Hot drinks make me sweaty. My already-too-red face gets redder, my already-too-frizzy hair gets frizzier, my already-imperfect eyeliner runs down and settles into the crease between my eye and the poof underneath it that threatens to swallow it whole on the occasions I smile for real. Two of my bosses got me Dunkin Donuts gift cards for Christmas, because the only things they really know about me are that I get a shit ton done and drink a shit ton of iced coffee. That’s all there really is worth knowing about me.
With enough caffeine I can feel my heart beating, which is a nice reminder that I’m alive. Sometimes I feel like I can’t tell if everything’s happening to someone else and I’m just watching – sometimes I feel like I’m living in a video game, and I’ll just go back to the start and try again. I took the right path but wound up in the wrong place, and my armor isn’t strong enough for the enemies on this level. Reload.
I think people would be surprised by my uncaffeinated voice. Very few who are in my life now have ever heard it. It’s low and slow, but not in a sultry, seductive kind of way. More like a person who’s been held captive in a tool shed for years trying to speak for the first time. Because that’s kind of how I usually feel – like I’m trapped inside myself with this maniac and I’m afraid to say the wrong thing, because I don’t know how she’ll react. So I just stay quiet unless I’ve got some Dunks running in my veins, in which case everything comes out in a flurry of chipmunk squeaks, as if I’m rushing to get it all out before the vault shuts again. My eyes water when I say a sentence of more than about five words, but I don’t know if that’s related to anything.
I do one or two all-nighters a week, and the coffee helps. I wish I could say it’s for work, but they don’t pay me for it or really notice me at all. Once in a while I bump into my boss in the hallway and he tells me that last weekend’s work was “some really great stuff,” but it’s hard not to feel like the girl that your frat brothers would fine you for hooking up with. I’m a really cool person, you’re just embarrassed to be seen in public with me is all. I totally get it and I don’t blame you. Doing all this work for zero acknowledgement is probably definitely letting myself get taken advantage of, but I had a really big coffee so I was going to be up all night anyway. I might as well do something productive.
If it was socially acceptable and not harmful to my health I’d be drunk 100% of the time, because when I’m drunk I can almost pass as a normal person. In my natural state, I’m a coward, and a liar, and a monster. I know my core is rotten like an apple or a bad potato, and so I shut everyone out because I like to think it’s the only decent thing I can do – to spare you the unpleasantness of actually knowing me, because I really like you. But now I have nobody left to get drunk with, so I fuck myself up on iced coffee and hope you think it’s because I’m just a stereotypical girl. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.