None of the boys were old enough to drink yet, just like my little brother. Austin and Scott had a house. Austin was generous and usually the first to pass out. Scott had a girlfriend and was usually the first to disappear. They let me pick the songs and John got everybody dancing. They were brothers, but not by blood. This was a brotherhood that is created after a year in the dorms.
I had started coming over at the end of the fall semester – kind of a last hurrah to my college career. They were brothers to me too, but this was the type where I brought the beer. This Friday a lot of people came by. The weather was getting warm again.
John was having a hard year. His father died. His girlfriend dumped him. I tried to be there for him and we had gotten close. Now all his teeth were gone.
When I got the call on Saturday morning, I shook. It was the potholes on State Street. He flew over his handlebars and his face hit the ground first. He was in the hospital. I had left the party just before he did – I wasn’t there for him – I was a wreck.
I went to her apartment. I had to shake the jitters. I needed comfort. I hadn’t seen her in months.
I used to share music with her. There was so much for her to hear now. And when I started to dance that night it was the same as it always had been, only now I was dancing by myself. She sat and smiled at me, her teeth blushed behind her lips.
Image credit: Stolen Pride (2010) by Hannah March Campbell
This story was published in New Fraktur Arts Journal, Issue #2, Winter 2010