in vegas, the plane lands and it hits me that this is really happening, and it’s like all the anxiety i should have had for the preceding weeks hits me right in the heart, and i am shaking and my blood is pounding. i spend the afternoon on a patio meeting new people and amping myself up. when night falls, i have three glasses of red and some of tom’s bacon satay, and decide i should probably be done, but when berto offers me a drink, i’m not going to turn him down. THAT WOULD BE RUDE.
in vegas, i walk up and down the strip, hitting new york new york for a chat with megan while other friends ride the rollercoaster. and then me, tom, nick, tiff, casey, ed, and megan pop into holstein’s in the cosmopolitan for the most kick ass of burgers and adult milkshakes. GOD THOSE BURGERS, GUYS, AMIRITE? in vegas i do braless brunch at bouchon for the second year in a row with anna, lauren, and jen.
in vegas i have day dresses and night dresses but i never wear pants. i hop into my assigned thursday dress and over to serendipity for our welcome mixer, where, god, everyone is just so pretty and REAL and right in front of me. i take smoke breaks with raoul, edwin, and nico. i snuggle up with my onyi as many times as i can. i sit and chat with sara and am astonished by her piercing insight. i migrate to margaritaville, where i intend to dance, but instead end up having a long heart to heart with bob. i drag ed to the cosmo with me to meet up with maxie in the fancy as fuck chandelier bar, where she buys me a drink that probably costs $20. girl, i owe you.
in vegas i don’t sleep, i wake up not far past the crack of dawn and have chai and breakfast with nick and ed. i toss on my bikini, slather myself with GLIMMER SUNSCREEN YES. in vegas, we stay at the swanky flamingo go rooms. we party by the go pool, where the dj is on point with THE BEST music. i danced and twirled through the waterfall (for the second year) with lauren and bob. and pretty much all i had to do to initiate that was look at lauren. i rapped out some missy, standing on a daybed with michelle. i paint my nails purple. i hoist tiff onto my shoulders and ed and tom still owe me $100 combined for this (no you don’t, guys, don’t worry).
in vegas my friends and i lay around on my bed talking about everything and nothing and everything some more. in vegas i put on my sequined dress with the tulle underneath and i do heavy eyes and red lips. i’m deep inside my head as we watch the cirque performers dive in and out and dance around. i can’t stop thinking about the conditioning they have to go through, the mechanics of the stage. in vegas, sometimes, i’m lonely. but i realize that a lot of people are actually on team go to sleep, and i laugh in the elevator, and the girl i call my sister tells me i can come cuddle her if i want, and i fall asleep ok.
in vegas i realize that you don’t actually become superhuman when you land at mccarren and i decide i should take a low key day. i wander the back halls of the wynn and the encore for close to an hour and we sit on all the fancy chairs and threaten to steal the statues. i decide that maybe one day i’ll get married under flower poms and fairy lights. we meet up with amber in front of the fountains at the venetian and when we realize she won’t be around for a cheese plate at otto the next day, we decide to do a cheese plate right then. we’ll call it cheese plate, the prequel. she is kind and funny and warm and answers so many questions for me.
in vegas we eat at buffets – le village in paris, this time. i sit at a big round table with larissa (my kickass roommate), marian, jessica, tiff, kendra, kate and other fantastic people. we talk about things that will stay off the internet, but i have another moment of wondering why we really hide anything, because when we crack open just a little and let the light shine out, the people we should be with, they flock right to us.
in vegas i slip into a white dress, i tuck a towel into the front of it to prevent stray makeup from getting in. i’m really happy my roommate was the only one to witness that towel solution. i finish glittering my nails down at the bar with a screwdriver next to me. i play a raucous game of “i never”. i take it to another level.
in vegas, between pure and the act, i dance all. fucking. night. long. maxie and i are the last ones left standing, and at four something we hobble (seriously) to get some food. i lose tic tac toe (who EVER loses tic tac toe) to kelly. i walk into my room and am thrilled to find people – “party room YES.” – but i fall asleep about ten minutes in anyway.
in vegas i’m up way too early. i watch everyone having all of their feelings at brunch and i can’t summon mine, and i think how i’ve existed behind a veil for a year, i think how everything lives so deep, how i wish i could pull it out towards the surface, but i’ve forgotten how. i think, also, how i’m not all that sad because we all live on the internet, and although i love this time, i love this fun, online is where our day to day plays out and i don’t really have to miss anyone. because i know what it is to make a bond across the cables.
in vegas i crash hard. i wander over for cheese plate volume 2, and i talk to the bouncer and realize just how much i miss him, how my sleep isn’t right when he’s not next to me (vomit, i know, i’m sorry). we have a smaller group and i’m grateful for fewer people, i’m grateful to be able to tone myself down but still be seen. i’m grateful that raoul, tiff, and nick stay to take a gondola ride with me, even though i’m pretty sure none of them want to.
in vegas i do all my favorite things twice, which means i get yet another breakfast at bouchon, and another amazing holstein’s burger. i spend most of my day being bob’s good luck charm on some slot machines. and then i realize just how sick i am, larissa loads me up with benadryl, and i hop onto my plane with ed, and pass out pretty much mid-sentence.
after vegas, i realize just how lucky i am, in so, so, many ways.