Last night, I dreamed I was in a coffee shop, it felt like I was in east LA somewhere, maybe downtown. It felt east though, away from the ocean deep in the city. Tall buildings and Disney hall. I was sitting in bed in this shop, drinking coffee, or maybe just drinking. Everyone else at tables and chairs, and me in bed. The place was packed. Clustered groups of people talking loudly. Boys kept coming up to me and giving me roses, trying to win my favor but I rejected all of them, took their roses and sent them away. I got three roses, kept two in a jar by my bed, and lay the third on the stand. Discarded them, really. I was mean to the boys, asking them what the hell they were wearing. They looked like they had just come there from a prom. Slacks and vests, and all of them in some sort of plaid, mackintosh patterns in pink and blue and purple and red. Most of them had dates to match, but these girls hung away from me on the other side of the shop. Talking loudly and glancing over at me from time to time.
Sophia came and sat in bed with me, and we mocked the boys, laughing at them to their faces. My parents came in and ordered coffee at the bar, watching me in my bed. I nodded to them, and they acknowledged me but we didn't speak. I knew they we're watching me, judging me in my natural habitat. I felt comfortable and confident, fingering my flowers. My parents stepped out onto the patio to have their drinks.
Sophia left too, and I sat in bed watching a group of people, sort of bored. One of them turned and looked me in the eyes. She was wearing plaid too, red plaid, heavy makeup, boots, well placed facial piercings. A punkish dark skinned girl, attractive, important somehow. I held her eyes, and she sent one of the boys over to ask me if I wanted to have a smoke with them. I considered laying in bed and smoking, that prospect was appealing, but I got up and followed them out. This girl and maybe seven or eight other boys. They moved away from me, snubbing me as I got nearer. I called out to them and they turned around, the girl motioned to one of the boys and he gave me a cigarette, lit it for me. The girl and I looked at each other. Sizing each other up.
I'm not sure how it happened, but soon I was chasing each other around the shop. I would get close to her, collect her in my arms and kiss her, then would pull away, giggling, and the chase would begin again. She was teasing me, I was teasing her, I was in love. That feeling love-the-one-you're-with love of one-night stands. That predatory I've-got-her-and-you-don't love when you know everyone else at the party is watching with burning jealousy, hatred, admiration. I felt confident and asked her for her number, and it all fell to pieces. She turned cold in an instant. "I hate you now for the same reason you hated those boys who brought you flowers." I felt shame and misery and dropped her from my arms, watched her walk away without a glance back. I turned away too. Looking down I found that I was now wearing the plaid outfits of her gang, plus a huge green mohawk and a nose ring. As I walked out, I felt everyone watching me. Girls who ignored me before now wanted me desperately because they thought that I had stunted her, they didn't know my shame though and I let them believe I was better than them somehow. Held my head high and walked out, shame still heavy in my heart.
I pounded the sidewalk in heavy black boots, but before I got more than a few blocks I realized I was walking lopsided. The boots were wearing out quickly and unevenly. One foot was much heavier than the other, the sole of the lighter shoe wearing down almost to nothing, so that one boot was inches higher than the other. I considered what to do, decided to keep going, but it became too difficult. I turned around and headed back to the coffeeshop, where my parents we're still waiting outside and my vans were waiting for me under the bed.
I figured I'd keep the mohawk.