Her Intravenous Vanity

Posted on May 24, 2011

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About the night.

Seriously. She?

Haven’t you heard it? She’s got a disease.  -Guy A-

There was an undertone of assertion in his words as he whispered me a rumor about you. I’m not telling you who exactly this person is. You know him and chances are he would no longer be in your friend list had you hear the full version of the story.

The words reached me long after the last time you and I had seen each other at Cory’s farewell party, where we reserved a three room suite that offered half of the company to pack inside its spacious living room. We were busy putting up dance floor out of real loose bunch, spontaneous pantry bar and DJ booth. It felt as though everyone was born with a bottle in hand and grew up by rolling joints, surging laughters and physical movements that lacked of etiquette we called dance. Unlike you, I had no guts to just dive in and get wasted. A qualm came over me, reminded me I’ve had enough of a sorry college story of passing out and struggling to guess which one was up or down. To some extent, some kind of social anxiety has prohibited me from getting too much of a party.

My attention was split between the scene inside the room and you who were sitting on the couch loosely, smoking, throwing lewd jokes everybody could possibly appreciate. There was I, with digital camera as my only solace, enjoying the winning sensation of humiliating people in silence until someone told me to be careful not to capture too much of dangerous actions — whatever that meant. If it hadn’t been because of the video I shot, I could have never remembered that moment when I slouched myself on that couch, that time when you lit your cigarette and sticked another one into my mouth.

Around midnight, everybody began to take apart manners and got lost in the move. I pressed the shutter button more often, capturing the guys who did out of control air steps or gays and girls who struck poses and cleavage show-offs. You were getting really cheerful and unusually friendly. The moment we were going to take a group photograph — I wasn’t the one in charge of it — I was sucked into the couch with you leaning closer and before then cupping my shoulder and burying your face inside the crook of my neck to lick it. I could never forget those lips that brushed my skin with such intention, the ones that were said to have got it on with so many people. I placed my hand on your black dress and smoothed the wrinkles on it because I couldn’t think about a more creative hand placement.

I couldn’t quite remember when the others went home, leaving only few of us. You emptied up glass by glass before began to talk nonsense and got up from the couch. Your weary look was incapable of any emotion, but did I see you exhaling breath in anguish? I helped you putting your plastic glass on the table, leaving your self-prepared cocktail exposed to the air.

And then the five of us, still in clamorous laughters left the living room looking for you, whom we caught sitting at the window sill with your cell phone. With that lovely drunk expression, you giggled and jumped to the single bed, followed by us. We rolled together like little kids but you were the drunkest one with tantrums. Lying at the side edge of the bed you frowned very closely at your cell phone, muttering some words while dandling your black bob head before tripping on the tangle of bed sheet and finally plopped down to the carpet. You rolled over the floor, kicked shamelessly and let everyone watched you drunk dialing somebody. I heard the ‘ex’ word. You won’t remember how hard you hit the carpet, but somehow I still have the bruised feeling inside.

Close to breakfst hour, you went home with three others. As you headed for the front door, you took me by my arm and asked if I was leaving too. I said I was going to stay, but I couldn’t resist to drop you by the elevator door.

About the rumor.

She has gone a little tamer these days. Well, she’s learned her lesson. -Guy B-

The day somebody told me the rumor about you, I didn’t pay too much attention to the disease part. I was instead centralizing on the prejudice let out by that person, as a confession of his character. But just like any other rumors, it was not about truth, nor it was about something that have spread with regard for its origin. Most people usually manage to stay around rumors to be the center of the power. And the whole concept is, if you want to avoid the loss of influence and prestige, just adore the shining power of drama and pass it on, like spiderweb, as vast as you can. Only, for some reason I had a hard time associating this one with anything such like prestigious feel.

I sucked at enunciating things when people imply something rather the opposite of my view. I tended to be the silent lamb, the one who had been molested. And then I would secretly wish I could give my opponent an intriguing response, or a scoff, with some enlightening arguments that reflect my opinions and feelings. But at the same moment, I also wished I could talk to someone else who did so much better about this so I too could be noble and wise. Just before my mad thoughts brought me to endless chain of speculations, the gossip guy shifted the topic. He then yakked about his boss who was being bitchy and all. I looked at his nose, which was slightly bigger than average, and suddenly felt sorry for everything happened to his life.

