Charlie is a freshman in highschool. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a ...(more)
There is a feeling that I had Friday night after the homecoming game that I don't know if I will ever be able to describe except to say that it is warm. Sam and Patrick drove me to the party that night, and I sat in the middle of Sam's pickup truck. Sam loves her pickup truck because I think it reminds her of her dad. The feeling I had happened when Sam told Patrick to find a station on the radio. And he kept getting commercials. And commercials. And a really bad song about love that had the word "baby" in it. And then more commercials. And finally he found this really amazing song about this boy, and we all got quiet.
Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.
"I feel infinite."
And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard.
Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way. I have since bought the record, and I would tell you what it was, but truthfully, it's not the same unless you're driving to your first real party, and you're sitting in the middle seat of a pickup with two nice people when it starts to rain.
We got to the house where the party was, and Patrick did this secret knock. It would be hard to describe to you this knock without sound. The door opened a crack, and this guy with frizzy hair looked out at us.
"Patrick known as Patty known as Nothing?"
The door opened, and the old friends hugged each other. Then, Sam and Bob hugged each other. Then, Sam spoke.
"This is our friend, Charlie."
And you won't believe it. Bob hugged me! Sam told me as we were hanging up our coats that Bob was "baked like a fucking cake." I really had to quote that one even though it has a swear.
The party was in the basement of this house. The room was quite smoky, and the kids were much older. There were two girls showing each other their tattoos and belly button rings. Seniors, I think.
This guy named Fritz something was eating a lot of Twinkies. Fritz's girlfriend was talking to him about women's rights, and he kept saying, "I know, baby."
Sam and Patrick started smoking cigarettes. Bob went up to the kitchen when he heard the bell ring. When he came back, he brought a can of Milwaukee's Best beer for everyone, as well as two new party guests. There was Maggie, who needed to use the bathroom. And there was Brad, the quarterback of the high school football team. No kidding!
I do not know why this excited me, but I guess when you see somebody in the hallway or on the field or something, it's nice to know that they are a real person.
Everyone was very friendly to me and asked me a lot of questions about myself. I guess because I was the youngest, and they didn't want me to feel out of place, especially after I said no to having a beer. I once had a beer with my brother when I was twelve, and I just didn't like it. It's really that simple for me.
Some of the questions I was asked was what grade I was in and what did I want to be when I grow up.
"I am a freshman, and I don't know just yet."
I looked around, and I saw that Sam and Patrick had left with Brad. That's when Bob started passing around food.
"Would you like a brownie?"
"Yes. Thank you."
I was actually quite hungry because normally Sam and Patrick take me to the Big Boy after the football games, and I guess I was used to it by now. I ate the brownie, and it tasted a little weird, but it was still a brownie, so I still liked it. But this was not an ordinary brownie. Since you are older, I think you know what kind of brownie it was.
After thirty minutes, the room started to slip away from me. I was talking to one of the girls with the belly button ring, and she seemed like she was in a movie. I started blinking a lot and looking around, and the music sounded heavy like water.
Sam came down and when she saw me, she turned to Bob.
"What the hell is your problem?"
"Come on, Sam. He likes it. Ask him."
"How do you feel, Charlie?"
"You see?" Bob actually looked a little nervous, which I was later told was paranoia.
Sam sat down next to me and held my hand, which felt cool.
"Are you seeing anything, Charlie?"
"Does it feel good?"
"Are you thirsty?"
"What would you like to drink?"
And everyone in the room, except Sam, erupted in laughter.
"Are you hungry, Charlie?"
"What would you like to eat?"
I don't think they would have laughed any harder even if what I said was at all funny. Then, Sam took my hand and stood me up on the dizzy floor.
"C'mon. We'll get you a milkshake."
As we were leaving, Sam turned to Bob.
"I still think you're an asshole."
All Bob did was laugh. And Sam finally laughed, too. And I was glad that everyone seemed as happy as they seemed.
Sam and I got up to the kitchen, and she turned on the light. Wow! It was so bright, I couldn't believe it. It was like when you see a movie in the theater during the day, and when you leave the movie, you can't believe that it's still daylight outside. Sam got some ice cream and some milk and a blender. I asked her where the bathroom was, and she pointed around the corner almost like it was her house. I think she and Patrick spent a lot of time here when Bob was still in high school.
When I got out of the bathroom, I heard a noise in the room where we left our coats. I opened the door, and I saw Patrick kissing Brad. It was a stolen type of kissing. They heard me in the door and turned around. Patrick spoke first.
"Is that you, Charlie?"
"Sam's making me a milkshake."
"Who is this kid?" Brad just looked real nervous and not in the Bob way.
"He's a friend of mine. Relax."
Patrick then took me out of the room and closed the door. He put his hands on both of my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye.
"Brad doesn't want people to know."
"Because he's scared."
"Because he is... wait... are you stoned?"
"They said I was downstairs. Sam is making me a milkshake."
Patrick tried to keep from laughing.
"Listen, Charlie. Brad doesn't want people to know. I need you to promise that you won't tell anyone. This will be our little secret. Okay?"
With that, Patrick turned around and went back into the room. I heard some muffled voices, and Brad seemed upset, but I didn't think it was any of my business, so I went back to the kitchen.
I have to say that it was the best milkshake I ever had in my life. It was so delicious, it almost scared me.
Before we left the party, Sam played me a few of her favorite songs. One was called "Blackbird." The other was called "MLK." They were both very beautiful. I mentioned the titles because they were as great when I listened to them sober.
Another interesting thing happened at the party before we left. Patrick came downstairs. I guess Brad had left. And Patrick smiled. And Bob started to make fun of him having a crush on the quarterback. And Patrick smiled more. I don't think I ever saw Patrick smile so much. Then, Patrick pointed at me, and said something to Bob.
"He's something, isn't he?"
Bob nodded his head. Patrick then said something I don't think I'll ever forget.
"He's a wallflower."
And Bob really nodded his head. And the whole room nodded their head. And I started to feel nervous in the Bob way, but Patrick didn't let me get too nervous. He sat down next to me.
"You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand."
I didn't know that other people thought things about me. I didn't know that they looked. I was sitting on the floor of a basement of my first real party between Sam and Patrick, and I remembered that Sam introduced me as her friend to Bob. And I remembered that Patrick had done the same for Brad. And I started to cry. And nobody in that room looked at me weird for doing it. And then I really started to cry.
Bob raised his drink and asked everyone to do the same.
And the whole group said, "To Charlie."
I didn't know why they did that, but it was very special to me that they did.
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