The First Night of February

By Alexandra Seemungal

I told them, I don’t party. But I did, just this once. Because sitting in your room every

Friday night becomes boring eventually. So I did. I put on my tightest pair of jeans and a lacy

black crop top and a pair of sneakers I was willing to get dirty. Makeup, hair, jewelry...is all this

really worth a couple hours of drunk blurriness and a sick stomach the next day? Yes, just this

once. My friend met me at my room, all dressed up and ready to release her wild side. She held

up her phone for a selfie and I cheesed into the camera while she snapped a pic. First one of

the night.

We take an uber to the store where she flashes a fake ID and buys us some spiked

seltzers. I sip the carbonated alcohol, its contents make my stomach jump. We made it to the

party where we met our other friend there. Three girls, looking cute in black and slightly buzzed,

walking into a wild jungle of other drunk college students...they were excited, I felt like a

condemned man being led to the gallows. Inside that dirty house was an entire fraternity I was

well acquainted with. A year’s worth of nostalgia hit me as loud trap music blasted in my ear and

the smell of marijuana smacked my senses. A hello here, a hello there. A lot can change in a

year, I know I did, and I know they noticed. Every single one of those frat brothers saw me, their

eyes widened in familiarity and then traveled up and down my body to review the alterations that

I had worked hard to craft during my year in isolation. One by one they came up and gave me a

friendly hug, telling me I looked great, telling me it’s been so long. They offered me juice from a

large plastic tub that probably hadn’t been washed since their last party. I shook my head and

gripped my can of seltzer, telling them thanks but no thanks...I don’t party, not anymore.

I dance in a crowded room of students, someone’s arm bumping mine from the right side

and some girl’s ass grinding on my leg from the left. People are screaming song lyrics at the top

of their lungs and holding red cups in the air, doing everything they can to escape reality, if only

for a few hours. I drink slowly, my friends beside me chug. Div holds two red cups in her hand,

trying to dance in heels at the same time. She comes too close and her drink goes down my

shirt. I cringe, she doesn’t even notice. But I do want to have fun. Behind me, three boys light up

a joint. I turn my head and look for a way into their circle. One of them notices me staring and

gives me a grin.

“You want to join?”

I have to read his lips because it’s too loud to hear.

“Yes,” I mouth back.

I walk over with a smirk on my face, my friends stay close behind me. He hands me the

joint and all three of them watch me. This is my chance to show off. I bring the stick to lips and

inhale, maintaining eye contact with the cutest of the group. The smoking end flares red as I

suck in its contents. I hold it for a second and then release and french-inhale through my nose

before blowing out a stream of smoke. Their jaws all drop.

“Oh you SMOKE smoke,” they say in awe.

I smile as the buzz hits my brain and take a sip of the seltzer to complete the feel.

Another hit and I pass it off to Kat behind me. My head begins to feel woozy...I really don’t party.

Div is going crazy, her dancing turning into gyrating movements and somehow there’s a fresh

cup of juice in her hand. She asks me if I’m having fun and I reply yes. She holds up her phone

and gestures for Kat and I to come closer. I give a weak smile as the flash hits my eyes and she

cheers over the blurry, disoriented pic.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” she says.

Kat and I follow her to the tiny, crowded bathroom on the other side of the house.

“Come onnn.” She pulls at my arm to come inside with her.

No way. I pull back and assure them that I’ll wait right outside the door. My can of seltzer

is almost empty but I have no intention of getting another. People bump into me as they pass

through the house, drunk, buzzed and delirious. My eyes wander around, I see almost everyone

I know here. Div and Kat stumble out of the bathroom and we return to the dance floor. A hit

song blasts through the speakers and I find myself enjoying myself. My hips don’t usually swing

like this unless I’m alone but I’m too buzzed to care.

“YEAH ALEX” Div shouts over the music and I dance even harder.

I feel someone moving behind me and hands suddenly take place on the sides of my

hips. I don’t even know who it is but there’s a nose next to my ear and a half-hard dick against

my ass so I figure, YOLO. I dance against this stranger for one, two, three songs and then Div

has to go to the bathroom again. I follow her and Kat, and this time they convince me to come

inside. I stand in that dimly lit room while Div pees and Kat chugs another drink. The change in

lighting is disorienting and I don’t like it.

“Come on guys, we need to take a bathroom pic, it’s tradition” Div slurs.

She holds up her phone again and pulls me close to her, her tiny hand holding a

crushing grip on my wrist. I smile painfully and wait for her to let go. Kat giggles and hiccups and

I realize how late it is.

“Div it’s almost 2, let’s go,” I say.

“NOOO” she whines, “let’s stay till 2:30.”

I sigh. I want to go home but she’s having fun and I never come out like this so I figure,

half an hour longer won’t hurt. Kat and Div rush out of the bathroom again and I follow behind

them, fighting through the crowd of drunken dancing robots...I really don’t party.

I dance with them a little longer, my hips beginning to tire out and my feet beginning to

slip on the juice-covered floor. Div takes videos on her phone and screams to the music at the

top of her lungs. Kat’s head is beginning to nod and her dancing has been reduced to a simple

swaying from side to side. She’s tired too, I realize. Div is chugging another drink and I decide

that enough is enough. I take it from her and set it on a table to the side, she’s too drunk to even

notice. A tall lanky guy steps through the crowd and makes his way over to our group. I prepare

myself for an awkward conversation.

“Hey,” he tries to shout over the music.

