Beached. I am a human whale run aground on the family couch. Funyun shards cling to my fingers. A grilled cheese remnant rests in my bathrobe pocket. Another Sunny rerun begins and I nest deeper into my afghan cocoon. My face is completely glazed over; I am perfectly unburdened, apathetically serene.
In two decrepit days I’ve accomplished little, except debunk a bedsore scare that turned out to be a runaway chocolate chip. An internal monologue starts incessantly chirping. Is life passing me by? Isn’t my time better spent creating memories with people instead of just eating and napping in the dark, becoming two days closer to death while having nothing to show for it except more beard, more filth, and more beard filth?
Strategically twisting, like a flipped-over turtle, I squirm in my couch crevasse, trying to reach my phone on the coffee table. I quickly scroll; there’s junk email, snaps of events that don’t really seem fun, and a text from a high-school friend stating I should come over and drink in his parentally oblivious basement like we used to do.
I de-beach myself. Crumbs rain off of me like volcanic ash. I regain the use of my legs, rummage for some pants, and dub myself ready. Always one for nostalgia, I drive into the un-gentrified part of the city and purchase the cheapest vodka from a familiar shopkeeper who, long ago, cornered the underage alcohol market.
Once I arrive it’s like we’re eighteen again, but like fatter, balder eighteen-year-olds. One now-robust friend waddles her way up and I’m thinking I must be looking through a fun house mirror before I realize that she’s just totally preggers (1).
The conversation with her is full of oversights, questionable judgment, and secondary plans, though not Plan B. I pepper in obligatory congrats and coos, holding my tongue as to not refer to her unborn baby as a “total bummer, bro.” Predictably, she runs off to pee while my buddy’s younger brother (2), who’s now oddly old, stats hounding me for vodka.
They grow up so fast, and freakishly disproportionately. He seemed so young before and now he’s just another sixteen-year-old boozehound who’s easily impressed by any anecdote involving alcohol or sloppy broads. In the midst of retelling a Fruit-Roll-Up-centric erotic adventure from my high-school days, I glance over to notice the broad in question, an ex-girlfriend (3). A few lazy what-ifs circle through my head before deciding that’s not a rerun I want to see this week.
A nondescript guy sloshes over. He’s insistent on doing shots and so I abide by the non-violent stranger’s wishes. Rambling and reminiscing, he brings up a ton of stories involving me that I can’t at all remember. This is a guy I’ve completely forgotten (4). I banter with a lot of non-specifics dripping in enthusiasm and employ a generous amount of bro hugs and palm slappings. My lapse goes undetected; I am fucking bulletproof.
A familiar face tailed by an entourage of high-school seniors bounds down the stairs. It’s that dude who graduated before I did and has since become the ultimate townie (5). He’s Dazed and Confused McConaughey-esque and completely happy as the big, kinda creepy, fish in the small pond. When I was seventeen his advice on women or driving a little drunk was revered, but tonight I’m doubting he has any relevant stock tips or interview pointers.
This has all been far too real. I lie to my host, a high-school-now-college drinking companion (6), that I’m sick. We share an inside joke and assert we’ll get back up to school and obliterated as soon as possible. From there I’m off to re-nestle myself into the sofa, crack open some more Funyuns, and get back to binging on sleep and Sunny until it’s time to move back up to campus.