A book about the guys who poofed (chapter 10, rough draft)

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DARREN

I met you at a college frat party (whose Greek name I will not divulge for all intended purposes.) A friend (whose name I will also not divulge for the sanctity of my friendship with him,) from an Asian organization I’m a member of, is also a member of that fraternity. Said friend invited me and some of our college friends to said party. It was on a Friday night, and although frat parties, or parties in general weren’t my thing, I went anyway because they said it was going to be fun, and epic, and legendary, and free booze. Ah. The conviction of words. Irresistible. They had me at free booze.

That night started with me getting drunk and then challenging everyone at the pool table to play bets against me, and to make the game more fun, I suggested that everyone play with their left hands. With everyone’s alcohol consumption at the time, everyone just agreed. I won every bet. 80 dollars, four games straight. No one questioned my skill in playing lefty. Everyone just thought that everyone were drunk, and that I just got lucky. Even after I stopped playing, the bets and the games continued on. No one realized what really happened. No one noticed. Except you.

I was counting my winnings in a corner, my red cup already empty, when you came and told me that I was very cheeky. Of course I knew what you were talking about, but I had to pretend I had no idea what you meant. You said I was good at acting drunk too. Maybe you were right. Maybe I was. Or not. It wasn’t that I was good at playing drunk. I just know my alcohol limit and I stop even before I reach that limit. Plus, it’s a hell lot more fun to be the only sober person in a crazy ass party. The joy of seeing my friends’ faces tomorrow when I recount what went down tonight? Priceless.

I asked if you were a brother, and you said that you’ve only been invited. I told you that it was such a coincidence because I was only invited too. And you said that I didn’t look like I would be a fraternity member unless wearing a dress was a very good disguise. I laughed, and you did too. But what you didn’t know is that I was laughing a lot longer than usual because I was having this monologue inside my head.

Is he flirting with me? Should I be flirting back? Ok, he’s kinda cute, no, really cute. Stop staring at his green eyes. Look somewhere else. His nose. His nose, cute, pointy. And only a couple centimeters away from me. Step back. Step back, Jess, your breath smells like draft! You’re gonna kill him! And his lips, thin, and delicate, and very kissable. Goatee, hmmm. I never liked facial hair, but I’m kinda digging that. Stop it, what are you doing, Jess? You’re not that kind of girl. You don’t wanna do this. You think you do, but you really don’t. Listen to me. Don’t listen to me. Where is Mona Lisa? Talking with some random dude at 2 o’clock. Where is Adam? Squashed in some girl’s face at 9 o’clock. OK, I think I’m good. Jess, you’re good. You’re alright. Pat on the back. You’re fine. You’re 21 and you can ‘fuckin do this. Laugh. Smile. Just don’t forget to breathe.

“Everything OK?” you asked.

“‘Course!” I mean, I can’t really tell you that I was just consulting myself for a good minute there, right? I mean, that will probably turn you off. Not that I want to turn you on, or anything! But that will give you the impression that I’m this crazy, mad, person, and I’m not. Like, really, I’m not. Seriously.

Throughout the next hour, you told me that you’re a forestry major and that it’s already your last semester. You said you’d probably take a good time off mountain trekking all over Asia before you start looking for a proper job to pay off your loans. I asked which mountain you would want to climb first, and you said that you still haven’t really planned that far. I don’t know if you were just bullshitting me at that time. I told you that I’m a junior and that I want to become a best-selling author. You asked what I would write about, and I said that I haven’t really thought about it yet. “Maybe you?” And you laughed and probably thought that I was just bullshitting at that time. I was impressed that we managed to talk about stuff even though we were really struggling with the music blasting in the background. It didn’t help that there were a few freshmen throwing up just a few meters away from where we stood.

“You want to go somewhere?” You asked. I can’t remember now if you were whispering it to my ear, or screaming it out loud against my earlobe.

I took a deep, liberating breath. “Do you want to walk me back to the dorm?”

I pulled Mona and Adam by their sleeves and told them that I had too much to drink, and that I’m too tired, and that I’m just gonna walk back home by myself and go to sleep. But I lied. I was a sneaking, cheeky liar. Because in front of the frat house was you, waiting for me to get out so you can walk me home. 

The closer we got to my dorm, the faster my heartbeat became. So, now what? Like, do I just invite you in? Is that how it goes? But, I guess, at 1 o’clock in the morning, my foot was a lot faster than my brain, because we were already inside the room even before I could decide if I want to let you in. 