I give my best attempt at a large smile but my head is beginning to shut down.

“How have you been?” I ask.

He’s a talker, and begins to relay his achievements over the past year that we hadn’t

seen each other. I nod and pretend to listen. Cool, cool. He finally waves and moves away,

dissolving into the sea of people. I guess I can say I’m cool with my ex, this is his party after all.

“Guys, I have to use the bathroom,” Div says.

I feel myself getting annoyed.

“You always have to use the bathroom,” I say, half-jokingly.

“I KNOW” she cries and pulls at my arm to follow her.

I’m tired of her fingers grabbing at my skin so I pull away and follow her and Kat at a

distance. They return to the bathroom and shut the door behind them and I decide that it’s time

for a little detour. So I roam the house, finding a staircase and deciding without thinking that I

would go up. Anything to get away from all that noise. It’s quieter upstairs, I find a door that’s

half-open, with people talking inside. Sitting among the group is my friend Jesse. He waves me

in and I smile at the people I don’t know before taking a seat on his lap. A guy sits at a desk

beside us, sprinkling some white, powdery substance in front of him and using a credit card to

sweep it all together into a long, thin line.

“What is that?” I ask, although I already know the answer.

He turns and grins at me, white dust under his nose.

“It’s meth,” he says.

I know it’s not but it still makes me uncomfortable. I stand up from Jesse’s lap and he

asks me what’s wrong. I shake my head and he shrugs, taking a dollar bill and rolling it up tight.

He leans over the desk and the cocaine disappears from under his nose. No way, I’m getting

out of here. I stumble back down the stairs to find Kat passed out on the couch. I hurry to her.

“Are you okay?” I try to get her attention.

Her lids open slightly and she nods before passing out again. This isn’t good, I need to

get her home. I turn to look for Div and see her in the distance, wrapped around the same guy

who had been grinding on me only an hour before. I tell Kat that we’re getting an uber and

leaving before going over to Div and telling her the same thing.

“NOOO” she says, her arms flailing around as she tries to hug me.

I pry her arms off me and tell her that we are leaving NOW. She finally gives in and

orders an uber for us while I try to get Kat off the couch. Kat tells us she’s going to stay at her

boyfriend’s house tonight and I ask her how she’s getting home.

“It’s only a block away,” she says, “I’ll walk.”

No way.

“I’m taking you there,” I shout. “You’re not going alone.”

“I’ll be fine,” she says.

I try to get Div to calm down beside me as she dances wildly throughout the increasingly

empty room. People are leaving, it’s almost 3am and I have intentions to do the same but Div

can’t control herself, Kat is falling asleep, and my head is really beginning to hurt.

“Where is the uber?” I ask her.

She checks her phone before screaming, “IT’S OUTSIDE,” and begins to run to the door.

I can’t let her go out alone so I follow and watch in horror as she runs straight into the

street and towards a car that’s going way too fast to be stopping for us.

“Div, wait!” I cry.

She runs from car to car until she finds our uber and climbs in, with me behind her.

“Where’s Kat?!” She cries.

Shit. Where is Kat? She had followed us when we went outside but from what I

remember, she hadn’t left the porch. I call her on my cell phone, praying the little battery

percentage I had left wouldn’t run out before I reached her. She answers on the first ring.

“Are you okay, where are you?” I ram her questions.

“Relax,” she tells me. “I’m almost to Charles’ house.”

Charles is her boyfriend, and I feel the anxiety leave my shoulders. Kat is responsible, I

trust her to get back. Div, on the other hand, won’t stop shouting in my ear and holds up her

phone for another selfie. Enough is enough.

“PLEASE take us to State Quad, SUNY Albany,” I tell the driver.

He smiles in the mirror and the car pulls away from the curb while I do my best to control

Div’s flailing hands. That car ride home felt like the longest in my life but we eventually made it

back and I could barely feel the cold around me as I loop Div’s arm over my shoulder and drag

her back to her room. Her residents are awake and sitting around a table right next to her door. I

smile at them and march Div straight into her room where I sit her down in a chair and

command her to stay put.

“No, I’m gonna walk you up to your room,” she says, trying to get up but failing to stand up

straight.

“Like hell you are.” I’ve had enough of this night.

She persists and I feel myself begin to lose my temper.

“If you go out there, I will scream at the top of my lungs that RA Divya is drunk,” I threaten.

“You wouldn’t dare.” Her eyes widen and she becomes serious.

“Try me,” I say, my patience wearing thin.

She tries to move to the door so I push her back and she loses her balance, falling hard

into her chair.

“Alex..” she looks up at me in surprise.

I immediately feel bad and realize I’m out of sorts as well so instead I tell her she’s too

drunk and I only want to make sure she’s safe. She makes me promise to text her as soon as I

get to my room and I take this as my chance to finally get away.

“Goodnight,” I say as I hurry out of the room and rub my temples with my fingers.

My head is pounding. I trudge up to my own room, my whole body feeling heavy. My

roommate is still awake, her computer light shining in the darkness.

“How was your night?” She asks me.

“Ugh,” I reply.

I begin to wind down then, the comfort of my room making the rest of my anxiousness

release. I peel off my tight blue jeans and pull off the lacy black crop top that was making my

shoulders itch. Dirty, juice-covered sneakers get kicked to the side and pajamas go on instead.

Makeup, hair jewelry...this was so not worth a couple hours of drunk blurriness and a pounding

head. I remove all of it and collapse in bed.

I really don’t fucking party.