I got back to my residence in a daze.  I dumped my bag and coat in my room and marched down to Dan’s room.  I found his door open, so I leaned against the doorframe.

            “Ethan!”  He exclaimed.

            “Let’s get drunk.”  I said.

***

 

It was a party.  Dan rounded up as many of our friends as he could, as a last holiday bash before classes started in the new semester.  A crew of us headed down to the school pub, and Dan taught me about alcohol.

            “This is vodka.”  He said, handing me a shooter glass filled with clear liquid.  I sucked it back, trying to ignore the flavour.

            “This is tequila.”  He said after a few vodka shots.  It was amber, and tasted nasty by comparison.  I drank a few of those.

            “This is gin.”  He said, handing me a glass.  It was like drinking liquid pinesap, and I coughed afterwards.  I preferred the tequila.

            I let some of the girls pull me to the dance floor in between drinks.  I cavorted.  I celebrated.  I rollicked.  It was fun to be around people, at least while I was drunk.  I talked to everyone, laughing and smiling.  This was a lot better than sitting around depressed.

            I would retreat to the bathroom.  I had myself convinced that frequent urination would keep my somewhat sober, so I drank water.  I would stare into the mirror, trying to focus.  To help, I’d perform math problems or think about things from science class.  Lately, I’d been fascinated by relativity with Einstein, quantum mechanics and the Big Bang theory.

            Sometime in the proceedings Jon and some of the other guys from the dorm joined us, having heard from Dan about the party.  Jon offered some sage drinking advice.

            “You need to eat sometimes, so your stomach isn’t empty.  Take it slow, especially your first time.  Pace yourself.  And don’t follow liquor with beer, it’s a bad scene.”  He said.

            I don’t think he realized I’d been drinking for an hour already, and Dan had made sure I’d had a lot.  I was profuse with thanks, however.

            “You’re the best, Jonny!  That is great advice.  I mean, really great!  You are a great friend!”

            Considering that I didn’t really like Jon all that much, this was an odd speech.  I tried to clear my blurry mind.  I remember finishing a beer someone bought for me and putting it down on the table.  As the bottom of the glass bottle clunked on the wood tabletop, everything went blank.

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