gazpacho’s pager, cell, passwords, and scrotum in her purse. While I felt sorry for Summer-Teeth-Gazpacho for having such a controlling girlfriend—and because he was named after a cold appetizer—I felt worse for Vertigo… because I knew exactly how she felt.
I was surged with a pulse in my throat, ready to stand up and say my piece, to tell Ms. V her jealousy stems from insecurity, and she should pivot her focus toward herself. Jealousy will accompany you to any relationship, like your hands, teeth, and odor. It’s part of who you are until you work at it. I was ready to say just that when I was suddenly standing with a microphone and lights on my face. “Yes, this is directed to that girl with the roller. I forget your name.”
And as fast as that, everything stopped, the way you imagine it to in those time travel books. I froze under the iridescence, feeling like carnival food under a heat lamp. I stood in a spot of yellow silence; nothing moved, except my eyes as they darted, hoping to spot the thought that had just escaped like a convict. Surely there was a card some applause grip would be holding to help me out. But there was nothing for seconds, not a sound, just the inhale of the audience as they waited for me to get to the point. Instead of my comment, the air filled with a sound bite: SHUT. UP. The shut-up sound effect blasted me, buckling my knees into a seated position. I knew I was red, and I felt mortified.
It was worse, even, than the time in Mexico, in my bikini, when I slid down an enormous slide into the ocean, and I got the worst wedgie of my life as my ass scraped the ocean floor. When I came to my feet, my entire ass, save for the bathingsuit-stuffed crack, was exposed to the crowd of onlookers. Thankfully then, I had something to say as I emptied a pocket of sand from my vagina, “That’s a new one. I don’t just have a sand wedge; I’ve got a sandbox.” My boyfriend at the time repeated the story for months, even to his parents, but at least I was able to laugh at myself. I punned with ‘box,” which, to me, was as funny as midgets.
In the car ride home, we recounted the events, hitting one another with, “wait, how about…” No one mentioned my mute move. “I can’t believe I just stood there and didn’t say anything.” I finally said aloud.
“Well what were you going to say?” Christina prompted as she eyed me through the rearview mirror.
Then I realized, it could have been worse. I could’ve been in one of those relationships with a wretched case of stage fright, just sitting there, unable to do anything.
“It doesn’t matter. What’s up with the curler in the hair move?”