Author’s note: this is the fourth installment in a ten-part series.
The party is at a large house near campus where a few PSA board members live with several other friends. There are maybe ten or so people gathered there by the time we show up. For me, it’s a large but not entirely overwhelming amount of people to be around. There is more food, it seems like kind of a potluck. I feel bad for not bringing anything, but I dig into what’s there anyway, since I am still pretty hungry. There are bottles of booze on the kitchen counter and one of the hosts is making elaborate cocktails. She hands me one and I drink it quickly, standing right there in the kitchen.
“Damn, Amir, I’ll just give you a cup of pure liquor if you’re not going to appreciate my artistry,” she says, scolding me. But she smiles and hands me another.
I make a plate of food for myself and find a spot on a couch in the living room next to a guy I know from my organic synthesis class who is also a chem major. We commiserate about the lab earlier in the week, the one I screwed up. The alcohol is spreading pleasantly in my belly and the omnipresent hum of anxiety starts to dissipate. I down my second drink and don’t have to wait long before someone comes by to put a third in my hand. I feel good, at ease in this moment. All is well, normal, even. I am with friends, talking, hanging out. I’m not thinking about anything… inappropriate.
Nadiyah enters, then, with another friend, carrying a large plate covered with aluminum foil. We make eye contact as she walks into the house. She smiles and waves. I wave back. She heads into the kitchen, announcing in a loud voice that she is late because she decided to make pastéis at the last minute.
There’s no denying that Nadiyah is gorgeous — I haven’t seen her since I’ve been back at school, and I feel a thrill at the sight of her. She is Lebanese-Brazilian and of course friends with Mahan — we met last year and had hung out at a few events. There had been a definite spark, but she had a boyfriend back home. This year, Mahan informed me that she and her boyfriend broke up, and he’s been incessantly trying to get us together. I have been so busy, though, that until now I haven’t given her much thought.
She comes back into the living room, right over to the couch where I’m sitting. She kisses my cheek and offers me one of her fried empanadas. I eat it and beam at her, tell her it is delicious. Three drinks in and I am feeling warm and social. I am glad to see her, to talk with her — we catch up about our summers — she was traveling in the Caribbean with her family and some friends, she was partied out. I tell her about my lonely summer working as an intern at the drug company.
“Honestly that sounds so wonderful to me right now. I just want to do something really intensely like that, just focus on one thing, you know?” she says, leaning into me, sending tingles through my body. “Oh my god, Amir, have you tried these strawberries? They are amazing,” she says. She picks up a large strawberry from her plate and puts it into my mouth. I laugh as some of the juice runs down my face. Mahan winks at me from across the room.
The party drifts on into the night. I have a few more drinks and mingle with different clusters of friends spread out around the house. More often than not, I find myself sitting or standing next to Nadiyah. I move toward her or she moves toward me, and it seems there is always an excuse for her to touch me, bat at me playfully, or lean on me. I don’t do a whole lot of talking. The booze has relaxed me and infused me with social energy, but I am content to listen to the conversation and laugh along with everyone else.
At some point, when we are standing alone in the kitchen, Nadiyah grabs my hand. My pulse quickens. She really likes me. And I genuinely like her. More than like, I… want her, sexually. I smile and give her hand a squeeze.
“Do you want to, like, get out of here?” she says, quietly.
“Yeah,” I say.
“Ugh, my roommates are having a thing in our quad tonight,” she says.
“My roommate is gone for the weekend. Do you want to come to my room?” I hear myself ask.
Someone else is in control of my body right now, putting words in my mouth. Am I really going to hook up with Nadiyah? It feels like I am watching events unfold from inside a submarine in my own head.
“Sure,” she says, and she stands up on her tiptoes to kiss me. This catches me by surprise, and our lips brush together awkwardly. Her lips are full and soft. Like Jamie’s, I think, and an excited shiver runs up my spine. Enough. I push the idea of Jamie down, down, away from the immediacy of this kitchen and Nadiyah.
Then we are outside, walking. I don’t remember leaving the party. Did Mahan make fun of us for clearly leaving together? Probably, but my mind is muddled. I am drunk, it is late, and it has begun to rain in earnest. There is a chill in the air that heralds the end of the warm summer escort ataşehir weather and onset of fall. Fall means time to get serious. Tonight, though… the booze… Nadiyah… perhaps this can still belong to the summer, not really count.
