Image by Feuillu via FlickrOXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- A quarter of a handle later, she says she's ready to talk about This Guy She Sorta Hooked Up With.
The sun's just beginning to sink down into the Indiana countryside to the west. After work, I'd put down four pints on an empty stomach, followed by a spinach salad. I don't need any hard liquor in my system, especially not 80-proof, kerosene-flavored booze from a plastic jug.
The vodka she's been drinking since Sunday night, in and of itself, would've turned most people's stomachs based on smell alone.
"So...okay... you 'sorta' hooked up with an asshole, chica... look, these things happen...don't beat yourself up like this..."
Silence. Homegirl stares up at the shitty, ancient tile work, head as if she's trying to stare down time itself as it crumbles the ceramic ashy grout to oblivion.
For the record, yes, Homegirl and I are sitting in her bathroom, in off-campus student flophouse, a rather run-down, tiny place. I'm sitting on the toilet, she's in the tub in her workout clothes.
(Welcome to the Local U. A girl'll blow off a week's worth of classes and showers on a bender but, hell, to not hit the Rec Center or skip the tanning bed? Please...)
It's not even eight at night, but she's three or four swigs away from beating the sunset to the blackout finish line.
All because, well, the only guy she's met since she's been at college who seemed to be one she could fall in love with, who seemed to tell her all the right things, who even seemed to understand her sometime insecurities and fears and social awkwardness...
... seemed to be, after the hook-up, just another douchebag who could seem just decent enough to play her like a game of Solitaire, just to get into her panties.
The silence continues.
We're waiting for her roommates to get home. Actually, they're the ones who called me to babysit while they went to class, to jobs. I'm not the best babysitter.
I'm looking for my out. I'm 31, it's a work night, and I'm not really in the mood to spend my whole evening with a drunk woman barely old enough to drink.
And I'm not sure if I'm just talking to fill the silence, rambling to stall until she realizes that I'm probably not the best person to talk to about why guys say what they say when they're trying to get in a girl's pants...
"You know, you're really suave for a library guy," she says. "You'reanokay...not bad looking... guy. You're, like, old, but you don't use women, an'...Hey I wanna go to the library!"
"I want to go. Annnnn-da I wanna get some really sex...poet...poetry... Baudelaire... Or Bald-LAY...? I...uh..."
Momentary silence again as she does the drunken internal debate thing, the mental catch-up all drunk people do.
Then the grin. Impish.
"WE SHOULD READ SEXY POETRY AND BECOME HIPPIES AND I'LL BE YOUR HOTYOUNG...Hot...Hot.. kid hippie girl..."
Fading, fading, fading fast. We need to get out and about. She needs to walk it off, move, do something other than mope and drink.
"Um, no. Hey, want me to make you some coffee?..."
* * * *
At this point, I decide to murder, in three breathlessly large gulps, the remainder of the 1.75 liter bottle of vodka, to keep her from drinking anymore while we wait.
In twenty minutes, it'll hit me. Ten minutes later, one of her roommates, one who's never met me, will open the bathroom door to find her youngest roommate & "You work at _____ Library, right?" Guy talking about oral sex, S&M, and College Republicans.
Approximately One-Point-Seven-Five hours after killing the 1.75 liter bottle of vodka, we're going for a long stroll around town, down to the basketball arena, down to the ROTC obstacle course.
I'll do 20 chin-ups on the bar, she'll do four half-ones, fake girly ones.
The feat will take about 15 minutes longer than sober.
A cop will roll by as we're walking back towards her place later on, he'll slow down, I'll wave. Being more drunk than I am, she'll swear at the passing cruiser as I remind her that, yeah, I work with those guys in those cruisers.
We end up back at my place. By mistake. Sorta. Her idea.
It will seem like hours have passed since I murdered that handle of cheap, charcoal-filtered booze.
* * * *
I'll make a pitcher of iced green tea. She'll suck down half a bag of baby carrots, stretch out on the floor, flip on my "old school," robust, tube-driven, round-screen television.
We'll watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer until about 10:30ish. By that time, she'll have sobered up enough to realize her new Blackberry's been going off with texts and calls and IMs for a few hours.
Roommates. Worried roommates. She'll run to my bathroom, I'll hear muffled voices and keystrokes through the partially closed door.
Right after wandering off, the other roommate I'd never met will have assumed I'm the fucking douchebag she hooked up with the previous weekend - short, cropped hair, hazel eyes, nice eyelashes and shoulders. Kinda chachball-looking, fratty, and "older" (i.e., 23 or 24 years-old, not 31). I
'll laugh as the description is being read to me from her phone.
"Oh God. They think you're T_____. Oh. Wait. Just _____ thinks you're T____. Oh God....They...Oh...My...Gosh...They think we're...oh..."
"Okay. I've gotta go. Awkward..."
I'll walk her to the door. We'll hug. She'll say thanks for talking, for listening, for hanging out.
I'll find out, wow, apparently, I'm good for something other than just being the Ex-Other Man in this town, that, hell, I'm not as big a douchebag as I think sometimes.
Within seconds of her leaving, I'll puke, barely having held the vodka-marinated spinach salad for as many hours as I will have done...
And I'll get electronic apologies for the next 24 hours. Apparently, well, for some reason, I'll be told that I'm even more intimidating in person for the thousandth time by a local undergrad.
Not one word about Baudelaire and his sexy poetry.
But, within that 24 hours, I'll make a note to include Baudelaire.
And the Hot Kid Fake Hippie sidekick offer.
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