My keys jiggled, mixing in a metallic noise to the quick, muted door knock. My other hand carried a chunk of sweet Muenster cheese along with a bottle of wine that were about to fall if the neighbors didn’t rush to open their door.
A raucus from inside. “Yeaaa, they’re here!” But when the door opened, it was only me.
“Sorry I’m late!” I smiled and apologized thoroughly as I hugged and kissed everyone’s cheeks. I felt like I was on the set for an ’80s TV show. I loved it.
They asked where my roommate was; I didn’t know. I had come straight from the city, without stopping downstairs at my apartment. But Lan is a wine and cheese connoisseur, so I wasn’t worried. As they over-say, good things come to those who wait.
So after the initial round of wine sampling and the reaffirmation that a good Rioja beats the $10 wine from down the block, Lan arrived. With him came cheers and good tidings, and a few of the best cheeses I’ve ever tasted — a French Cheuvre and a Double Gloucester from England.
I admit that I don’t know my cheeses well, but a refined cheese needs neither naming nor discussion. The Cheuvre was milder and creamy, but the English Gloucester had a bright, bold flavor that made fireworks on the palate. Definitely worth the wait — for Lan’s company, too.
The wine and cheese sampling continued with Lan in the bunch offering stories from his time in the Navy. (Apparently a strong chemical smell on the sub boat made men’s sense of smell infinitely stronger, and after they got out on land again, they could smell women’s perfumes from a mile away.) Then the conversation moved to old road trips around the States, and Yu bust out a flip-through album — you know, one of those things that predate the digital age of downloading pictures and never holding them on hand.
At 18, Yu looked really young and gorgeous, the kind of beauty that excludes itself from the others in the bunch. Dan on the other hand was fat. We were throughly entertained to see the boy with the puffy cheeks in oversized khakis and flip flops, shot after shot. “I’ve lost 80 pounds since then, if you must know,” he admitted in wounded pride. We saw right through it — not the figure, but the pride — and laughed and continued the jokes.
In the meantime, Jose was feeling lonely on the shelf, so he came down to join us. Tiny shots were distributed, and we toasted to more fun together and more themed parties.
Dancing ensued and scraps of incomplete conversations. At one point, I realized I was drunk. So I put my glass down, popped a piece of dark chocolate into my mouth, cut a thick slice of bread and covered it with the Cheuvre. In five minutes’ time, I was cured and able to balance myself on the ground again.
I felt so proud of myself, and to celebrate, I held my glass high, and drank some more wine.
The DJ (mainly, me and whoever jumped in to save themselves from my extraordinary ’80s selections) played some rocking tunes, and pretty soon, we were all dancing, the lights from the Christmas tree as our disco ball.
By 3:30 a.m., Yu was passing out on the couch, the boys were switching between Britney and Rihanna songs (both flops if you ask me), and others were dancing salsa.
A sickly wave of caramel washed over me, and I knew it was time to go. So we said good-bye, thanked our gracious hosts, hugged and made plans for the next year.
“Just a teeny walk,” I told my roomie and ran outside as we left. I needed a cigarette. The dam ATM machine didn’t work, and I wanted to kick it.
(Today, I woke up and remembered that I hadn’t been scanning my ATM card at all, but my credit card. Good thing, since that tiny mistake in details saved me a $13 investment into the horrible habit I quit long ago.)
Instead, I walked back home, listened to some songs and blemished this blog with a blip of my past. I debated deleting it today, but then I thought that a blog wouldn’t be a real blog if you kept going back and erasing the stuff you had changed your mind on later. I had a wonderful time last night, but it’s strange how sometimes, after the most fun, most innocent of times, the old feeling creeps in, and you compare your good friends to the old friends and you wonder how you ever got out of the claws of the beast and ended up here, with a fine life and people who love you.
I’m sure it has to do with the alcohol.