When I Go Out

There was humidity in the air. It always hung around in places where there were lots of people.The hum of voices and the dull lights made me sleepy.

“You’re a nut.”

“Huh?” I said.

I tilted my head towards the voice; my friend was smirking at me with a drink in her hand. She shook her head and turned back to her conversation with an energy that I could never reciprocate. Our group was beside a picnic table and I was lying on the seat with my legs dangling over the edge. I wasn’t trying to make a scene, it was fairly normal for me. The air was a little clearer down there and the seat cooled my back. And I could look at the stars while I listened to my friends. It was nice, I was happy.

Someone walked towards me and stood by the end of the table, by my knees. All I could see was a torso and a beer bottle. I didn’t bother to get up to look further.

“Dude,” he said. His voice was low and slurred, drunk.

“What?” I asked.

“You’re at a party.”

“Your point?” I said, my words drifting into the air above my head.

“You were just sleeping.”

I hesitantly pulled myself upright, crossed my legs, and looked at the guy. I raised my brows and made a point to keep my eyelids from drooping. “I was contemplating,” I mumbled.

He huffed at me and extended his free hand while the other lazily gripped the neck of his beer bottle. I swung at it to high-five him away, to nicely tell him to bugger off. He stumbled to the side and almost spilled some of his beer onto the mud, which was probably mostly alcohol at that point anyway. He looked at me with mock surprise. I mirrored his expression half-heartedly. I was comfortable, I didn’t feel like getting up.

“Alright,” he chuckled, “let’s see what is so great about this dramatic display of discontent.”

“Who the hell talks like that when they’re drunk?”

“I do. You’ve known me long enough to know that.”

“I’ve known you two minutes.”

“Exactly,” he said.

He tightened his grip on his beer and took a few steps back before lunging and jumping onto the table top. He looked down at me with both arms outstretched. I lied back down and tried to catch up with whatever conversation I had missed of my friends. What I had missed was an apparently seamless transition into talking about ducks. Alcohol was a special kind of poison.

“Am I supposed to feel some sort of spiritual awakening?”

“Sh.”

“Oh, wait,” he breathed in deeply, “I think the air is less contaminated here. I can actually breathe.”

“Yes,” I said.

“How is this picnic table so comfortable?” The table creaked as he fidgeted. “This is like the memory foam mattress of picnic tables. If picnic table were mattresses.”

“It’s cold,” I croaked.

“What?”

“It’s cold. That’s why it’s so comfortable.” His response was an ‘Ah’ that used up too many vowels.

I refocused on the stars and listened to his thick breathing, cloaking over the dulled out conversation about ducks beside me. The contrast of the two made me feel super weird. Just the thought that if extra-terrestrials peeked at us from the stars at that exact moment they’d realise we were idiots.

“Twinkly,” he cooed.

“Huh?”

“Stars, they’re twinkly.”

I took his drink from beside him and smelt it. Beer and gin. The conversation suddenly made a lot more sense.

“The atmosphere does that, not the st—”

“You weren’t lying,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“This is kind of spiritually awakening.”

“You said that.”

“Oh…yeah. I’m thirsty.”

I placed his drink but in his cupped hand. He grinned and put the bottle to his lips, after two failed attempts.

“Thanks,” he said.

I think he passed out after that. He stopped talking.

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