Delicate ScarsBy: Alta Hensley
To my sweet Ava and Kenna.
Everything I do is for you.
And to Mr. Hensley…my dream maker.
LOVE AT FIRST FUCKING SIGHT
IS it possible to pick that one defining moment in life that fucked you up? I think it is fair to say that everyone in the world is messed up one way or the other. But can everyone look back on their life and pinpoint the exact minute it happened? I used to believe I wasn’t fucked up. I had absolutely no reason to be. I was actually one of the few people who could say I had a good childhood. Middle income family, parents who stayed married, average upbringing. Nothing there to fuck me up.
Maybe I could say I was fucked up by Anthony Cruz when he tried to take my virginity at the age of fifteen, but it wasn’t like rape or anything. I thought I was ready but it still felt like he was taking it rather than me giving it. So, I screamed no, and luckily for me, he stopped. However, other than the fact that he lied and told everyone we had hot and wild sex, then dumped me right afterwards, I still wouldn’t say he fucked me up.
My life was fairly easy growing up. I wouldn’t exactly say I was spoiled, but I never had to struggle. My parents paid for my car when I was sixteen, paid for my entire college education so I never had to get some lame part time job, and even helped pay my bills now so I could follow my dream of becoming a novelist.
My sister had died recently, and although it ripped my soul out of my body and shredded my heart into a million pieces, I survived. It didn’t change the core of who I was, nor put me in the fucked up category. I was able to move on just like every other person in the world who has lost a loved one. I went on one day at a time. But the truth of the matter was life simply wasn’t a struggle for me. Call me one of the lucky ones, I guess.
I WASN’T FUCKED UP…
Until I met him.
He fucked me up.
He really fucked me up.
THE DEAFENING CLUB music pulsated through my body, the bass pounding at my ears like a hammer. I made a mental note to try to describe the sensation when I wrote my book. One more thing to add to my ever-growing list of story notes. I wanted my readers to understand the power the music possessed. I wanted to somehow successfully describe how the sound waves actually woke every nerve in your body and caused each one to vibrate from your head to your toes. I wanted to explain in detail how each thump of the bass made your entire core hum in excitement. Recounting this club would definitely be a challenge. How could you possibly express the inside of a nightclub without sounding like a washed-up poet?
I took off my apron at the end of my shift, desperate for a break. Standing on my feet for so many hours was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Bartending was no joke, and after working the job for one night, I felt bad for not tipping all my bartenders in the past way better than I did. My feet were killing me and that was with me wearing black ballet-slipper-like shoes, unlike all the five-inch heels the other women in the club wore. How they stood and balanced on the spikes, let alone danced, amazed me.
The club was hot, sticky, crowded, and I really wanted to get some fresh air and maybe a small moment of silence. I scanned the room, looking for my friend Felicity again. She had promised to meet me at the club before my shift ended and at least be a familiar face amongst the crowd of complete strangers.
The girl could socialize her way through anything. Selfish as fuck sometimes, but she had been my friend since sixth grade, and we just meshed somehow. She was wild; I was not. She was fun, while I bored even myself sometimes. She had helped me land this job, a job completely out of my element, bartending at one of the most popular clubs in Los Angeles. Felicity had also offered me a place to stay while I did the research needed to write my book on the seedy life of nightclubs, drugs, and all the glitz and glamour laced with gritty shadows. I had high hopes I’d get enough real life details to expand into a book, but didn’t know how much information I could really gather. My editor Harrison—if you could really call him an editor since he only free-lanced for beginners like me and was trying to break into the publishing world himself—had thought it would be a good idea for me to completely go undercover and immerse myself in the everyday life… or nightlife, as it were. He said I lived in a suburban dollhouse and had no idea what happened beyond the key-entry gates. And unless I wanted to write a cookbook or some sugary puppy love young adult romance, I had to branch out and expand my life experiences. I agreed the investigation might make my book more genuine and complex, and I did feel as if I was trapped in the white box of boring. I also didn’t want to just get the generic, canned answers from an interview. Or write about something I knew absolutely nothing about and risk the readers sensing my ignorance. I had never been a partier unless you counted the couple times I drank from a beer bong at a frat party. But for this book—especially since it would be my debut—I wanted to go deeper and really capture the heart behind it all. I wanted the truth, the feelings, the reality.