nancy lai

dance like hell (hope you never touch the ground)

The first time Barbara thinks about kissing a girl, she’s fifteen years old and it’s half one in the morning. She’s laying next to her best friend as they spill secrets into the shadows because it’s far less scary that way.

“Barb,” Nancy whispers, “If you could kiss any boy at school, who would it be?”

Barbara’s heart stutters as she stares at the ceiling and the shadows there. She shrugs, the movement awkward with the way she’s laying on Nancy’s bed. The truth is, none of the boys at school hold any interest for her. She doesn’t want to kiss Jonathon Byers like Nancy does, or Steve Harrington like everyone else does.  

She tells herself it’s because none of the boys at school match up to any of the boys in her books. None of them are right, none of them are perfect, and though Nancy would tell her that she’s being picky, she tells herself it’s just that she wants the best.

Here in the darkness where it seems far less daunting to think about it, she thinks that kissing a girl with softer lips and longer hair is a lot more appealing. She thinks about what it would be like to be with someone who smelt of roses and perfume, who’s hair she could tuck back behind their ear.

She stares at the ceiling and the darkness crawls in and she dares not to blink, to not let the moment break because it seems to calm. She feels like maybe it could be okay that she wants to kiss a girl much more than she wants to kiss a boy.

The darkness caves in and she blinks and everything breaks but the memories still linger.

“Steve Harrington is kind of cute,” Barbara whispers in the end and Nancy laughs quietly.

“But you hate Steve Harrington,” Nancy replies, linking their pinky fingers together.

Barbara shrugs once again, closing her eyes and trying to slow her heartbeat. She wonders if Nancy can hear it; “He’s still kind of cute though, isn’t he?”

“He is,” Nancy agrees, “Don’t think I want to kiss him though.”

“Me neither,” Barb says, “Me neither.”

And maybe Nancy doesn’t know the truth behind those words just yet and maybe Barbara isn’t entirely sure what it means for herself either but she thinks that it’ll be ok.

Fairytales always work out in the end, right?