It’s empty. Shit, I need another drink. An elbow keeps ramming into my back as a girl drunkenly dances behind me, distracting me from the guy who has cornered me into conversation. I can’t hear what he’s saying over the horrible music, but I’m nodding like I’m interested. I glance around the room for Ryan, pissed that he dragged me here tonight. I can’t say no to him. He’s making a spectacle of himself, dancing with a hot blonde in a low cut tank top, lacy bra barely visible. A pinch of jealousy tugs at my stomach. But I’m drunk.

The guy across from me is touching my arm, leaning in. His eyes are drooping closed, bloodshot and dazed, breath smelling like weed, dripping down my neck. I tug my arm backwards, maybe too aggressively, his touch like poison to my skin. I make an excuse about how my friends are looking for me and stumble away, tottering in the stiletto heels Ryan warned me that I shouldn’t wear. But I wanted to look good. No, I wanted to feel good. No, I wanted to be told that I looked good.

I can’t see. Faces are blurring past me, dark and invisible. Shadows of sweaty bodies, a collective breath convulsing to the beat. I don’t recognize anyone. I’m nearing Ryan, silently pleading with him to leave with me until I make eye contact with the blonde, her smile like a loaded gun. I can’t feel my cheeks, they’re burning, insatiable.

My escape, my saving grace, the door is a few steps away. Minnesota chill is pressing on my neck, drying the sweat that I’m not sure is entirely mine. Each hair on my arms stands at attention, prickling, tingling, burning sensation that starts in my neck and rushes down my spine. A shiver. And then warmth, comfort is wrapping around me. Ryan has taken off his jacket and covered my shoulders.

“I think it’s time for me to head back. I saw you dancing with that girl. Who is she? You gonna leave with her?” The words are slurring out of my mouth before I can stop them. I didn’t do that on purpose. His slight smile is my answer, a laugh, a rush of air. He has no idea what her name is.

I’m turning, walking away, considering pulling off the f***ing shoes as I begin the trek up the hill but I want him to watch me go. I want him to regret it. After one, two, three, four steps I look to see the empty sidewalk behind me.

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