Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hands Off, She's Mine...

Parties!  God, I love them.  But they make me nervous.  I drink before I get there.  It helps me loosen up.  I have a few beers.  Maybe two or three glasses of wine.  I listen to music and get dressed.

I wonder who I'll meet and see.  I imagine conversations I might have.  I look forward to the laughter and energy that comes off a group of people all eager to do the same thing.  Mingle, kick back and have fun.  These are my favorite activities.

I pin all of my hopes and dreams on this particular occasion.  I prepare the most outlandish expectations.  I cannot see beyond the moment that's about to occur. Nor do I want to.  Right now is all that I require.  A little money, the clothes on my back and the pills in my pocket.  I am totally focused.  I am good at parties. Tonight will change my life.  I believe this.

I hook up with some friends, and we hop in a cab.  I'm not sure of the address, but I don't really care about the details.  Another girl knows.  I talk about whatever comes to the front of my brain.  Loose thoughts encouraged by the drinks I've already had, that joint we smoked.  I can feel myself leave the gate open in my mind.  All the plastic toy animals skip into the pasture and roll around on their backs.  They bask in the sunshine of an unconventional freedom.  Hey, man.  You have your high, and I have mine.

I can hear music from down the street, and I start to get excited.  The place is mobbed with guests.  The doorway is a sweaty gauntlet of barely moving bodies, all gripping bottles of Budweiser and red plastic cups.  I am groped by friendly strangers as I squeeze through.  It is thrilling.  I find my way to the keg in the kitchen and establish my lifeline to the evening's events.

I hardly know anybody here, and for a minute, I'm intimidated.  But as long as I have a drink in my hand, I feel better.  It gives me something to do while I assess the situation.  It seems like lots of kids are in college, and I don't know what the fuck they're talking about.  They rattle on, discussing their course loads and professors, subjects and lectures.  Yeah, yeah, whatever.  I feel like I want to just throw myself on the ground.

Look, I was smart in high school.  I got good grades.  But I chose to go to work and get my own place, make some money.  Even though I struggle and I'm clueless as far as saving anything I earn.  Studying is stupid.  Then why am I so jealous of something I don't want?

I'm in a grown-up world now, an employee in a huge company.  Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, distiller of fine wines and spirits!  This is my destiny, I tell myself.  But when I go to my job, I feel like a little kid.  No one takes me very seriously.  How can they?  I don't know that much about life or business.  I pretend I do.  It's exhausting, and I am bored.

I slept with my boss, and things got weird.  I transferred to one of the marketing companies in another building across town.  The guy I report to now is a nervous little man, the work is a snore and I'm just not into it.  Thank God there's alcohol. We get to take home booze all the time when the labels are stained or torn.  Plus, it's easy to steal bottles.  The shit's laying around everywhere, and nobody's counting.

I love drinking.  It's such a magical part of everything.

Now, where were we?  Oh, right.  The party.

So I'm talking with this guy, Chris.  He's a student at St. John's, I think.  He lives in the dorm with one of Jill's brothers.  Or maybe they have a lab together.  I don't know, actually.  I guess he's cute, and he seems interested in me.  He asked if I have a boyfriend.  I told him 'yes,' and that he's in the Air Force.  I started explaining my relationship with Jason, and then I realized he doesn't really care. It's not like I feel as though I belong to anybody, anyway.  I'm just floating around in the right now.

Hours pass, and I'm having a great time.  In case you're wondering, I am wasted. My friends want to go home, but I'm determined to stay.  I can't seem to find Chris, but I don't think I'm looking too diligently either.  There's another guy. Ernie.  Or Bernie, maybe.  He's got coke, and I have money.  We are a good match.

Here's when it always gets ugly, that moment when the rubber meets the road. The girls want to leave.  They have classes in the morning.  My heart's breaking for them.  They remind me that we came together.  I tell them I appreciate the ride, but I'm not going anywhere.  Don't worry, I'll find my way home.  We hug goodbye and I can tell that they're pissed, but I'm not currently concerned about their feelings.

I shrug it off and dash down the hallway, into the back bedroom where all the kids who don't have school tomorrow settle in for what's next.  Perhaps drugs are my area of study, a specialty to which I seem to be devoting more and more time and effort.

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