It was a Saturday evening, I had just finished at work, and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I decided to head back to Brooklyn toward my apartment. Work had been especially degrading, and I wanted to burn off some steam. But when I got back, staying in seemed like it would be nice. Yet it had been a while since I really went hard…
The possibility of sex was, and always is, a crucial factor here. If you take that factor out, the drive to go out diminishes greatly — it changes the whole scheme of your life. And they’re all schemes to get laid, one way or another. At that particular moment, I was actually feeling a little bit above the search for instant gratification. Why not savor this moment of clarity? But what if I get laid tonight?
But I’ve just got to plunge into it, I told myself. Forget all this introspective mumbo jumbo! I took some shots of whiskey and drank a Five-Hour Energy.
After I showered and got myself ready, I went on the computer briefly and perused Facebook photos of girls I’d recently been with to help get me going. This was just what I needed to put me in the mood.
I went to my friend Ashley’s house for some pregaming fun. When I got there I realized I was already pretty lit. I was feeling surprisingly effusive and loquacious. Ashley is a tall beauty with features cut from stone and an olive complexion. When I’m with her, she inspires envy in other men, which consequently inspires envy in me, because I’m not sleeping with her. We had a thing, a while ago. I suppose I was there in part with the hope that something would be rekindled, but I could see that that wasn’t in the cards.
After a few drinks I received word from my friend about the party. It was one of those friend-of-a-friend parties, the guests were mostly strangers, the promise of fun dubious. “It’s laid back. Some girls, but they seem to have boyfriends,” he texted me. He knows me. My spirits lowered. But why can’t I just have fun?
“The party seems lame,” I said to Ashley. “And besides, I really didn’t even want to go out.”
She was especially reserved that evening. Perhaps things were strained between us? I wasn’t perceptive enough to make that call. “I’m not really excited about going out, either,” she said. I smoked a cigarette and thought it over. “Well, maybe we should just call it a night, and plan things better next time. There’s always next weekend!” I said with mock-enthusiasm.
I rode my bike home and wondered what I could do with myself. I considered getting some work done, but took an Ambien instead to help me get to sleep. That’s when my evening really got started.
I went on my computer and logged into Facebook. Some old flings appeared on my feed, and I looked over their recent photos. This is a dangerous activity; it arouses all the lust associated with the memories, but in my state, I didn’t recall all the regret and grief. I remember making some phone calls. A look at the call log on my phone reveals that I made quite a few.
An unstoppable urge swelled up in me. I had to get messed up and I had to go out again. I scoured the apartment for drugs. My roommate just broke his collar bone; I thought maybe there were some painkillers lying around. All I could find was more Ambien. Why not? I crushed one up and snorted it. I was tired by then, but I wasn’t going to turn in. I scoured the apartment some more. No-Doz caffeine pills — just what I needed. I took a few, who knows how many.
As I walked toward the bar, I had to squint so my eyes worked together and focused. There was a group of guys standing outside smoking cigarettes. I wanted one for myself. I find asking for cigarettes to be excruciatingly painful — it’s as if everybody knows just how many cigarettes I’ve bummed, and each time the collective offensive of all that mooching only gets worse. I bantered with these guys, and somehow managed to get a smoke out of it. It made me feel woozy and unsteady on my feet. It was time to go inside.
Did I have any drinks? I don’t recall. It seems likely, though. I headed to the dance floor. Normally, I don’t like dancing, but an unstoppable urge swelled up in me. The dance floor was moderately crowded and there were green lasers and a disco ball. The fog machine was going, I remember that. I sidled up to a group of girls dancing. I started talking to one of them. She had brown hair.
Time passed. I’ll never know what I did on that dance floor. But I was doing something right. Snippets of conversation I can remember. “Let’s get some fresh air,” I said to the girl. At some point she introduced herself and told me where she was from, but I quickly forgot. She was 29; I remember that. “Yeah, it’s really stuffy in here,” she said.
Outside we talked. I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk. She said yeah, I just have to tell my friends I’m leaving. She went inside and I stood out there. I tried to remember what she looked like. Would she even come back? And would I still recognize her? I went back inside by myself. I scanned the faces and no one looked familiar. Then she popped up and looked at me like we knew each other, so I guessed that it must have been her. It was still difficult for me to focus my eyes.
We started walking toward my apartment, though I didn’t mention that that was where we were headed. I’m a man of understatement when it comes to these matters; why call attention to what we’re doing? Each subway stop we passed I breathed a sigh of relief, because it meant she was still along for the ride, and we were getting closer to my bed. We spoke about Kundera, and I how I think he’s overrated.
“He makes provocative insights about love and sex, but in such a crude manner — it feels so academic,” I said. It’s strange the things you remember saying. She wasn’t sure if she had read him or not; she may have been confusing him with another author.
We got to my room and sat on my bed. I brought some books over and read a few quotes. I couldn’t say why I bothered with this pretense and didn’t just kiss her right then and there. Perhaps even in that state, I maintained my good manners. Maybe I wanted to talk about literature.
When I looked at her I realized that she wasn’t as good-looking as I thought she was at the bar. It occurred to me that maybe I had thought she was her friend, who was good looking. All the faces were mixed up. Oh well, I thought, and I kissed her.
She was reluctant to get undressed. I fingered her and she told me she couldn’t do anything; she had to be up early. “I want to f-ck you, but I have to be up at 8. What time is it?” I kept fingering her. “Stop tempting me,” she moaned.
“Just stay another 30 minutes,” I said. I took off all of my clothes. She made some tentative grabs at my penis. “Lie on top of me,” she said.
I remember feeling that it was unjust; I was naked and she had most of her clothes on. I obliged, anyway. After a while: “I’m naked — why don’t you get naked?” She finally agreed, but wouldn’t take off her underwear. I fingered her some more. She looked okay naked.
She was worried about how late it was getting. I gave up fingering her and lay down next to her. She started playing with my penis, and even kissed it a few times, but that was it. “I should go,” she said. “OK,” I agreed. What else was there to do? I walked her to the door and gave her directions to the nearest subway stop.
“Goodbye,” she said.
“See you later,” I said. I thought about asking for her number, or for her name for that matter, but I didn’t see the point.
I slept fitfully that night; the Ambien and the No-Doz were fighting it out, and the No-Doz was winning. When I woke up I felt vaguely disgusted with myself. But it could have been worse; at least I only remembered small parts of the evening, so there wasn’t too much to think about. And besides, I had achieved what I never thought I would achieve — I had brought a girl home from a bar. Only I couldn’t remember what I had done right this time.
I saw that the dishwasher was running when I went into the living room, but there weren’t any dishes in it.