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On the Cusp of 19

Perhaps this is my one true wildest night from college? File this under "what's something that feels illegal but isn't quite?" (All names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)

A series of events recounted through Microsoft Word

Working in Citrus Springs could be considered wild enough for a Friday night, but the 24 hours following were just a bonus.


At this point, we've made our way back to the Orlando area. A sports pub is our destination, but the GPS puts us a few blocks off.


"Great. Well, I need to change my shirt before we actually get there," Jay says.


"You can get in the backseat if you want?" I suggest. That response would yield two years of context-lacking jokes for every other friend we encountered.


Once turned around, we meet Benny and Noam inside the packed bar where the looming cigarette smoke is almost louder than the karaoke speakers. Not my scene, but I could use more friends. Three-quarters through a year here, and I can count my confidants on one hand. Quality over quantity is forever the key.


We pick apart a pizza and pace our water because service is slow and Devaney's apparently doesn't know about Mountain Dew. Noam entertains us when karaoke isn't. Benny recounts our night out west where cell reception was as reliable as the 45th president.


"The Sign" blasts as the two of-age down their latest beer. Coincidentally, I come to terms that this is far from a normal night. Two former frat bros stuck in their youth with two queers who are still fawning over a Spanish serenade from earlier.


Noam is insistent on leaving, but we've yet to see a check. "Haven't you heard of dining and dashing? They'll be fine."


We throw down some cash in comparison to the menu prices and hope for the best. I hurry out the door behind them despite being the default driver.


While traveling a few blocks down to Noam's apartment, he spills a cup of ice water in the floorboard behind me and apologizes incessantly.


"How about some coke when we get upstairs?"


Without hesitation, I respond with, "Nah, I'm good. I'm not really thirsty."


Noam produces a plastic pouch with what I would've assumed was a random bag of sugar a few sentences ago.


Jay and I mumble while making strides upstairs, questioning how we arrived at this point in the night. It gets better, though. The living room is furniture-less, so we sprawl out on the floor as the film students snort their lines on the kitchen counter for us spectators. Cinema at its finest.


We make way to Noam's two-bedded room: a full-sized against one wall and a twin air mattress opposite. Now crossfaded, Benny and Noam giggle on the bed while Jay and I feel out the air mattress, careful not to get separated.


The sexual tension is palpable from certain corners of the room, though I shouldn't be surprised. Jay is as out as it gets. I’m still standing in the doorway of Florida's closet, leaving a few questions to be asked by Noam in particular. He and Benny verbally confirm our assumptions, though the toxins in their bodies leave us shooting glances and silently questioning the potential turn this could take. Once again, we're the peanut gallery.


The hour before we leave is a blur, but rest assured, there's nothing of note. I return to Mausser Drive shortly before four where reality awakens me from my otherwise fictional life. Lights are left on, burnt rice and weed fill the air vents, and the moans of a six-month pregnant woman plus her baby daddy top it off.


While deciding what time to set an alarm, I remember that I'm supposed to be in class in five hours. Three hours of sleep doesn't cut it, so I email in sick that morning.


Saturday afternoon marks my return to school to meet with the crew heading to Fort Pierce. Jay and Benny make it back alive as I ponder the one true night that killed what was left of my childhood.


A few years later while searching for the meaning of life, I dissect the significance of such a time where innocence and survival of the fittest intersect.


Life is demanding without understanding

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

- Ace of Base

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