Not Who

When I first met Cathen Andrews, he told me that I was exactly the kind of girl he’d expect to find at one of his band’s shows. Then he told me I was exactly the girl he wanted at his show: jumping in the crowd, huddled up close to the stage, the load of bangles and bracelets collected on my arms hammering against one another as I jumped to the beat of the beat-less music, my short shorts rising up dangerously high, the strap of my tank top hanging off my shoulder lazily, and my long hair a tangled sweaty mess. He thought I was the girl on a rocker’s high, black coal lining my eyes that gazed up hopelessly at the lead singer. He thought I was the kind of girl who thought the name Cathen was deep, dreamy and mysterious. He thought I stood wishing I could run my hands through the mop of brown curls that rested atop his precious head and wondering how it’d feel to be tangled up in him. He thought I was one of those girls who bobbed in the crowd, flailing my arms for an opportunity to latch at his sweaty hand. He thought I would feel my heart throb when he met my gaze and stared right down into my deep little broken soul. The soul he thought he would mend with his angelic voice.

But Cathen Andrews had the wrong idea about me.

I was, in fact, Eliza Hawkins. I huddled in the corner of the club, leaning against a misplaced pillar nursing a soda. The music was too loud for my ears and I was counting the seconds until the show was over. The guys closest to me kept sneaking glances at me that made me shiver in my too-short shorts, the shorts that were only riding up because they were my best friend Janet’s, who was two sizes smaller than me and enjoyed showing her butt off to boys. My strap kept slipping off despite my efforts to hold it upright, struggling to keep whatever inch of me I could keep covered in my skimpy outfit. The only reason my hair was damp was because some moron sprayed his beer up in the air. I didn’t think the name Cathen was deep, dreamy or mysterious. In fact, I thought Cathen was a girls’ name, and sounded really stupid for a boys name. The only high I was on was a sugar high from all the sodas I’d slugged down in an attempt to look busy. My stomach was full and my wallet was empty. And I was not the girl in the crowd he thought he saw.

More importantly, I was not the club girl he thought I was. I was just Eliza Hawkins. Who read for fun and avoided loud clubs like this one. Who shrugged off boys and who wore her hair in the same braid everyday.

But I didn’t tell him that.

Instead, I grinned devilishly and let his hand linger on my arm, acting like the girl he thought I was.

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