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…And Dream My Dreams of You

by Jay B.

Chapter 3

It was Friday evening and I’d just turned 18: party time. I told my parents that some friends were throwing a little “get-together” for me. After extracting my solemn word that I would not drink and drive, they let me go. They hardly even put up a struggle; I guess this was what being an adult felt like. I fussed over what I’d wear, over my hair, till everything was as good as it as going to get, but these were just a million silly gestures that ultimately had no point: whom was I trying to impress?

Alan’s parents had a pretty big house, good layout for a party. They both traveled a lot and left his 22-year-old brother in charge of things, one of the few people on the planet who was less responsible than Alan was. In addition to a keg, there were a few dozen bottles of liquor, most probably left over from previous parties because it was all cheap stuff. I looked in Alan’s parents’ kitchen cabinet and sure enough, there was some much better stuff in there. If I was going to get shit-faced, I damn sure wasn’t doing it on ten-dollar vodka. I found a bottle of Glenlivet that looked pretty good and started swilling on that. It had always been a secret source of pride for me how much liquor I could hold without losing it. I figured I would eventually get trashed, but that would take three or four hours at least. Till then, I just put on a happy face—everyone would be so drunk in a little while, they wouldn’t notice what I looked like—and hung out and joked and tried to have a good time.

About thirty minutes from when I got there, people really started showing up. Soon people were dancing in the living room and smoking-up out on the deck. I danced with Liz for a little while, then hung out in the kitchen with Philip and some guys from the soccer team who were drinking beer. There was talk of a keg-stand but it was way too early. Across the room I noticed that girl who Liz said had a crush on me. She smiled and I raised my bottle, like I was toasting her, then smiled back for some stupid reason. She walked over to me.

“Paul, right?”

“Yeah, and you’re Kelly. One of Liz’s friends?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She nodded at my bottle. “You’ve got good taste.”

“Want some?” I asked and she held up her empty beer cup.

“Nah, just drink out of the bottle,” I assured her. She shrugged and did just that.

She swallowed and without a flinch and asked, “what’re you reading for Cohen’s class?”

I liked this girl.

Pale Fire. Nabokov.”

“Oh, I read some of his short stories. I like him. I’m reading Thomas Mann, Death in Venice,” she replied. Yes, this girl was pretty cool. We talked for a while, and though I tried not to seem interested in her romantically, I really enjoyed talking with her despite myself. Liz walked by, heading back to the living room and winked at me. A few minutes later, she came back, looking kind of worried. Philip was with her.

“Whoa, Paul,” Liz said. “Guess who’s here?”

“The cops?” I asked.

“No, better” Philip said. “Jake.”

Up till that moment, I wondered if I was getting a little buzzed, but in a second I felt cold sober. Nervousness shot through me like a knife.

“Um, what the fuck is he doing here?” I asked.

Philip shrugged. “I don’t know dude. You want me to ask him?”

“No, I’d rather you didn’t.”

“Whatever you say. Just don’t act stupid, Okay?”

“I’m not drunk, dude. I just got here. And I’m not going to do anything because I have nothing to say to him,” I insisted.

Philip and Liz soon drifted away. I guess they thought I was working rap on Kelly and didn’t want to ruin it.

“You know Jake Benningfield?” I asked. Of course she did. She nodded, but there was no prying, no half-hearted attempt on her part to make me feel better.

“I’m sorry,” was all she said. “I know how hard it can be losing a friend.” We talked a bit about what kind of books we were into, and then I saw her glance over my shoulder suddenly. I didn’t really even have to turn around to know what had happened, but I did anyway. Jake had come into the room. His eyes widened a little when he saw I was talking to Kelly, but then he looked away. He go himself a cup and went over to the keg. Kelly watched me, watching him, but didn’t say a word. I didn’t either, but I’m sure Jake could interpret my look if he wanted to: what the fuck are you doing here? it said. He filled his cup slowly and glanced at me again for a second. He looked sad. Having filled the cup, he turned and walked out of the room.

As time went on and on and I got more and more wasted, things started to devolve until all I could remember was a series of blurry, disordered images: walking to the bathroom where I stared into a glass—of what? A rum and coke, maybe, balanced on the edge of the toilet where I stood straight-backed, staring up at the ceiling, peeing for what seemed like an hour. Then there was the skimpy dress of this girl I danced with—Ashley something or other—then my hand on her shoulder, my fingers slipping down to play with one strap absentmindedly, where it lay next to her shoulder blade while I wondered what the hell I did with my drink. Then the white leather of a chair, the frosted glass of a side table glowing pale green and my bottle of scotch, which had reappeared and was sitting on the table. A single flip-flop sat forlornly on the floor beside me. And soon some kid who I could have sworn didn't even go to our school sat down next to me and kept telling me about people I was fairly sure I hadn't met and events I didn't think I had ever witnessed. Some hip-hop song I didn't know was on and the base was up so high I was surprised the cops hadn't shown up. The Glenlivet was no longer recognizable as such, just some substance that burned sweetly at the back of my throat. Finally, Philip slid up to me and asked if I wanted a smoke. Suddenly I wanted a cigarette badly and I nodded. It was very loud now, and warm too as people constantly brushed against us in the semi-darkness. I followed him out onto the deck. The stoners had cleared out, probably because it was starting to get pretty cold outside. I leaned back against the rail while he lit my cigarette and then his own.

I’d always though Philip was cute. He played football with Jake and ran track. Not as cute as Jake, but then who could be? While we talked, in fact, I started to get the idea he was coming on to me. In all fairness, he was maybe a little drunk too, but I didn’t know what to make of it when he asked me if I’d been working out more, adding that I looked great. He reached over and slid his hand around my bicep. He held it there a few seconds longer than normal (was any amount of time “normal”?) and I looked up into his eyes. He smiled, let my arm go and looked away. I nervously told him he looked good too. His touch felt nice, and I stood there unable to decide what to do.

