Fragmented Reality

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High school parties aren’t like the movies. 

I had imagined most of my junior class packed in a mansion, drinking from red solo cups, dancing around, carefree.

Being young.

Maybe being a little bit stupid. 

That’s not what I was met with that night. 

I was in my favorite worn jeans and had smeared pink lipgloss on my mouth. 

Five guys were sitting on stained red couches, passing around a blunt in a humid garage. 

I’d never seen any of them before, and they looked far too old to be in high school. 

A girl in my English class, Valerie, squealed when she saw me. 

She’s the one who invited me here. 

We weren’t part of the same friend circle, but when she asked me to come, I thought I could have my movie moment. 

Drink my first alcoholic drink, maybe kiss a boy. 

This wasn’t what I pictured. 

Valerie and I were the only girls here.    

Isn’t that odd?

I remember thinking. 

Five guys and two girls? 


Hey there,” Valerie said making her way over to me. 

Hadn’t she said Ben, who was also in our English class, would be at this party?

I had confessed to Valerie that I had a crush on him last week.  

Why was no one else from school here?

Why wasn’t anyone who was our age here?  

Um, I don’t do drugs,” I whispered to her. 

Her blue eyes flashed with annoyance.  

“No one said you had to,” her eyes were red and she swayed back and forth. 

Valerie was wasted. 

She grabbed my hand and shut the door I had just come through.

Why did the sound of the door closing make my heart stutter?  

Valerie dragged me over to the guys. 

“This is my friend, Helen.”

They inspected me like I had been brought there just for them.

Valerie sat on a dark-haired man’s lap and stared at him with what could only be described as a misplaced obsession. 

“This is my boyfriend, Tobey,” she told me, wrapping her arms around him. 

Valerie looked so young compared to her boyfriend. 

I wanted to grab her hand and run away from these grown men. 

“Why don’t you sit down, pretty girl?” The oldest of them asked me. 

He was at least thirty. 

“Um, I’m only sixteen,” I blurted out. 

“That’s alright, honey. We don’t care.”

His response made my hands shake. 

I took a seat even though my subconscious was screaming at me to leave. 

“My name’s, Jessie,” this stranger said, leering at me. 

“Hi,” I squeaked out. 

I looked at Valerie for help. 

She was wrapped around Tobey, her tongue down his throat. 

This was wrong. 

This wasn’t what my first party should be like. 

Where was the loud music? 

The silly game of spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven?

Where was the innocence? 

“Why don’t I make you a drink?” Jessie asked me. 

“Um, no thanks. I don’t drink,” I rubbed my hands on my jeans. 

I wanted to go back to two hours ago when the only worry I had was what top to wear. 

“I’ll just get you a coke,” his face changed. 


When he smiled he didn’t seem as creepy. 

He wasn’t predatory.

He was friendly.  

His green eyes were warm.


“Okay. Thank you,” I responded, feeling my shoulders sag in relief.  

I was overreacting. 

So these guys were a little old? 

That wasn’t that weird.



I could only catch glimpses of reality.

Life had turned into a butterfly, flying away from me, only landing for a mere second. 

I had only an instant to truly see what was happening. 

Then it would take off again.   

This was what I wanted.

Wasn’t it? 

This was like a movie. 

Flickers of moments before my eyes. 

Aware one second and gone the next. 

Jessie was in front of me. 

Suddenly we were dancing. 

I loved this feeling. 

I wanted to feel like this forever. 

I smiled at him. 

This was nice. 

He was nice.

Wasn’t he? 


I’m not sure how much time had passed. 

Flashes of my surroundings made their way sluggishly into my consciousness. 

A dirty concrete floor. 

An empty pack of cigarettes under a couch. 

I was on my feet.

Was that a hand on my hip? 

Who was that? 

I couldn’t remember how I got here. 

Where was here exactly? 

I felt sick.

Was this like a movie? 

Or was this a nightmare?

It had started out fun. 

I felt like I was left on a roller coaster for too long. 

It had been fun at first but I’d been left on the ride. 


Now I was dizzy and confused.  

Was I in danger?  

I fumbled for my phone.   

“No Helen. This party has a no-phone policy,” a man’s voice mumbled in my ear. 

Who was that?


He was nice, wasn’t he? 

But his green eyes were dark now.

Jessie ripped my phone out of my hands. 

After that, I remembered nothing.


I woke up screaming into a pillow. 

That’s all I remember. 

Screaming and a pillow. 


When I truly came around it was like waking up after being put under anesthesia.

Something had happened to my body. 

Something I would have normally been awake for. 

But somehow I had been asleep through it. 

No, not asleep exactly. 

My body had been here but my mind was somewhere else. 

Maybe my mind had protected me from what I had gone through. 


I felt different.  

I refused to examine myself.

I refused to accept anything had happened. 

If I didn’t accept it, it couldn't be real. 


When I think about that party I imagine I had gotten my movie experience. 

That I got to laugh, be free, and dance. 

That I was never scared or alone. 

That I didn’t wake up in a random bed with no idea how I got there.

That something wasn’t stolen from me. 


I don’t have many memories of that night. 

All I know is that something bad happened to me. 

(author: Alyssa Telgenhoff)

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