Michael slumps down in the middle of the road, remembering the girl in the jade dress and the tear it wore on her left ribcage, hinting her skin to Michael, and the world, and Michael’s world. What was her name? She had never said, and Michael, being a quiet man, a wallflower of life itself, who found bravery on the circumference of his comfort zone, never did pluck up the courage to ask her. That’s why her name, to Michael, is Jade. He can only remember the colour of the dress lighting up the irises of her eyes, sizzling in the moonlight that shadowed the trees. To Michael, the woods were silent when she spoke but she was shouting over the noise of their peers – who has already had their beer kisses: the buzz both beer and a kiss can give you, but never does it last long.
Her lips though, he remembers well. He enjoyed the way she moved her mouth when she laughed, like tender cherries cutting through the breeze, or tiny red swords of lipstick that glistened under the glow of the stars. Perhaps she laughed for a few seconds or more at what Michael had said, but he couldn’t remember speaking at all. He was hypnotised, almost like magic and he was frozen and someplace else. She began to move away with the bottle of beer she held in her ballerina hands: feminine and delicate, steady as opposed to her shaky, unbalanced steps. She was the only girl at the party that held a bottle of beer, Michael had noticed. The other guy, obviously, had noticed too – maybe that’s why he dragged her off to take a walk together, leaving Michael standing alone, in a sea of gossip, smoke and loud party music that he had never clicked with. Each time a rock song plays, he might find his foot tapping to the rhythm, watching his feet, avoiding the glass that lies dead on the ground. Michael can relate to that glass, they were both forgotten about, ignored, invisible and broken and avoided by everyone’s unsteady steps.
Then everyone was dancing, careless, unlike Michael, still waiting for Jade to return – not so Michael can have his chance again to speak and watch her lips blow bubbles again like her words float like bubbles, or watch the deep breaths she takes before she speaks. No, Michael just wanted to feel that electricity again when he is in her presence. She has that effect on him. Michael always thought of that as an exaggeration that people lie about – those sensations, because all they want is sex. It is all that matters to them, and with Michael’s innocent, untouched mind, this nerved him. Even alcohol was new for Michael, he’d much rather be home, writing songs with his guitar that he would never share with anyone, only for his own eyes and ears and mind, and then he would drown himself with the emotions he wanted to investigate so badly.
And when Jade returned, so did Michael, out of the trance he found himself in, in the middle of a crowd that all moves the same, in sync with one another, touching each other with intimate hands, sharing beer kisses and fresh lust. But the guy wasn’t with her; the tear of her dress was, just beneath her under arm and she looked panicked, frantic. Her wide eyes skim the party, look directly at Michael who is now blurry in his vision but immediately recognises the green shades of her eyes and she opens her mouth slightly, ready to blow balloons again.
That’s when the party stops, because the gunshot was louder than the music and the shape of the crowd was poisoned with fright.
She wasn’t blowing bubbles anymore, or balloons.
Michael found himself running, in the crowd of stumbles and stutters, fleeing for silence. The road is his best bet and Bradley, who persuaded Michael’s wild side to take a risk tonight, is nowhere to be seen. Michael has no ride home and so he finds himself walking on an empty road, alone, covered in darkness and feeling lucky that he is wearing a black shirt to camouflage himself in the shadows, for the shooter could be anywhere in these woods, and Michael knew, as soon as saw the tear on her ribs that a party in the woods was a bad mistake. And Michael, never can forgive himself now for getting caught up in that hoard of people and for not following the girl in the jade dress. She is part of that glass now: the dead glass that lay on the ground, and she is a part of Michael’s nightmare and why? She obviously wasn’t ready for the exaggeration that people lie about – for those sensations, because all they want is sex. She wasn’t like that; she was the girl with the bottle of beer, an outcast like Michael, Michael who finds himself waiting under the stars for the slightest glimpse of a friendly face to regret those beer kisses with, to have beer kisses with. Jade – a true beer kiss.