Avery leaves and I'm worried I'm starting to crash, so I stare at the light bulbs on the vanity and let my eyes roll back, that's better. I'm drying myself off, and Abby comes in.
Mattilda, she says, it's so hot in here, Mattilda, it's so hot, I can't stand it.
Abby’s splashing water on her face, and I open the window wider, even though it's freezing.
Abby looks at me, and when I see her eyes I can tell she's been crying or maybe she is crying or maybe she just wants to cry, it's like her face is shifting so fast I can't tell, is it the light? Abby’s staring in the mirror like she doesn't know what's on the other side. “Darling I love you but can't you see, it's over for me” comes on and oh, I love this song so I say: It's over for me.
It's over, Abby says, but she sounds like she's serious.
“Should I say it again?”
“Should I say it again?”
Then it's back to eating ice cream off the floor. Sage is a genius — I wish the Loft wasn’t closed, maybe Sean was joking. But Abby says Mattilda, do you believe in hell?
She turns toward me, her face all red: Do you believe in hell?
Of course not. Are you okay?
How. Do you. Know. That we. Are not. Going. To burn. In hell?
Abby. What is going on?
Mattilda. I just want to know. How you know. That we are not. Going to. Burn. In hell.
And then Abby starts to shake, and she's really sobbing, and I wrap the towel around myself so I can put my hand on her back. Abby, it's okay, it's okay, that's just your parents, it's brainwashing, it's bullshit, there is no hell, you're not going to burn, and she looks at me and says: Mattilda, I don't want to go. And I'm not sure if she means she doesn't want to leave this house, or she doesn't want to go to her parents’ house, or she doesn't want to go to hell.
Abby says: My parents. The church. My sister. Even my sister.
Even your sister believes in hell?
Even my sister. I don't want to go.
Oh, Abby, you don't have to go, we can just stay here, we can stay here forever. No one is making you go back to Maryland.
Mattilda. I have to go. I bought a ticket.
You don't have to go.
Mattilda. I have to. Can we go home? To our house.
Sure. Just let me get dressed.
Mattilda. I love you.
I love you.
Abby leaves the room and at first I think maybe I'm not high anymore but then I close my eyes and oh, yes, this is where I want to stay, can't I just stay here, here in my head blasting off into the sky, yes just run this hot water on my hands oh the way it all travels through me, should I get back in the shower, no I have to go out there for Abby and I'm starting to feel sad, even though these colors are nice, oh yes, these colors, and when I put on my clothes again I feel awkward, all this cloth against my skin but when I get back in the living room Sage is taking a hit off a huge bong. Perfect — that's just what I need. She hands it to me while holding her breath and yes, this is just what I need. I look at Abby and she looks calmer, and then Lisa shows up in her platforms, those are the platforms I want, combat boots with 6 inches extra, but I don't want to look like I'm copying Lisa.
Of course, Mattilda, we don't want to miss The Loft.
What time is it?
4:30. I know. We’re almost too late.
Abby, should we go to the Loft?
Abby nods her head, but wait, Sean said the Loft got shut down.
We're going anyway. Want some more acid?
She hands me the Kool-Aid.
I'm. Just. Kidding. I meant vitamin C.
Oh. Vitamin C. I love vitamin C.
Yes, these drums and chants rolling around in the background and is the music getting quieter? I look around to see if anyone else notices. Until it's so quiet that you can hear Juniper laughing from the other room or maybe that's in the song, I'm looking around to see and then suddenly the volume goes way up and it's “get somebody you need somebody”– oh honey, oh honey, this is so good, we should come here every night.