College Freshman Hookup Story
Art by Kirsten Hemrich
She raised the tequila to her lips and tilted her head back. It would take some time for the confidence to set in, so she waited.
“I have a paper due tomorrow. I don’t really give a shit. I’m going to wake up early to finish up my conclusion,” said the guy standing next to her at the bar. He had bought her the shots, roping her into a conversation she had no desire to be apart of.
“What class?” the girl asked, her head beginning to ache.
“Russian history. Do you like history?”
“Do you like Russia?”
“Yeah, my mom thinks Putin is hot. Listen, I really have to pee.” She turned away from him and scanned the crowd, looking for any familiar face.
She suddenly felt the panic of solitude, realizing that her friends had all left with members of the opposite sex. They would each brandish their hookup stories in the morning at brunch.
The lights of the dance floor illuminated the drunken couples, all groping each other in a tight cluster. To the girl, it seemed almost like a piece of performance art. She weaved through them towards the exit, averse to this type of public display. Even though she didn’t want to admit it, however, she still ached for someone to touch her in the midst of a Top Ten hit.
The girl could not yet reconcile wanting to be touched and wanting to be loved. To her, these were two disparate entities. She enjoyed sex, yet never wondered what euphoric an experience sex with someone you love could be. She had never said “I love you” (the most dangerous words in the world, she reasoned) to anyone but members of her family and her closest friends. Perhaps this was why she frequented bars five nights a week: she was searching.
She liked to say whatever she felt, and what she often felt was fear.
Now, the cold pressed against her as she stepped outside. Her lost soul mate, if he even existed, was as intangible as the cigarette smoke she blew into the night.
She turned as soon as she felt the touch on her shoulder. It was the Russian history student, back for something more than conversation. “Hey. Where are you headed?”
“Back to my dorm.” The girl tilted her head to the side, studying him. He was tall but boring looking. She wouldn’t remember what he looked like in a few days.
A decision was made quickly, provoked by loneliness. “Want to split an Uber?”
“Okay.” He eyed the cigarette in her hand. “Smoking kills you, just so you know.”
“Everything kills you,” she said as she threw it on the sidewalk and ground it into the pavement.
“Well, cigarettes kill you faster than most things. Or so I’ve heard.”
“I only smoke when I’m drinking anyway. And I’m pretty sure a car crash can kill you much faster than a cigarette. Or a bomb. A bomb would get you pretty quickly.”
She liked to say whatever she felt, and what she often felt was fear. She had spent too many nights thinking about terrorist attacks and white picket fences and the feeling right before you die, when you know it’s all over and surely all you can think is, But I haven’t studied abroad in Europe yet.
She was afraid when they Ubered to his dorm instead of hers and she was afraid of knowing his name, of knowing anything about him except for fact he had to wake up early in the morning to write a paper.
“This is my room,” he said as they stepped into the little box that had clothes tossed across the floor and smelled of weed.
“Is your roommate going to be back anytime soon?” she asked, stepping over a pile of t-shirts.
“I think he’s at the library.”
It took three minutes of the boy talking about his childhood in Iowa for the girl to lean in and bite his lip, tugging it down towards his chin.
He tasted like mediocrity.
The girl made her way back to her dorm early that morning. She had pretended to be asleep as the nameless guy had rustled around his room trying not to wake her.
Walk of shaming right now guys, she texted the group of friends she had made last week at orientation.
Who did you get with???
When she got back to her dorm, the girl went right to the bathroom. After glancing in the mirror, she noticed a hickey on her neck and cringed. She slowly turned on the shower and removed her clothes.
As the hot water ran over her body, she imagined that it was erasing him from her skin.