Friday, December 12, 2008

The Party - Shavon Keller

A house ten minutes from campus. A familiar house, a reminder of blurry memories. Melissa and I walked through the door and all the fuzzily familiar faces turned to see the new comers. I was wearing my new blue halter top, to accentuate my blue eyes, and my favorite jeans. This outfit made me feel really good when staring at myself in the mirror, but now I couldn’t help but feel a little self conscious. Some people nodded in recognition, others just quickly turned back to their conversations. I was sure they were complaining about classes, reminiscing about hilarious moments at previous parties, or discussing their views of music legends, music now, or whatever. Melissa went her way and I made my way through the crowd with quick greetings here and there until I reached the fridge.
Yes Yeungling. That’s what’s great about parties at this house, they always got Yeungling. It was delicious and no doubt better than the typical cheap college beer, Nati Ice, Keystone, Ice House. They took advantage of the great deal at the local discount liquor store: a 24 pack for fifteen dollars; they loose six bottles compared to the typical cheap college beer but it’s worth it for the taste. I twisted the cap off and took a good first chug. Now I’m ready to be here. I walked back into the living room. Melissa already found a comfy spot on the couch and a make-out buddy. I could never feel comfortable making out with someone in the middle of a party for everyone to watch. She always bragged about it afterwards; well except with that one guy who began to slightly stalk her afterwards. She definitely regretted that one, and had actually stopped making out with guys at parties for a short while. But I guess if she’s having fun more power to her. Melissa was wearing a very short skirt, as usual, and I saw her new friend slide his hand up her leg. I looked away quickly. Another chug.
“Hey. Oh my gosh. I haven’t seen you in like forever.” Great it’s the way-too-cheerful Cheriyl. She reminded me of a puppy self combusting from over excitement. “Hey” I said with about a fifth of the excitement she had in her voice. I listened to her yap without absorbing a word she said. This was typical; she’s very good at having conversations without the other person having to contribute. I surveyed the room, hoping to find a better companion tonight than Cheriyl. And there he was. Danny Mitchell. He didn’t see me at first but he must have felt my eyes because he suddenly turned away from his conversation and his eyes caught mine. He revealed a slight smile and I quickly turned my attention back to Cheriyl, who was still yapping. I tried to concentrate on what she was saying, hoping to find a safe way to end the conversation. She was on the topic of how she spent last year’s Spring Break. “That sounds great” I said. “I know right?” she said. I chugged the rest of my beer. With fake disappointment of ending the conversation short I said, “Looks like it’s time for another.”
I escaped back to the fridge, glad to be free of her but trapped thinking about Danny. I don’t know how he expects me to act. I haven’t seen him in at least half a year, well besides that brief time at another party when we didn’t talk at all. I closed the fridge and suddenly warm, strong arms were wrapped around me. “Long time, Jen,” he said. I turned, “Yeah it has, Danny.” We stared at each other until it became awkward so I twirled my blonde hair around my finger, hoping it made me look more cute than nervous. Then Danny asked, “Do you like pomegranates?” That’s what’s great about Danny, he skips the How are you? Fine and you? Good, what’s new… boring singsong nonsense. He just starts talking about whatever’s on his mind. I used to find this weird but I’ve really come to appreciate it. “Yeah, I like how they are the opposite of typical fruit because you eat the seeds,” I answered. “Well I’ve just discovered them and I’ve really taken a liking to them.” He has great hair: dark, soft, just the right amount of greasiness and it always slightly covers his seductive blue eyes. “What you been up to?” he asked. “The usual. I can’t believe this is my last semester of school,” I said. “Take advantage of it, it goes by quick.” Danny graduated last year. I know I must have looked like a retard beaming back at him, but I couldn’t help it I was so glad he was talking to me and I could still feel the warmth from his hug surging through me like the first sip of hot rum cider. Like I said, it had been awhile and we were at a point where it didn’t seem like we cared about the other’s life or were even interested in seeing each other. We just became distant for no reason at all. But that all seemed like such a little blip in the past. I was glad now. He was like my favorite TV show starting up again after the writer’s strike.
“Jen come here, you’ve got to see this,” Melissa slurred as she appeared suddenly between Danny and me. As she pulled me away, like a mother pulling her daughter from her favorite swing, I looked back at Danny and gave him an apologetic smile. We plopped down on the couch next to Melissa’s make-out partner, who was impressively cute, now that I could see his face. What I had to see was a video on this guy’s camera of Melissa apparently drunk and hilarious at a previous party. After that entertaining show and my reassurance that she was in fact hilarious, Melissa returned to her make-out session. I returned to my Yeungling and my contemplative isolation while observing the room. Everyone was in little groups. Four people debating their ensemble of the perfect band in heaven: “And John Frusciante on the guitar.” “But he’s still alive.” “I know but he’s awesome, he’ll be dead some day.” Three people on that couch discussing who they were going to vote for in the next election without having any real support for their views: “Well Obama sounds too much like O Sama so that’ll never happen.” And two people in the doorway to the kitchen downing their shots of vodka “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’re making me do this.” You got to love the diversity and intelligence of college students and their solo cup politics. I used to be friends with these people but somehow I am just growing apart from them. They still want to have these ritualistic parties they’ll never truly remember. I just want to move on.
Where did he go? Once I began to feel uncomfortable with Melissa and her mouth-fixated-guy-friend rubbing against me, I got another beer and decided to check how the upstairs looked, and hoped to casually run into him again. I inspected the main room with its beer pong and other various drinking games, he was nowhere. Then I saw blue light floating out of the cracked door of the back room. I took a chug and walked as confidently as the Yeungling would allow at that moment toward the blue light. There he was, sitting on the bed all alone, the blue light creating this mystical version of him as if he were outlined in bold and everything else in the room was a blur. He’s the reason I came tonight. “Hey, you want a hit?” He asked as he held the joint out to me. “Sure,” I answered. He moved over to make a space for me to sit and said, “Close the door behind you.” I did, then walked over to the bed and sat next to him. I was alone with him at last and we were glowing blue.
Once we were finished smoking, we sat in silence and allowed our selves to just be. And then he kissed me. I forgot he had a tongue ring and how great it felt to kiss him. I don’t know what it was about Danny that made me feel this way, like a peach turned inside out, you know all fuzzy on the inside? I just knew that no one else made me feel that way. While we laid together on the bed he said, “At the last party I didn’t talk to you because I had a girlfriend back home.” I told him he didn’t have to explain himself to me. “But I want to. I ignored you the best I could because-” He paused. “Because I was afraid if I was near you I wouldn’t be able to not kiss you.” I didn’t say anything. We were both quiet just lying there in the blue haze.
Soon he was asleep, practically snoring with his mouth parted, his jaw slightly lower than the top of his mouth, like gravity was too powerful even for his strong jaw. His right eye was squished against the pillow and his eyebrow raised as if questioning me, but I had no idea what the question was. I looked him over and ran my hand from his face down his shirt and over his mole next to his bellybutton which made him look like he had a slightly off center outie. He’s the only ritual I will miss. I kissed him on the forehead. Until next time. I left the room, closing the door behind me and leaving Danny to dream about blue lights, hazy nights and whatever girl he wanted.

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