"Come as you are,
as you were,
as I want you to be..."
She stepped out of the shower and stared with heavy lids at her gaunt reflection in mirror. She grabbed her breasts, once pert and full and squeezed the sad sacks of flesh together, giving the semblance of cleavage, then let them fall, sagging and stretch-marked, back against her chest.
'A push up bra it is,' she thought.
She turned to the side, stared at waist, her ass, smiled a little. At least THAT was still perky, and her legs had always been long. She'd wear the oxblood pleather mini tonight.
In the gray light of a Seattle afternoon, she walked through her studio apartment, past the band posters, the album covers she'd pinned to the walls, winced when she crunched a roach on the hardwood floor beneath her bare foot. Damn things kept coming back, even when she laid traps.
Her closet door stood open and she stepped in, over the clothes piled on the floor, lifted a bra to her nose and sniffed, grimacing at the smell of B.O. and booze and last night's cigarettes and put it on anyway. Pawing in her underwear drawer, she found a pair of graying thongs and slipped them on too. She definitely needed a trip to the laundromat.
Parting her clothes on the rack, she pushed shirts to the side, past the STP hoodie and the Soundgarden tank, looking for the black tee with the dead-eyed smiley face emblazoned in yellow. She grinned when she found it, then frowned as she noticed the holes around the neckline. They were getting bigger with every wash.
She pulled it on over her head. Why the hell not? Holes just made it look grungier, right? More authentic!
Slipping the burgundy skirt over her hips she did a little hop to get the tight waistband past her butt, and zipped it up the back.
"As a friend,
as a friend,
as an old enemy..."
Across the room, in the curtained corner she called her bedroom, the phone rang. She reached across the unkempt mattress to answer it.
"Hello?... Gina?... Hey girrrrl!" she crowed, voice gravelly from too much whiskey, too many American Spirits.
"You in town?... Sweet!...Hell yeah, I'm going to the concert!... I'm leaving the house in about fifteen... I'll see you there. I'll buy you a shot of Jager for old times sake...Killer. Bye girl!"
She'd met Gina back in school, when they both worked at Tower Records. The skank still owed her $300 from when she bailed her out of a "drunk in public" charge back in '93, but she was funny as hell and a force to be reckoned with in a mosh pit.
It would be good to see her again.
Back in the closet, she pawed through the scattered shoes on the floor; flip flops and Doc Marten's mixed with platform heels and Chuck Taylors. Glancing at the rain on the windowpane she decided it was definitely a shitkicker kind of night. She slid the big black boots on over her torn, thigh high stockings and laced them tight.
"Take your time,
the choice is yours,
don't be late..."
She glanced at the clock and realized it was almost time for her to catch the bus. Shit, she still needed to get her makeup on.
In the bathroom, she pulled her cherry-red locks into a high ponytail and fluffed her Betty Page bangs. She stroked thick eyeliner around her lids and spread it wide, making it look like she had a heroin habit, or at the very least, had been on a three-day bender. While she hadn't done the hard shit since the late 90s, just a little blow now and then, that was the look she was going for.
She added some mascara, then painted on her crimson lipstick, smearing it to the side of her chin, like she'd been kissed hard and didn't even care.
She opened her wallet to make sure she had her concert tickets and then stuck it in her back pocket, hooking its jangling chain to a belt loop in the front.
"Take a rest,
as a friend,
as an old memoria,
She opened her apartment door and a chilly breeze hit her. Damn! She'd almost forgotten the most important thing! She reached behind the door and pulled a faded flannel from the hook. Sliding the red plaid fabric over her shoulders, she sighed with contentment.
Twenty years of wear had made it soft as Egyptian cotton, threadbare at the elbows and filled with the memories of late nights in smoky bars, laughter-filled diner breakfasts at 3 a.m. and the music, gawd the amazing music that shirt had seen.
She clomped down the stairs and walked to the bus stop on the corner. A fresh-faced undergrad, irridescent with youth and money, in sparkly accessories and a millennial pink blouse, sat on the bench, looking her up and down.
'Go on and judge me, honey,' she thought, brazenly staring into the girl's eyes. 'I LIKE who I am, and you worry too much what other people think.'
Cocking her head, she winked at the sweet little thing and chuckled when the girl blushed and looked away. Kids today were too damn soft.
Popping her earbuds in, she scrolled through the bands and found just what she was looking for while she waited for the bus.
As the deep bass of Nirvana rolled across her eardrums she sighed with contentment. Sure, everything had been better, brighter, when Kurt was alive, but somedays you just had to let it all go.