She never lost control, she drank socially and was buzzed at best. She could be as fun as any of them without the alcohol, and many were never actually sure of what she'd drank. University hung out with every crowd, was on first name basis with staff and students alike. No one was quite sure if she had any real friends, any private whispered conversations. No one thought about it, because she looked above it all, eternally happy and, surely, such a great person had an abundance of true friends. She was an object of affection, a sort of trophy that every male (and a few females) would have loved to trounce. But no one would approach, because, certainly, she would never even glance at them twice. University received her fair share of overtures, but always seemed to turn them down. Any boy spotted on her arm would have been the talk of the campus, but they were an ever changing parade, nothing but casual acquaintances and friends.
And there she was, dancing in the midst of the crowd, near a guy from her dance class, with her girl friends. Looking beautiful, perfect. Not free, every move choreographed to a stylized perfection that no one would perceive. Someone, someones, watched her from the bar, and wished that they could take her home, and hold her in their arms. Wished they could hear her gasp in pleasure, wished that they could feel her sleek form pressed against their own. It was too dark to notice the tear rolling down her cheek, smoky enough to be attributed to simple irritation.
She looked at those around her, and wished that she could lose control. That she could be free from past models of herself, from future expectations, that she could follow the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson, about which she'd written a brilliant, as usual, essay. Instead, she faced the 'terror that scares us from self-trust', the fear of disappointing those around her, the passionate need to please and to succeed.
But as these thoughts played through her head, leaving their dark prints on her soul, she never faded, she never stopped dancing, never stopped smiling. Someone might have caught a glimpse of the tear's glimmer, but people rarely see what they do not expect. She knew that she was safe, secure inside her own machinations.
The happiest, the most successful person in the room, the most popular by far, the one that everyone could not help but like, even through the ugly mask of jealousy... University was the only one that wanted to cry, to leave early, to quit this farce, and cry. To whom would she talk? Which of the people around her would not laugh, remind her that she had everything, and more, going for her? Was there anyone with whom she could be open, without letting her carefully constructed image fall to the ground?
She looked around, again. She saw her friends, her admirers, her colleagues and class mates. She couldn't find anyone that knew her, she couldn't remember if there was anyone who did.
University shook her head particularly vigorously, exactly in time, and withdrew outside of herself. Someone at the bar noticed a moment of discordant transition, where her face seemed to shimmer before regaining an identical expression. He blinked, and forgot, watching only the most beautiful and successful girl he'd ever met. "My god," he whispered to himself, "I wish I could be as happy as her."