“Uh, Paul…” he said hesitantly.

“Yeah, Phil?”

“You ah…you mind if I kiss you?” he asked.

I though about this for a few seconds. I was too drunk to be shocked by much of anything at this point.

“No, I wouldn’t mind at all.”

He leaned in slowly and touched his lips softly to mine. My first guy kiss, and it was nice. At first I couldn’t help but wish it had been Jake giving me that experience, but soon all that was swept aside as Paul’s tongue slipped into my mouth. His hand slid around my lower back and began to rub me softly.

“You wanna, maybe, hang with me for awhile? Go to my house? It’s still pretty early,” he asked.

“Yeah, I guess so. Let me find Liz and tell her I’m going. You okay to drive?”

He nodded. “I’m just around the corner anyway.”

“Good, I’ll meet you at your car.”

The music was deafening inside and people were packed so tight I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find Liz. I had just about given up when I felt a hand on my arm. I turned around expecting her, but it was Jake.

“Uh, Paul, I need to talk to you,” he said. I forced my face to be immobile but my mind was running in excited, drunken circles, wondering what do I do? What do I do?.

“…that is, if you want to,” He added. I shrugged.

“All right, if that’s what you need,” I said, nodding towards the backyard.

I followed Jake out onto the deck. I leaned back against the rail and stared at him. He looked miserable, tired—basically the same way I felt—and I was slightly, shamefully grateful.

“You look like you were about to leave,” he said.


“You shouldn’t drive home like this. I saw how much you had to drink. I can…I mean I could…”

“Philip’s driving me, actually,” I interrupted.

He looked surprised. “Oh, Okay.” He seemed lost as to what to do next. “I didn’t think you’d be here tonight, actually,” he finally said.

“I thought the same about you. But here I am, and here you are. So I guess we don’t know that much about each other after all, huh?”

“Guess not,” he said. “But, uh, but what I meant was that I called you home phone first. I wanted to say happy birthday.”

“OK. Well, now you’ve said it. Thank you.” I started to go. He put his hand on my shoulder to stop me and then winced. Was it so hard for him to even touch me? I almost pushed past him, but I stopped and he put his hand back down.

“Paul, look, I just wanted to say that I’m …”

“…sorry?” I interrupted. He nodded. At that moment, I almost said the words. A part of me wanted to say them, very badly. I forgive you. I wanted him back; I wanted everything like it was before, anything to make the pain go away. I forgive… But I thought about what my dad had said about respecting myself and how angry I still felt. And I thought about how Jake could still barely even stand to touch me, even now. All my anger returned, and I felt like hitting him again, or kissing him; I didn’t even know which by that point. Everything just kind of blurred into one big mess that left me feeling slightly ill inside, but otherwise didn’t mean anything, didn’t feel like anything. And when I looked into his hopeful eyes I knew: I just wanted to hurt, to tear apart, to ruin everything, even if it ruined me too.

“So you feel bad?” I asked. “Well, that’s nice. Now here’s what I have to say: fuck you. You can take your apology and go fuck yourself with it. I don’t want it.”


“You feel that, Jake? Feel what that was like? Now multiply it by ten and you’ll know how I felt. And remember that the next time you decide to hurt someone who cared about you.”

He seemed on the verge of saying something more, but just nodded sadly. My heart was about to break, but I was still so angry…

“Yeah, I deserved that,” he finally said and fucking tear actually rolled down his cheek. “I guess,” he smiled weakly, “I guess I’m just lucky you didn’t hit me again, too.” Then the smile vanished, and he looked more haggard, more awful than I’d ever seen him. And still he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever laid eyes on. “Goodbye, Paul,” he said, “I’m sorry and I won’t bother you anymore.”

I hated myself right then for what I’d done. And I hated him for making me want him so badly even now, even at that moment when I was most angry at him. And, in what might have been my moment of greatest stupidity up to that point in my life, I said the cruelest thing I could think of: “You didn’t bother me. You couldn’t bother me, even if you wanted to; you just don’t matter that much anymore.” I said this as passionlessly as a person can when they feel like they’re dying inside. It seemed pretty stupid and over-dramatic in retrospect, but it did the job for him. If I had to guess at the expression on his face, I would say it looked like his heart was broken. There was a soft clink as I tossed the Glenlivet bottle into the backyard grass, then I left him out there and went back inside.

I was sick by the time I said good-bye to Liz to and got to Philip’s car. He watched me sympathetically and rubbed my back while I puked in the bushes. I must have been pretty quiet on the way home, but Philip didn’t push anything. His hand wandered over and began to softly knead my shoulder and it felt so good, so right to finally have someone touch me, care about me. I could almost forget what I’d done to Jake. I smiled at him and he laughed.

“God you’re so hot,” he said, “but you’re wasted.” I nodded, feeling pretty out of it at that point. When we got home, I could barely stand, I was so tired. I think I drunkenly tried to start something, but Philip wouldn’t let me. He sat me down on the edge of his bed, removed my pants and shirt and gently pushed me down.

“You going to throw-up again?” he asked.

“No, I’m done. Just need to sleep. I’m sorry man, tomorrow…tomorrow, we’ll do stuff…”

“Don’t worry. I’ll hold you to your word, babe. Now,” he said,” joining me under the covers, “let’s get some sleep.”

Copyright 2006. Email Jay B.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.

Thanks for reading. Chapter 4 coming soon…