Was probably May. Maybe it was early June. I don’t remember. You hear a lot about people despairing as summer ends, but I always dreaded the Spring and the coming of Summer.
We were graduating from high school soon, and no one really knew what it was going to be like out there. People had probably told us but teenagers aren’t known to listen very well. We didn’t listen, just did what we always did.
The party this time was at a county girl’s house. She was a softball player and had had cancer when she was a little girl. I think her dad was a mechanic. They had a modest brick home not far from the only highway in and out of town. No waterfront plantation like we usually had. You could hear the cars passing by from the back patio. Everyone was in the basement and in the back-yard. The baseball players were playing beer-pong on the pool table with steel-reserve. It was a bad idea. I didn’t play.
It was hot and humid. Was always hot and humid that time of year and the air full of bugs. There was a small fire-pit out back that no one bothered to light and a picnic table. Empty bottles and cans covered half the table. Rap music was playing. Was too loud. I watched headlights pass by through the trees.
People were more generous with invites towards the end. Kids who didn’t usually come to these gatherings were there. They stood out. One of them was a guy from the lacrosse team. He was a local boy that had transferred from the public school. He had brought with him a bottle of some kind of whiskey. I don’t remember what it was. He was sipping from it and talking to some girls that didn’t seem interested. Some of the other guys from the team got bored and started daring him to take large swigs from the bottle. I went inside.
It was cold in the house. The air conditioner was being worked hard. A county girl who never came to our gatherings was on the couch. She liked me. I shambled over to her and sat down next to her. She crossed her arms awkwardly and said “hi.” Her leg was touching mine. She was warm. I leaned onto her shoulder and sat there for a while, staring at the wood paneling of the basement. The baseball players had passed out under the pool table.
One of the girls came in from the back yard to announce that the local boy chugging whiskey outside had drank too much and was no longer coherent. I walked to the door and saw him laying on the picnic table surrounded by cans and bottles. He had lost control over his bodily functions. Someone had called his father to come take him home. One girl was sitting next to him as I he lay on his side. Everyone else had left.
I went to a separate room to pass out. I think it was an office. The girl from the couch followed me. I laid down on the floor. She sat down next to me and held my head on her lap. I feel asleep.
When I wandered outside the next morning I didn’t talk to anyone. Nothing was on the back patio but stains and empty bottles. The bugs were out again.