I hover outside the door, wobbling on unfamiliar heels. The bass thumps in time with my heart. Thirty minutes I promise myself. Half an hour of social pleasantries and chit chat, how bad could it be? I rearrange my face into something resembling happy and push open the door.
I scan the sea of faces, smile and wave at my boss, now he has seen I have made the effort to come I am almost tempted to leave. I don’t belong here, all the women look gorgeous and tiny in their little black dresses. I feel like the ugly duckling, horribly out of place amongst swans.
The most incredible looking man I have ever seen stands at my side, proffering a glass of champagne. He is so out of my league. I wrap my damp palm around the glass, wishing I could press its coolness against my forehead.
‘I was drawn to your smile.’
I clamp my lips together. I wish I had listened to my mum and wore my braces.
‘You look beautiful.’
My eyes dart around looking for hidden cameras or a row of sniggering men nudging each other with their elbows, waiting to see if I will fall for it. I look for someone I could talk to, anyone would do, even Brian from accounts.
‘That’s a stunning dress.’
‘This old thing. I’ve had it ages.’ I fiddle with the straps of my pale pink satin gown. I knew I shouldn’t have bought it this afternoon, it makes me look fat but after four hours of shopping I had given up on finding something that looks good. I should have stuck to black.
‘It really flatters your figure.’
I cross my arms over my belly and bite back tears. ‘I am on a diet.’ I hate this man, why is he making me feel so bad. I gulp my champagne. It churns inside my stomach.
‘Will you dance with me?’
That’s a step too far. I thrust my empty glass at him and leave.
My night is ruined.
There isn’t quite angels singing and beams of light as she enters the room, but it is close.
I watch as she waves and smiles at someone and my stomach twists sharply. I want to be the someone she smiles at.
I am hesitant at approaching her, my small talk sucks, but if I don’t someone else will, she is so gorgeous.
I grab two glasses from a passing waiter.
‘Drink?’ My pulse is rocketing. Please say yes, please say yes.
I fumble around for words, she looks so confident, the polar opposite of me.
‘That’s a stunning dress.’ It is. All the other women are in black, legs and boobs spilling out. She looks different, classy.
She mutters a bored response.
‘It flatters your figure.’
She isn’t stick thin like so many others here. I want to touch her so badly.
She studies the floor. I don’t blame her. It’s far more interesting than me.
Sweat pools at the base of my spine, my shirt sticks to me.
‘Will you dance with me?’ Marry me, be mine forever. I have never felt like this.
I have blown it. I am left cradling an empty glass and an image of what I so badly wanted to be.
I should have known she was out of my league.
My night is ruined.
Written for Streams of Consciousness Saturday. Write the first thing you think of following a prompt and post, no editing allowed.
The prompt this week was compliment/complement. It triggered off so many thoughts about how we often deflect compliments, we don’t believe them, we feel embarrassed by them. How often do we assume someone is more confident, happier, more content than we are? We often don’t see ourselves how others do at all.