That Feeling When
Meet up at the community college parking lot, blaze, and drive off. Try to keep up with your buddy’s glowing blue car as it scribbles through the hills along the lake. It’s not a lake, it’s a reservoir, someone in back says, that fucking guy who always finds a way to tag along. He’s talking like it’s one of those nights you’ll talk about as back then when you’re old enough to have a back then. Drown him out by blasting the saddest song that can be screamed by teenagers from a town that’s a replica of your own a thousand miles away. The kind of music that fits your mood when nothing else does, which is always. Park right up against the dunes. Grip the ice plants so you don’t slip during the steep part. Some people are here already, but not her. There’s that one guy with the almost dreadlocks, but hey at least there’s weed. Pink bangs sticking out from a boyfriend’s hoodie. Two girls you don’t know but want to are sitting on a quilt whispering, ew not that one—and you know you’re that one. Pass to the left. Watch the fire and make sad little mountains in the sand. Tell yourself how sad they are because then they’re the sad ones. Why is your DD being so obvious about his soda? Don’t play your own stuff when the acoustic guitar comes around, not until she’s here. She rode with him but in a group. She who posts poetry online and you’re pretty sure it’s about sex. He invites her to check out the waves and she says yes. He who is unconscionably good at lacrosse and everything else but is chill too, even your buddy says so. They’re gone too long because one second is too long, and a version of this line is in every song you know by heart. When they return her hair will be different and you’ll see that as him and not the stupid wind. Everything is so fucked up, right? That fucking guy is talking again and you fantasize about punching him, and suddenly you’re a hero and she’s giving you a handjob. Your DD can tell how stoned you are and tries to spook you by moving his mouth like he’s talking even though he’s not. Keep cool. He’s not judging, he just wishes he could be there with you. The drinks are all girl drinks but you kinda like them better. Her nose ring catches all sorts of light and now she’s sitting next to you like it’s nothing. Say a variant of hey, and she won’t respond at first, sending you into a deep panic. Tell her you like her industrial. Tell her you’re thinking of getting a tattoo too. Of what, she’ll ask, but you haven’t decided yet, and still haven’t. Your buddy says he heard she gave head to a guy from the public school. Tell her you think her middle name is cool. Don’t tell her how you know her middle name. Actually, don’t tell her anything, and eventually she’ll say something, ask you about your music or whatever, and the curl of her voice will make you lovesick through the internet for months. Download low bitrate rips of songs she quotes in her away messages. Learn it’s possible, preferable, to masturbate to the way hair obscures a face. Write a song with metaphors as terrible and convoluted as this whole thing. A line from her next poem: this cul-de-sac / is a noose / but at least you’re here too. You wish you were you. By the next beach party you’ll be back in the same positions, and this time you’ll be no less ready, so why not just tell her you like her writing, her voice, her. Years later, at reunion, that fucking guy will lower his voice to tell you her fiancée fell asleep at the wheel and suddenly you’re back there. Back then. You’d almost forgotten the cling of wet smoke, mermaid purses, promises fogging a parked station wagon. How you made honest shapes together, sand trapped in shoes still on. Those fat-tongued shoes you wore because you thought you could skate. Don’t kick them off. You will never be able to shake their loose crunch. Her middle name was Iris, same as that shitty, sentimental song you find yourself listening to now, raw to something you thought you’d packed away.