You’ve changed, where’s the pink ha-ha? Those words linger like a bad smell as we stew like sardines, too few people for a party. I’m wearing something black and too tight and it’s a stinger, your words slice me like the butter knife we use to chop up cake on the coffee-stained counter. Crumbs coat everything, stick to the bottom of plastic cups we’d both rather not be using. Especially me, when single-use permeates every single song written to at parties I’d rather not be at. We knock elbows as we shuffle from the kitchen side to the sofa side, you spill whiskey in my Mary-Janes. Brief apologies. These are the things you can find the words to let me forgive you for.


Tugging at the blue dress a little too big after reading week, I take off the sodden shoes and tuck them out of your way under the hard-plastic chair. Wishing I wasn’t sitting on it, rather the sofa which isn’t much better but better anyway. I know I’m too big for this birthday in wet pink socks, too hardened to the seat. I ask for that track you told me of and when it plays you grin.


And everyone looks at me as I shrug. I like this song. I say. You do? You ask, and I tuck my sodden feet under the hard-plastic chair.


There’s this guy. A phone shoved under my nose by well-meaning love and I feign interest, feeling beady green-eyed monster eyes slicing me like the butter knife. I crumble like cake I never tasted, too drunk for something sweet. Rather hunched over toilet bowl terrors, filling the room with tasteless glitter. Too much for a casual evening, too little for a night to remember. Rosy shimmer brushed across my cheek and down my neck. And you’re examining this guy with a heavy-handed sweep and I untuck my feet from being curled around the legs of the chair. Not good enough for you…


And suddenly bile bile it comes to my throat and I can’t breathe and the outside walls are too inside and all too white and I’m the bitch having a panic attack at her own party. While my heart tries to escape through my arse and I clutch at friendly hands only to slap slap them away. I see the truth through the trees. The cake crumbs stain and I’ll never get them out of this dress.


All too soon you want to slip off that dress, slip me back into a sicklier hue. Taking a joke that wasn’t even yours and pouring in the dye. Taking me too seriously not ever seriously enough with your




It’s sweeter when I spill drinks down the sink and scrub myself clean. So, I’m sorry for the pretending and the tiresome back-and-forth. Sorry for the failure at that social intercourse. I’m sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to let the friendship run its course.

But I’m not sorry

To not be Pinky




by Milaina Penzer

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