You saw a burned copy of 300 on top of Mona’s desk. You asked me if I’ve already seen the movie. And I embarrassingly admitted that I haven’t yet. Your mouth fell open in disbelief. 

“How can you do this? We’re spartans! This is Sparta!” You said but I was convinced it was the alcohol talking.

“I was supposed to, but then I had to be dragged to this frat party, didn’t I? I said in defense.

“Then there’s only one thing left to do.” And with that, you put the disc in the player.

We sat comfortably on my couch, well, Mona’s couch, technically. You started putting your arm over my shoulder even before the opening credits appeared. And I laughed a tiny bit inside because I see this happening in movies all the time. My eyes were glued to the TV screen. I was trying too hard to focus on what was really happening in Sparta. I watched in earnest as King Leonides and his 300 men reached the Gates of Thermopylae. But I never found out what happened after. You probably don’t remember that scene either, because by then, your tongue was already tied to mine. It was wonderful and awful at the same time. Wonderful because you’re the best kisser I ever kissed. Well, there was only one before you and we all know how that first kiss went down. The point is that I have a point of comparison now. I could tell that this was a way better kiss than my first kiss. Either that, or I just had too much beer to drink. I like to think that you were really a better kiss. The only reason it was awful was because you tasted like alcohol. I’m sure I did too, and you didn’t mind.

We kissed long, intense, pressing kisses. And I knew that sooner, you would want to move a little bit further. So, I asked you if it was OK that we just kiss and cuddle that night. You didn’t have to know that I have never slept with anyone before, and that I wouldn’t want my first sex to be with someone I just happen to have bumped into at a frat party, no offense. I didn’t have to tell you because that’s way too much information for someone I just met right before midnight.

If it would make you feel any better though, that was a really hard call to make. You looked really attractive, and we were both already a bit too drunk, and aggressively kissing. You were already there, solid on the couch! But I couldn’t do it. I can’t be that girl. I can’t be some girl you would tell your roommates about. At least not yet. And definitely not with a bloodbath of 300 men happening in the background.

I was expecting that you would put your shoes back on and immediately leave. I was ready for you to go berserk and slam the door to my face because that’s what usually happens in the movies. I really didn’t mind if you left. At least we don’t have to deal with the awkwardness of saying goodbye to each other in the morning. At least I wouldn’t have to explain my disappearing act to Mona when she gets home because you’ll be long gone before then. So, you got up, turned the TV off, and sat back on the couch again.

Ok, what just happened? Because you’re supposed to be heading straight out the door like two seconds ago!

Then you pulled your iPod out of your pocket and wrapped yourself around me to a tune. I only want one night, cause I’ve seen a bad light. Light. Li–ght. Li–i–ight. And that song just kept playing in repeat as we snuggled and kissed each other softly until we both fell asleep.

The next morning, or afternoon, I really can’t remember the time now, we woke up to the ring of your phone. Of all the days your roommate can lock himself out, it had to be today. You gave me one short kiss and then you were out the door. So much for the anticipated awkwardness. 

“Wait!” I just had to stop you. 

“Did I forget anything?”

“Your name.” 

“What?”

“You forgot to tell me your name!”

“Darren.” You said really quick before racing off again.

“Aren’t you even going to ask mine?” I called out in the corridor before you could go too far.

“I already know. Adam told me, Jess!” And with that, you were gone.

Forever Goodbye by The Mostar Diving Club was the song you played last night. I didn’t think that it was going to be forever goodbye for us too, but I never saw you again. We didn’t exchange numbers, and I don’t know your last name to find you on facebook. Not that I would search for you there. I never ran into you in campus. We were never in the same bus together. Our paths just never crossed for the rest of that semester. For the rest of your last semester. What I know is that you know Adam, and that you know my name even before you knew that I was left-handed. You know where I lived unless you were too drunk to remember. But you certainly weren’t too drunk to remember my name. So, I figured, you would have found me if you really wanted to find me. I never told Adam or even asked him about you. I think it was because I was already happy with what we had, and where we left things off. It had a good start and a good finish. And we didn’t need to do more only to mess it up in the end.

I wasn’t just some girl. I was the girl who got away. And you, weren’t just some random dude. You were the guy who also got away. Wherever you are Darren, if you’re reading this, I hope you were able to climb those mountains, the way I was able to write about you now.

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