By Anu Shivakumar
It’s Friday night on Landfair Avenue; you want to join in the fun.
High-pitched yells intensify as you walk towards the gates of a crowded building. You begin climbing the stairs and wince as some- one pukes off the balcony onto a fallen Bird scooter below. You’ve reached the door and the enticing aroma of hot, sweaty college stu- dents and $7 tequila hits you in the face. You step inside.
There’s a girl handing you a mask, but there are at least 30 people packed into the few feet surrounding you; you’re confused if masks would help at this point. You don’t have time to show her your vac- cine card before a massive dude moshing in the dance circle moves sideways and knocks you to the floor. You wonder if the residents of this apartment paid off the people who live below them— whether in handles of alcohol or invites to the party.
You consider that a drink might make your fall less painful. You make your way over to the dining table and grab a used cup—it’s the only empty one you can find. You notice that a noble effort to write names on cups and reuse them was once made, but evidently failed. Those Sharpies will never be seen again. You reach for the bottles but they’re all empty; a girl nudges you. “They’re all out but I got absinthe in this flask,” she says, smirking. You hurriedly walk away.
You’ve made your way outside; a circle of hunched people in hoodies stand under a cloud of smoke. The fresh air feels good against your face, and hearing the muffled music behind you is more pleasant than feeling like you’re inside the speaker itself. Although, you suppose, it’s better than those parties where you’re just dancing to each others’ voices because the music is too quiet. Someone from the smoke circle looks at you coldly. It’s that girl who lived on your floor freshman year! “Tobacco or weed?” you ask. She doesn’t answer, but passes you the joint.
You’re not sure how you ended up back inside, but a tall dark-haired boy is yelling at two people, saying they’re in his apartment and he doesn’t know who they are. Knowing you have no idea who he is and afraid he’ll ask you about it too, you back into a corner.
The line for the bathroom wraps around the entire 10-square-foot apartment. A guy in the line is being held up by two friends, who
are shouting encouraging words in his ear, such as “Hold it!” And “Don’t yak or I’ll kill you!” The girl at the front begins banging on the bathroom door. Apparently, whoever’s in there has been for a while.
Suddenly, the door to the bathroom opens, and a girl with only
one shoe on stumbles out. The powerful smell of vomit and other miscellaneous bodily fluids escapes and reaches the dark-haired boy. He turns around and sees the state of his bathroom; he is not happy.
Someone taps you from behind. “You Venmoed us for alcohol right?” You sit down on the couch, hoping to lose him. There’s a suspicious stain to your right and to your left is a guy swiping on Tinder while a girl tries to talk to him.
You see that person you sat next to in class that one time. They give you a big hug while screaming your name, and you realize you forgot they existed until that moment. But you join in the hype anyway.
Suddenly, everyone goes quiet. The music was already dead but
the two guys by the speaker fighting about how to fix the Bluetooth connection shut up too. You notice a burly man in the doorway. Oh no. The landlord.
As people are ushered out, you ask the dark-haired resident if you can help clean up. “We’ll have the pledges take care of it tomorrow,” he says, slamming the door in your face.