The nine of us are seated around a circular wooden table. This is a Friday night. Some rock tunes are playing from an ipod. Beer mugs and shot glasses clutter the table, along with the board game we’re playing. Pictionary? Or have we moved onto Catch Phrase? I’m not sure.
Regardless, the Girl gets up to go smoke a cigarette. She asks if I want to come with her. I say yes.
Of course, I say yes.
We rise and I grab the itchy, beige cardigan that’s draped over the back of my chair and my giant green beanie that made its way to the floor. Nobody seems to care that we’re leaving. The game continues on.
As we near the door I tell her I’ll meet her outside. That I have to use the bathroom. After all, I’ve been chugging water all night.
When she arrived I had a sample of beer in front of me. A small pour from a bottle everyone shared. She sat down, and after one of the nine had pulled a bottle of liquor out from the freezer and started pouring shots, she asked if she could have a beer. One beer. I shook my head no. Gave the rest of my sample to someone else. And that was that. It was done.
So, as I enter the bathroom, it perturbs me to find a half full bottle of Yuengling perched on top of the water tank of the toilet. I immediately infer that one of my housemates had taken a shower earlier while drinking the beer and forgot about it upon finishing. I pick the bottle up as I relieve myself. It still feels cold. I bring it to my lips. Feel the carbonation pop against my tongue and taste the malty sweetness as I swish it through my teeth to my cheeks.
It goes down so easy. So very easy.
And I imagine the Girl will want some. I imagine it’ll be a little treat while we share the cigarette she’s most likely already started. Something we can enjoy to ourselves. Away from everyone else. Outside. Under the stars. How romantic.
I grin at myself in the mirror.
She’s seated on the front step with her knees drawn to her chest. I sit down beside her and feel the chill of the cement through my pants.
Casually, I bring the bottle to my lips again and swallow.
She turns towards me and I offer her the bottle.
I hold it out into the dark night. Into the cold.
She looks from my eyes to my hand, then to the ground. To the grass. To the cars parked down the street. Away. Away.
She shakes her head no. Drags on the cigarette.
The smoke blows in my face.
I have failed.