Brian picked me up everyday. I waited at the south entrance with Evan and Quinn. Brian didn’t have a sixth hour so he would go home first and then come get me. He had an old beige sedan with one red door. He bought it that way. He called it the “dunce” seat and chose who sat there.
It was usually Lindsey. She was the worst.
Holly was having a party. There was going to be alcohol and girls and marijuana and I wasn’t supposed to tell Evan or Quinn, they weren’t popular. Brian wanted to bring Smirnoff and I told him I was good with anything. His brother Shane bought it for us. He said it was best with the cherry slushes from the Shell down the street.
Brian’s car smelled like pancakes. He had a bowl full of about fifty he made the day before. Sometimes, we would drive around and throw them at people and try to get them in car trunks. Once we threw one at a jogger and he chased after us. He got Brian’s license plate and a cop went to his house later.
Brian asked why people would throw pancakes. Then the cop left.
We drove to my house so I could change and Brian wanted to borrow my blue button-up with the white dots. It was a little short on him. He didn’t care. I went with a tan t-shirt with a wide neck and wore a burgundy cardigan over it. I didn’t change my pants. They were burnt orange and felt like corduroy, I don’t know if they actually were. I don’t know if corduroy is a type of fabric or style of pants.
Brian ate the rest of my lunch as he talked to my mom. She said Brian and I were like the same person if I was more outgoing and cared less about what people thought. I always nodded in agreement. She was wrong though. I just don’t like confrontation.
I’ve never liked confrontation.
The slush machines weren’t working right. We had to mix cola and cherry together. Brian didn’t think it would change anything. Luke was already at the party, same with Daniel. They said Hannah was there and she wanted to see me. I poured more alcohol into my slush.
The porch was filled with people; some I recognized, some I didn’t. They greeted us as we approached the house. I don’t know how they knew my name. Rob was there. I hadn’t seen him since 6th grade; I think he transferred to a Christian school. The door was ajar. Brian pushed it open.
Holly’s family was in a bunch of pictures on the walls. It felt weird looking at them since they would have probably disapproved of us being there. By the kitchen counter some guy I didn’t know was vomiting into a vase. Holly was making out with a guy I couldn’t recognize. Brian saw. I think he was disappointed but I wasn’t sure.
There weren’t a lot of people on the back-deck. I walked straight there and smoked a cigarette. No one talked to me. I could see into the neighbor’s windows. They were looking back at me and talking to someone I couldn’t see. They probably wanted to call the cops. They didn’t though.
I put out my cigarette and heard a “hi.” Hannah was behind me in the doorway. She smiled and I did too. She said she couldn’t stand it in there, too many people. I agreed. She asked me for a cigarette, so I gave her one. I smoked another one so I could stay out there with here and have an excuse. You could tell she didn’t smoke.
Hannah was really drunk and so was I. Brian and I drank in his car and it was really hitting me. A song with so much bass you couldn’t hear anything else started playing. Hannah said she loved this song. I said I did too. We stood there not talking. She looked like she wanted me to say something but I didn’t have anything to say.
She said she lived near by.
I asked her to repeat herself so I could have time to think of something to say. I couldn’t. She looked at me waiting. I told her that was convenient. She said she thought she was going to go soon. I said some stupid joke and she laughed. She asked if I wanted to come to.
I stuttered again.
We left after I said goodbye to Brian and Luke and Daniel. She said goodbye to Holly. The door was still ajar.
We left it that way.
more by TYLER CLIFTON
photograph by Sascha Oberholzer