Do You Drink?

Julian Cha

“Do you drink?” She asked. I can’t help but see that passion in her eyes. The way she stares, her heart bulging out, reaching out, calling and asking for me. The way her golden hair reflects and shimmers in the light. I want to hold that hair and hold her. Look at her eyes and face, so hopeful and wanting.

“No…” I shrug, scratching the back of my head. “No, I… I don’t drink.” I’m both underage and have a strong belief never to drink. Alcohol is why I don’t have a grandfather on both sides of the family. Alcohol is why I don’t have an uncle. Alcohol is why my parents moved here to America, all to avoid that dark world. The one where truth lies, while tradition and progress collide. I live in this bubble, protected from the elements. I do not intend on wasting this protection for the pleasure of the moment.

Look at me, some freshman who found his way into the party. Stumbled in for some fun, refused to drink. What kind of guest refuses an offer? What kind of person prioritizes their own beliefs and ideas over others? Sometimes when I look at this boy, this seventeen-year-old trying to play big boy, I laugh. I applaud his efforts, but they are nothing but froth on the ocean, present at first, but slowly drowned to nothingness.

“Alright,” She says, and I can see that fire die. She’s not a bad person: didn’t pry, didn’t show anger. However, I see the spark die. When she speaks those words, she curls her lips up into a sneer, the way she subtly rolls her eyes. Humans talk not only through what is said but also how it’s delivered and presented. I feel a sinking in my heart: I’ve let someone down.

I walk away, and now I take a step back. What am I doing here? Why am I here trying to calculate the vectors of beer pong or the force required to win at flip cup? I don’t like it, the whole atmosphere is not what I want. I crave knowledge, I crave greater learning and power. I crave real romance, not menial fillings of partying or pleasure. I want to move forward, and partying feels like running the wrong way. Am I a fool? Should I loosen up? Let slip my guard?

I’m home now, safe and sound, away from temptation or anything that may breach my code of honor. I remain a steadfast and honest knight, never falling prey to the bottle. Still, those were my battle bros, the crazy and crazier. They’re the only ones I have even a shred amount of luck to relate to. Which lasts longer: honor and self-integrity or a few moments of happiness? The answer we both know, future and past I: keeping yourself honorable is a morale booster to your manhood, but what would’ve happened had you said yes?

            “Do you drink?” she asks, same person, same beautiful face, same passion.

            “Never have, but now’s a good time to start,” I reply, a cheshire grin forming.

What would she do? What would anyone do? Would she question me? Would she play it cool? Would she let me grow that fire in her eyes until the heat became too much to bear, and share it with me? I think it’d either be these:

  1. “Wow! Really? How old are you?”
  2. “Awesome! You’re on my team, we’re playing flip cup. D’you know how to play?”

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