I’m a solo cup of rum and butter and cider in and I feel the warmth hit my stomach like a bomb.
I just can’t escape the trenches.
I ask her, “Do you want to leave?” because, despite her sobriety, she’s nodding off on the damp stoop.
“I’m fine,” she says. That’s all she ever says.
So, okay, I go beer after beer deep.
On my third (?), a tall lanky guy who introduces himself as _____ stops in front of us. I first notice his costume; mistake it as Waldo “humping” a leprechaun but he corrects me–he’s riding a leprechaun. He comments on my t-shirt, he asks what I thought about the remake. We talk. He seems stable. Nice. Sober, because he has to drive an hour and a half home.
“You drove over an hour for this?” I ask.
The warm feeling has burned out but the inebriation in my brain is full force. I’m socially lubricated and my body is loose. I’m leaning against the wall, I’m laughing at stupid things I overhear. I’m talking to a kid who is younger than me but graduated with a four-year degree sooner than me. We went to high school together. I’m friends with his ex. I have reason to dislike him; I do dislike him. Yet, his stupid banter and commonality between academia is much needed at this time in the night. Him and his girlfriend are even more of a social lubricant.
“Can I buy a cig off you?”
“The competitor of Uber.”
They start playing a live rendition of “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer and I tap my foot against the stoop.
My old neighbor, younger than me, probably has an IQ of 150, has travelled all over the world, is as lifeless as I remember him being even back when we were small and played house and I got a mouthful of sand and dirt in my mouth and he kissed me.
His house was full of secrets and dimness and smelled like sugared cereal.
I have moments of introspective drunkenness.
It hurts. Vaguely.
My ex-neighbor sort of encourages me to take a Jello shot. Sure, I’m all about having more vivid dreams. I like to remember pain. I usually forget. I swallow a slice of clementine. The Jello is slightly bitter, slightly sweet, and a vivid orange. Where’s Waldo joins me–this pleases me.
I feel dumb.
She and I go back out for one last smoke. I tell her, I’ll talk to him before we leave. Before we leave, though, he’s walking out and we’re telling him to have a good night.
There’s a certain kind of loneliness the stems from being intoxicated, even if you’re having a good time. There’s a moment–perhaps you’re in the bathroom, or you’re having a cigarette, or reaching into the fridge for another beer, or standing against the wall. But it’s there. It reaches up into your brain and tugs on your flaws, your insecurities, your hopes, your dead dreams.
In two years, two months, two weeks, two days, two hours, this moment, this night, this experience–it will not matter.