Occupy the Mansion

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Words: Eva Lopez-Lopez (she/they)

I invite you to my ideal party. I organised it, but I don’t host it – my heart couldn’t

withstand the possibility of another family object damaged (last time it was a flower

vase). This is why it’s also my ideal party: it’s not hosted in my house. The party is set

in a big house, almost a mansion, you don’t know who it belongs to, but it’s not

important. It is located in the outskirts of the city, no neighbours around us to complain,

a train station ten minutes away. You ask again who the owner of the house is, I shrug,

you believe we are doing something illegal. Your favourite song starts playing and you

forgo that line of questioning, you think it’s a coincidence, but it’s not: the ideal party

has the ideal playlist, catered to the likes of the guests and the mood they’re in. The

dress code is elegant, but not exactly the elegant clothes you wear to a family dinner and

that are so expensive that you are extremely afraid they will be stained and ruined. You

wear your best casual outfit, you look very charming and attractive and you’re not

afraid of anything tonight, not even embarrassment. Everyone around you looks dashing

as well. The theme is joy and excitement and all the grand emotions that deserve a party

in their honour. I’ve gathered this group of people because I knew they would click, it’s

people I’ve had great conversations and dances with, in the past. Some people drink,

some don’t, some people smoke, some people don’t, some people are doing drugs, some

people aren’t. No one is sick by overindulgence and no one judges. There are several

rooms, different atmospheres in each one of them. One is for dancers who want to give

it all on the dancefloor, they sing and shout and kiss and hug each other ferociously.

You look away, embarrassed by the intimacy of the embraces. You don’t know it yet,

but you will join them later. Another room is for those who enjoy all the rituals of

preparing to go out partying but not partying that much: they’re dressing up and putting

on an improvised fashion runway, they’re getting each other’s makeup and hair done.

They are playing drinking games and there’s no rush to go somewhere else before

midnight. They chat and smile and share the giddiness like it’s an offer you cannot say

no to. You will also join them after the dancing, never doing the things in order (there’s

no need for that here). Another room gathers the smokers: they are smoking inside like

it’s the 70s and I don’t care because as I said, it’s not my house. They are smoking and

talking about the meaning of life around a funny-looking green lamp. Someone, maybe

everyone, offers you a cigarette, you start saying ‘I don’t usually smoke but…’ while

taking a drag. You feel compelled to share your dreams and hopes but also failures and

your shame with this group. There are not enough words to capture the vibe that’s

emerged here. No need. We move on. The last room of the party has an array of games

(beer pong and foosball) for those who want to prove to themselves that the hand-eye

coordination is not all gone after the fifth beer. They challenge each other constantly

and if you step a foot into the room you know you’ll get roped in. You play for hours,

like hypnotised by the energy – sometimes you win and sometimes you quit before you

lose. The night is slowly retiring into the sunrise.

No one gets cold on their way home or fears for their life, there are enough beds and

space on the floor for everyone to stay the night. You end up hugging a stranger for

warmth, and they hug you back. You wake up with the smell of churros and hot

chocolate. It’s sunny, and a brand-new day, and the birds are chirping outside feeling all

the joy and excitement you felt last night. The party is over. It wasn’t hard at all to



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