And I feel great.
And all my friends are here. The living room is packed with people. I don’t know most of them, but that’s ok. We wanted it this way.
There’s a rap song playing. The bass is loud. It’s shaking the windows.
My best friend is right there talking to some girl. He looks happy, like he just had a really good dream, and for once, he didn’t wake up too soon. He’s laughing, and so is she. He laughs at a lot of the stuff I say, which is why I like him so much. I don’t know if he laughs to make me feel better, or if he actually thinks I’m funny. But I guess I don’t really care.
Two kids are sitting on the couch across the room. They look a little nerdy, and they’re only talking to each other. But they’re drunk. Really drunk. And I’m glad for them. Because there here trying to be alive. That’s a hell of a lot more than most people can say.
A friend asks if I want to smoke a cigarette. I tell him no, I don’t feel like it.
A girl I know comes up to me. She has pale skin and dark-brown hair. She starts talking to me about how her roommate is hard to live with, how she’s too particular and condescending. I tell her that sucks. And she says yeah, it really does. She keeps talking about it, how her roommate is so awful, and she gets so upset that tears well up in her eyes. I ask if she’s ok, and she says yes. But I can tell she isn’t. Then I tell her that everything will be fine, and I give her a fist bump, which I admit was strange, but it just felt like the right thing to do. She laughs, and then she goes to talk to her boyfriend. I wonder why she didn’t go to him in the first place.
There are a lot of girls here. A lot of pretty girls. I look at one with reddish-brown hair. She catches me looking at her, and I look away. But then I look back, and our eyes meet. She smiles. She looks like she’s going to come over to me, but she doesn’t. And I think about going over to her, but I don’t. It’s this odd moment of mutual interest and hesitation. I don’t know why it happens. Maybe it’s because we’re scared. Or maybe it’s because we know that these things too often end in hung over, dehydrated regret.
The song changes. It’s my best friend’s favorite song. He does that thing that people always do when their favorite song comes on. He gets this look on his face, a cross between glee and disbelief, and he screams. He grabs me and our other friends, and we all dance.
I know I’m a bad dancer. But I try not to think about it. I just laugh with my friends and sing along to the song. We’re yelling and jumping and swaying, and for a second, I forget that there’s a world outside this room.
Then the song ends. And my friend from before tells me he really wants a cigarette. I tell him I don’t want one, but I’ll go outside and keep him company.
We go outside and he starts smoking. Except he doesn’t smoke much, so he pukes after a few puffs. Someone helps him inside.
Now I’m out here all alone.
I sort of wish I had a cigarette, but I don’t have one. So I bring my hand to my mouth and pretend to take a drag. The air is cold enough that my breath looks like smoke.
I stand there pretend smoking, and I see people leaving the house. They’re stumbling and laughing. I hear the dull bump of the music inside. I finish the cigarette I wish I had, and I go back inside.
But when I get in, I don’t go into the crowd. I stand at the edge so I can watch everyone.
Then, I smile.
Because I’m drunk, and I feel invincible. My best friend is here, and just looking at him makes me smile. Two nerdy kids are having the time of their lives. A sad girl with a bad roommate is talking to her boyfriend, and she gives him a fist bump. A pretty girl who I may never talk to glances at me, and I pretend not to see her, but she knows I notice her there. All my friends are dancing like beautiful fools. My cigarette-smoking friend finds himself another drink.
I smile because we’re all here trying to do the same thing. We’re all trying to live. We’re all trying to feel. We’re all here because sometimes life is just too fucking boring. We drink. And we smoke. And we dance. And we laugh. And we lust. Because it’s who we are. It’s what makes us human. It’s what helps us get through all the stress, the sadness and mundanity. It’s what gives us something real to remember.
I stand here and I admire every person in the room.
But I don’t stand for too long. My best friend grabs me again.
We dance and sing and yell some more, and in the middle of it all, someone says something about how hung over we’re going to be tomorrow. And he’s right. We will be.
And that’s ok.
Because even though my head will hurt and my tongue will feel like sandpaper, I won’t regret a single thing I’ve done tonight.