First Contacts (Or, How to Drunkenly Remember a Number)

“Friends don’t let friends go to Philthy McNastys.” That’s the way my friend describes this bar. In almost the same breath she invites me to it. It’s her co-worker’s birthday party and even though I don’t know her co-worker, whatever, we’ll all drink and have fun.

Another mutual friend shows up, which is great. The only parties I’d been to before were with people I knew from high school. Everyone here tonight is a stranger. The only people I even know of (apart from my friend) are my friend’s boyfriend, the birthday girl, and my friend’s friend who always seems to have coke on hand. They’re all 24 years old. I’m 19 and feel very out of place.

Several drinks later I feel more at home. The music sucks but drunk-me doesn’t mind. I’d dance to a car alarm at this point. This is especially true since tonight I have the mutual friend for a dance partner. She and I never hung out a lot before, but she’s really cool and I always wanted to get to know her better. Tonight seems like the perfect night to do just that.

We’re drinking “girly” drinks because we think it’s funny for me to order appletinis. I’m so full of these things now, though, that I’m not sure what’s happening from one moment to the next. I look around to see if this mutual friend is around and realize she’s disappeared. She’s walking away from the dance floor. I follow after her, unsure if she said we should get more drinks and I just couldn’t hear her over the shitty music I’m enjoying.

When I reach the end of the dance floor I’m met by my friend’s friend. We met once before at a Latin club downtown, but she and my friend spent most of the time doing lines in the bathroom while I was stuck talking to an Irish guy who was recently released from jail. She recognizes me and very excitedly asks me to go dance. Uh, sure. Okay. I turn around and we head to the middle of the dance floor.

It’s not long before we’re dancing less and holding each other more. To my surprise we start making out. It’s to my surprise because I never do this. Public displays of affection were never really my thing, so doing this with someone I’ve never even been remotely affectionate with before is new to me. I guess it’s not a bad thing. In the moment it’s actually pretty fun. She’s a good kisser. Really, she’s the first person in a long time to kiss the way I want to be kissed. I haven’t been kissed like this since … well, since my ex.

She starts to ask if this is wrong and I don’t know how to answer. I just say that she’s very pretty and I’m very drunk. Not long after my friend shows up and sort of pulls her own friend away from me to dance with her. Friends don’t let friends hook up with strange guys half-a-decade younger than them. I slink away and dance on my own, not sure what to do with myself. I think the mutual friend went home. It’s about time I do the same.

On the bus home I don’t know what to think of the night I just had. So, I don’t think about it. I instead start to think about my ex. I haven’t spoken to her since high school. I deleted her number after we broke up. Although, I used to know that number by heart. I wonder if I still know it. Do I…? Hm. I pull out my phone. There’s no way I know it. I type a number and write a text asking, hey, is this still your number? I send it. Huh. I can’t believe I just did that. I mean, whatever, it doesn’t matter, it probably wasn’t her number. In fact, it’s possible I got two of these digits switched around. So, I pull out my phone, switch around those two digits, and text the same message. What am I doing? Stop fucking around, I think to myself, and put my phone away. It’s almost three in the morning by the time I get home.

I wake up to a text back from the first number. It was her number. It’s her. She asks who’s asking.

I tell her it’s me, apologize for the late text, and say that I was just checking to see if the number was still hers. I don’t tell her anything about my night before. She says, oh, okay, and we leave it at that, as if we’re just casual acquaintances simply managing our phone contacts. I make a mental note to never visit that bar again.

Way It Was is a writing project and ongoing attempt to work through a lot of relationship related shit. Find out more about it here.

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