The contents of my cup swirled and twisted, as I held a half empty bottle on the hot porch steps. I was alone, feeling the heat from the sun, the grill and boiling arguments. Every nerve in my body stressed itself and I felt my nerves about to burst. I pause all voluntary movement with the intention of revival.
“Hi,” he said.
A man sits next to me. His jeans were ripped at his knees, soiled and all rough looking. I parted my lips to reply but nothing was expelled. I felt sticky and absent mindedly fiddled with the corners of my mouth. “One of these days,” I thought, “I‘ll to actually become comfortable with socializing. I swear to God.
In the distance, I heard the flip of a Zippo and my visitor rose to join it. I watched him stumble to his feet. The way he walked was subtly elegant to me. Elegant like a silk scarf is when paired with a rough leather jacket, nothing like a ballet dancer but smoother, slicker – somehow more mysterious. He staggered back down the staircase. Every step wandered.
Suddenly I caught myself smiling because he was uneven, and “Maybe one day,” I thought, “I can be as unevenly elegant as this man.” I took a sip of my beer, violent and swirling, and then I stood up. I wiped my hands across my lap and stuck one of them in front of me. It’s my left but I didn’t care.
“Hi,” I said.
We shook. His hands were like leather and I wondered what he did for a living.
“I’m Jill,” I said.
“Adam.” He spit and pushed past me into the house.
I fell back down into my spot and chugged the rest of the bottle in my hands.
“Whatever,” I thought, “He’s probably a fucking loser anyways. He didn’t even smile at me.”
The screen door snapped shut behind me and I jumped.
I nodded and he seemed to understand.
“I noticed you were getting low.”
He lurched forward across my lap and exchanged the empty beverage in my hands with the fresh one in his. The cotton of his shirt was coarse against my skin.
“You don’t get out much or something?”
Upon his observation of the painfully obvious, I have the undeniable urge to slap him. But instead, I reply politely, like a lady should.
“I’m just usually working or in class or something. So I guess not.”
I smiled slightly.
“Fuck him,” I thought.
I didn’t want to say another word. I considered leaving, but something beyond myself was keeping me glued to that seat. I guess it was just the heat.
I watched the action of the barbeque as I sat, and he took a drag from his cigarette. Big Ryan was still guarding the grill like it was some Super bowl trophy. I have yet to understand the connection between meat, charcoal, tongs, fire, A1 Sauce, and the male brain. Sometimes I thought about how they rather be over the hot grill with strangers than being with their girlfriends. I had a boyfriend like that once. I felt so inadequate. Involuntarily, I wondered if Adam is like that too. I wondered if Adam was like Big Ryan.
I noticed Adam staring at my profile and I turned to face him.
“What?” I stammered over vowels.
“Nothing,” he responded. He took a drag from his cigarette.
“Why are you still here?”
“You tell me.”
As he scanned my face I was afraid he could see all the gears in my head – twisting and turning and stopping and going. Alcohol was grease tonight.