It is Saturday night and Blacktress is more than happy to spend it gabbing with her girlfriend Iyanla on the phone, while playing Virtual Catch-up: the ritual of perusing the Facebook pages of old friends from back home in lieu of ever actually calling them.
“Why would I ever call these people? This is far more entertaining.” Blacktress says while scrolling through wedding photos of a girl she never much cared for in middle school. “Terrible color scheme,” she notes.
“And they’re all married back home,” Iyanla bemoans. “Every. Single. One. By twenty- five. And they all have two kids. In LA we have two roommates, maybe. But home everyone’s got two goofy-ass kids.”
“I know, what’s up with that?”
“They grew up.” “We moved to Never Never Land where everyone still has dreams.”
“Thank god,” Blacktress says.
“Career before Kids,” Iyanla chants.
“And color schemes!” Blacktress adds in kind.
And just before Blacktress settles in for an evening at home, a playful restlessness pops up forcing her to reconsider a house party invitation from Tim, a slightly older, actor friend she met at a casting director workshop.
“Gotta go, Yan,” she says with one foot already in the shower.
Blacktress makes it to the shindig just in (color people) time. Tim greets her at the door, already a little buzzed.
“I’m gonna get as drunk and stoned as possible before SNL comes on.” He says instead of any formal greeting. “Join me.”
Blacktress smiles, crosses the threshold of his apartment, and enters the twilight zone.
Tim’s girlfriend darts about dressed in an outfit that can only be described as Hannah Montana inspired. “I’ve got cookies,” she giggles, as she presents a towering pile of baked goodies.
Sammie, a party guest, is giddy as hell. He dives in. Dressed in a bright red Disney land T-shirt and sneakers that light up, his speak is high pitched and melodic.
“I just got back from Disney today. I go at least once a month,” he says; his smile as wide as Main Street.
Blacktress looks around to lock eyes with someone who also finds this strange… No such luck.
“These are all of my collectible characters.” Sammie indicates a strap hanging around his shoulders decorated with Disney pins shinning like polished war medals. “I traded with this boy today. I gave him my Goofy pin to get this Tinkerbell one. It’s very rare. I’ve been wanting it soooo bad.”
“How old are you?” Blacktress asks.
“Thirteen,” he says coyly; “Thirteen at heart.”
His mid-section spilling over the front of his pants suggests otherwise. This man is thirty-five if he’s a day, Blacktress thinks. But I’ll let it slide.
Enter Tim’s girlfriend giggling.
“Don’t we all wish we were thirteen again?” She asks sweetly.
“No.” Blacktress says pouring herself a glass of Cab, “Not at all.”
Tim’s girlfriend frowns.
“Well I gotta stay young for as long as possible. My manager likes to pitch me for the teeny-bopper roles.”
“Growing up is for wussies.” Sammie announces.
Blacktress rolls her eyes like a catty, middle- school mean girl. Across the room, Tim has found an old episode of Captain Planet on YouTube.
“Captain Planet… is to the environment… what weed is… to my soul.” He finally says through a haze, to no one in particular. His girlfriend spins in her party dress.
“That’s a fun ensemble you have on there, Missy,” Blacktress says in a tone she usually reserves for people under four feet.
“Thanks, I ordered it from a Delia’s,” she says tossing the catalog in Blacktress’ lap. I haven’t seen a Delia’s catalog this century, Blacktress thinks. What she gonna pull out next? … My Little Pony?
Tim’s girlfriend perches next to her. Blacktress meets her eyes squarely.
“If you don’t ever grow up, how do you expect to grow? As a person I mean?” Blacktress asks.
“I’ll grow up… after I book my first series.”
Up close Blacktress can see past the frilly sparkly ensemble to the woman beneath. And she is more lined than any Delia’s catalog model. A few teenie grey hairs peek out from under her bangs. The song changes and she rises to again take her party dress for a spin. Blacktress watches her drunkenly teeter across the room.
“Watch your balance,” Sammie yells over to her.
No shit, Blacktress thinks.