I wondered if you thought about our company the way I did. A workplace that prided itself on having persistent office gossips as achievement, where everyone owned Hollywood conflicts but none of them had a salary worth envying. But you have never looked so worry about the layoffs, terminations, or promotions and the like, and you were always oblivious about me. Did you know that we’ve had known each other before we actually met in persons? We have been anonymously connected—years ago—on web journal where we commented on each other’s notes with pseudonyms about our overlapping tastes and interests. But you might just never noticed me with the ever altered adolescence personalities. You couldn’t even remember that we went to the same college, where you were browheaded back then, with some awkward highlights and bad piercing, a look that ought to be out of style by now. Though I knew you had a potential of a rebel, not of a girl I would date, somehow I thought you were more interesting than my girlfriend.

About the disease.

Every year, thousands of STD singles find love on STDFriends.com

One morning you passed behind my chair, with a faint hint of cappucino. I pressed ctrl+tab quickly to close my focused window, worried that you’d see what was on my screen. When I praised your boots to deter that, you only moved the corner of your lips condescendly and disappeared behind the milky acrylic divider between our desks that were facing each other. I pushed down my feet flat on the floor. I did it every so often to subside the need to fidget.

I couldn’t see our relationship, sometimes we passed each other nonchalantly, sometimes we cracked jokes together as if you had realized we have met each other long time ago. While I knew it was obvious: we were just office colleagues who knew a little about each other and liked some parts of each other, and shared a space where apathy and little curiosity were parts of the inventory.

Her nature is as contagious as her disease so you better treat her the same way. -Guy C-

The next day a rumor has spread about you going out with Cory’s ex boyfriend, and again I didn’t say a word. Each time the thought about disease visited me, it wasn’t only about needles, tattoos, drugs, or unprotected sex. There were also some occurrences in my head about many people out there who didn’t get a proper medical treatment, and millions of them who got it from their cheating partners, blood transfusions, and the ones who were raped. I thought about cautious people that could still be the victim. And I didn’t think anyone deserved it. And I just couldn’t imagine that thing actually happened to you. Why would people enjoy passing on such kind of story—or—why would people wish that on someone?

I tell you what. Just before her boss resigned from this office, she fucked him. And no, you’re not telling me he’s lucky enough for not getting infected. -Guy A-

I was silence. I somehow told myself heroically that this behind-the-scene nastiness has to stop. But I never dared to do anything. I felt helpless, without being able to morally legislate anything.

About you.

The day you deleted your Facebook account, everyone was probing questions before giving conclusion that you were just looking for instant popularity, which only empowered the rumor mill.

Then I wondered how did you go about this? If you wanted to temporarily disappear, where would you go? Was it sort of like going on a long vacation? I wonder if I could get away with that, what would I do? There were so much to think about. And I couldn’t help but imagining yourself cutting the wires, spending more time just laying on your apartment floor, reading novels or watching some horrors, indulging yourself in useless tripe. And if you felt lonely, there would be a friend-in-need knocking your door. Then you would leave the novel to fill the sandwich with peanut butter spread before spreading your legs.

I imagined the rumour fading away, people resuming their lives, works starting right back up, and myself leaving for another company. And then I fell asleep while scrolling down my old web journal, submerging in electronic flirting and fantasy.

We had an office party that evening. Dimly outlined at the far corner of the bar I saw you raising your glass up in the air between the girls. The thought about sharing glass with you really got my adrenaline going, while I was unsure if it was your black bob hair or your tainted blood that gave me the thrill. I was on another table with the guys who told me rumor about you, I didn’t notice myself struggling to keep in the better spot when you were around. What was I thinking?

I drove you home that night. Without any preamble I told you everything about the rumors.

And then I heard your feeble response,

Do you feel sorry for me? 

I swallowed. Your words were both warning and grunt of pain. I waited for the dark sky to send me any word to say, anything.

Take care of what you say. My life is perfect and I’m not killing myself over it. 

I continued driving past your neighborhood alone. I put my iPod up to listen to nothing, then realized that everything I just said was honestly self-mocking. I suddenly felt like congratulating the gossipers on how much a more moral person they are. But what good does that do me anyway?

I stared at the passenger seat to check if it had a blood on it. You have a disease. And I’m in love with it.

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