You approach the vibrating door nervously fingering the neck of the bottle because you didn’t pregame hard enough. Your buddy did though. He’s already singing and moving his hips to the muffled bass barely audible through the translucent glass in front of your nose. You stare into it like a mirror silently getting yourself excited for another blur of ruckus, sexual advances, and general immaturity, contemplating your decision to spend another Saturday night intoxicated to the point of danger. But I love this shit you tell yourself. Let’s saturate our liver with poison so we can hurdle over any insecurity and shyness hidden within. We’re too pathetic to love unconditionally without a bottle in our hands, so we drink and drink and drink.
The door swings open and you’re greeted by a somewhat sweaty stranger you’ve met six times already. You recall introducing yourself to him at several different events and infer that you’re only friends with him when there’s trap music blasting and a red cup in your hand. He yells something indistinguishable that you assume to be a compliment of some sort, so you slap his hand with a smile on your lips and walk in with your handle raised above your head. Everyone shouts Ayyy and you remember why you craved this so much. As you gather your bearings, you notice a confederacy of tall bottles standing together on the kitchen counter. They look like sentinels standing watch, assuring a hidden king that inebriation is inevitable. You glide over to your smiling, glistening friends by the watchmen and place your own bottle among them. They slap your hand. They smile. You laugh, and you’re ready.
You pour drinks and receive plenty more. The nervousness subsides, gradually eroded by small sips like the essence of your ego rests in the back of your throat. With every gulp it withers away until it’s completely pulverized with a particularly powerful beverage handed to you by a friend you hadn’t seen since middle school. He assured you he loves you very much and he misses you a fuck-ton. You gave him a hug and he gave you a cup. The drinks become easier and easier to down. The one you drank five minutes ago tasted like warm nail polish remover, but this one tastes like a fairytale’s fruity elixir. You shiver one last time, and the fluttering insects in your belly die slowly, drowning in the fluids or asphyxiating themselves for your own gain like the unseen martyrs of the night. The drink slithers down your throat like a slippery parasite molesting your subconscious and tears down whatever’s left of your social boundaries. With a tiny belch, you look up at the people around you and take it all in.
Everyone’s smiling and chirping, talking with their hands, and feeling with their mouths. You can feel the music’s bass pound your sternum in tune with your heart beat, sandwiching your ribcage with every thumping, bumping measure. You’re engaged in a conversation with four or five people dressed in flannels, pencil skirts, chucks, and t-shirts, but nobody knows what anyone’s talking about. You all just laugh loudly and listen in vain. People you know mingle with people you don’t know, and the people you don’t know are sure to become people you do know within the next hour or so. The ubiquitous yap-yap-yapping and the dim lights add to the groggy ambience blanketing the room. You try to imagine sobriety at a place like this, but you shudder at the thought. You turn your head to the kitchen and promise yourself you’ll talk to the cutie by the refrigerator when you’re done with whatever just appeared in your hands. She’s got hair the color of Valentine’s Day candy draped over her shoulders like curtains hiding something beautiful behind, and you can’t help but notice that her eyes are the shade of waves lapping against a Caribbean shore. You stand there captivated. You’re petrified momentarily, imagining yourself running around that beach with her, squeezing her soft hand in yours, kissing her on the cheek, and sitting in the shade of a palm tree drinking coconut water through two straws.
You’re startled out of your drunken day dream by a group of lazy eyed friends hollering your name from across the living room. They beckon you over with uncoordinated gestures that look more like shadow boxing than friendly waves, and you look back at the girl by the fridge. Her boyfriend’s kissing her neck. She’s squeezing his ass so hard you can almost feel her pearly nails digging into your own. Fuck, you think, and you stumble over to the squad by the stereo with your eyes glued to the carpet. You’re suddenly trapped in a funny state of melancholy and belligerent arrogance. The yin yang of partying repel each other in your head. Everything’s going haywire. Your malfunctioning brain fires its steamy pistons and squirts its sticky juices. You dance in harrowing ecstasy, perfectly furious and happily discontent with everything and nothing. Emotions juxtapose, and you contradict yourself in your head trying to justify your anger. You realize even your trains of thought, running in opposite directions, are slurred and malformed. You want to party, but you want to make love. You want to dance, but you want to write a sonnet. You can feel the indifference and apathy bubbling up in your throat. You’re nauseous and your forehead feels slick, but you find yourself unable to give a damn. With a half a frown on your face you dance like an unwanted dandelion fluttering in a light breeze.
Your friend looks at your flustered face, your brow a dilapidated wooden bridge over a murky creek. He disappears empty handed into the fray of intoxicated delinquents. You look at your watch. It’s two in the morning. The vibes are unreal. You’re pouting over a girl you don’t know. You’re grinding on a gorgeous stranger. Your favorite song’s on, and everyone seems to be laughing except you. Your friend reappears with a look of understanding and a solution in his hand.
Josh Lang is an eighteen-year-old professional popcorn salesman and aspiring writer from central Florida. He writes to capture the beauty of adolescent debauchery as accurately as possible, participating almost every weekend for the sole purpose of advancing and growing as a writer.