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Amy Rossi is a native Southerner living in Boston.

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The Strip

Amy Rossi

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I wake up with a bloody nose. It’s four in the afternoon, and Nate’s been gone for ten days.

I stumble to the bathroom to find something to staunch the bleeding. The mirror is painting a pretty brutal picture. My hair, which had been teased up so great the night before, is now smushed on one side and crunchy from the hairspray. I didn’t wipe off my makeup, so blue shadow and liner circle my eyes like bruises. I’m sticky with body glitter.

Baby wipes, I think through the haze. I have to start bringing baby wipes to work.

I have today off, and I know exactly how it will go. Petra will call soon and announce we’re going out tonight. It will be extremely urgent that we have fun. I might point out that we just had fun, but she’ll just say, “It’s not fun if it’s after work, Dizzy. It’s an occupational requirement.” Petra is the one who named me Dizzy. It was supposed to be my alter ego, but now I guess it’s my regular ego. No one calls me Daisy anymore, not even Nate.

She doesn’t think I should be so wrecked by Nate leaving, which she’ll tell me again tonight. She’ll drag me down to the Whisky or the Troubadour to see if some new band is playing, and if they’re any good, we’ll find ourselves doing tequila shots together later. It’s not about the man himself, Petra will say. It’s about the band. It’s about the music.

I’ll think, that sounds like an excellent way to get crabs, but I won’t say it.

Petra’s name is in the liner notes in three albums in the Billboard Top 100. This is all that matters to her. I’ll get drunk tonight and then I’ll remind her that I really love Nate. I’ll say his band would be nothing without me. I was the one who got fired from my job for making too many copies of flyers for their gigs. I was the one who secured those flyers under the wiper blades of every car in high school parking lots all over the valley. I was the one who suggested they do the cover of “The Boys Are Back in Town,” and that’s when they got noticed.

Now he and the guys are on tour and I’m still here, staring at my answering machine.

Petra will laugh at me when I say this. “Dizzy, do you really want to be in Toledo? In Horsefucker, Indiana, or wherever the hell they are? This is where the party is!” She’ll gesture around us, at all the beautiful people wandering around the Sunset Strip.

She’ll find the right place for us to be tonight. She’ll find the right people to follow into the bathroom. She’ll tell me again that we’re too hot to have to pay.

After each trip to the bathroom, the night will get better. I won’t think about Nate. Petra and I will dance with our backs to each other and we’ll be glittering, we’re that good, and everyone will stare, wishing they could be us.

Petra won’t go home alone, but I will. The effects of the bathroom will wear off, and I’ll feel sadder than before. I’ll wonder if my name will be in the liner notes, if there’s an album, and if he’ll call me Daisy.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up in the afternoon. My nose will be bleeding, and Nate will still be gone.

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