It is kind of a long hike. Nadiyah doesn’t have a jacket so I give her my hoodie. I am wearing a light gray button-down shirt that is soon soaked through. We hold hands as we walk but don’t talk.
When we get to my room, Nadiyah looks around and comments about how messy it is. It is messy, and I am surprised, since I am not normally a messy person. Maybe it’s Pete’s mess? I stand there, drunkenly, trying to figure it out, but Nadiyah throws off my hoodie, and kicks off her shoes.
“Which one’s yours?” She asks, laughing and sweeping her arms at the two beds. I point and then she runs and falls onto my bed, beckoning me to join her. I turn off the main light, pry off my shoes, and turn on a lamp in the corner for some softer light. I sit on the bed and put my hand on Nadiya’s thigh. I’m super dizzy from the alcohol.
She is wearing leggings, some sort of dark, sleek material. She pulls my hand up across her stomach, to her chest. We look at each other’s eyes. Blood rushes to my cheeks, and to my cock, which is getting hard in my jeans. She sits up and begins to unbutton her shirt — I watch, dumbly. The fabric is cold and wet from the rain. My hands are resting on my legs and I am intensely aware of my breath all of a sudden. That I have to breathe over and over in order not to die.
“Do you have any music you can put on?” Nadiyah asks.
“Yeah,” I say.
I queue up an EDM mix on my computer that helps chill me out when I study. I return to the bed. It has been forever since I’ve hooked up with anyone. After breaking up with Zahra, I haven’t dated anyone, or really been physical with anyone aside from the crazy freshman orientation period last year. And the few times I had hooked up with people, I was so drunk and high… it’s hard to remember the details.
Here, now, though, is Nadiyah, in my bed. Her shirt is off and she is wearing a black bra with a border of delicate-looking lace across the top. She starts to unbutton my shirt. I help her get my shirt off and throw it on top of my laundry basket. The hair on my chest, shoulders, and back is damp and matted. I hope I’m not too hairy for her.
I unhook my belt and take my jeans off, then my socks. Nadiyah’s eyes rove over my body, and I see her gaze linger at the bulge in my boxer briefs. I feel huge and awkward, like a dumb oaf.
But Nadiyah grabs my hand and pulls me down to lie next to her, and we start kissing. Her hands are on my head and neck, shoulders and chest. I stroke her back and arms, and then move a hand under her bra. In my hand, her breast feels large and incredibly soft. I run my thumb gently across her nipple and feel it tighten. This triggers her to kiss me harder, more urgently. Her tongue is in my mouth and she presses her legs against me, presses her knee into my crotch.
She rolls on top of me and unhooks her bra, shrugging it off once the clasp, which gives her some trouble and causes us both to laugh, is undone. While she is straddling me, I run my hands up and down her thighs and then reach up to feel her breasts once they are freed. They look amazing in the dim light, almost floating along the sinuous lines of her torso. I move my hands around to her back and down to her waist and hips, and she bends to kiss me.
Again, I felt the sensation that I am watching two people going through the motions of a hookup, as though I were a spectator, rather than a participant. I wonder at my hands, how do they knew where to go, where to touch her? My body is under almost autonomic control, the higher layers of my brain totally disengaged.
She puts her hand on my cock, feeling it through the fabric of my underwear. I push my hips up into her, pressing the stiffness of my erection against her hand.
“Mmm, Let’s fuck,” she says, grinning at me.
“Fuck? Are you sure?” I say, quietly. I am a little startled by the proposition. I guess I have been so engrossed in the moment that I haven’t projected ahead to what we might actually… do.
“Yeah, do you have a condom?” she says. Her hand is moving on my cock, stroking me through the fabric. I’m incredibly hard. Her hand feels so good.
“Uh, yeah,” I say. “I mean, I can go get one, um… from the bathroom.” I visualize the basket of free condoms provided there by the RAs.
“Oh my god, you really are such a nerd,” Nadiyah says. “That’s what I love about you, Amir.” She rolls off me, laughing. She is clearly drunk, too.
I sit up. “So, do you want me to… go get…”
“Yes, Amir, go get a condom from the bathroom!” she says, swatting my arm.
“OK,” I say. I look around for a shirt, but can’t find a clean one. And I don’t want to get back into my wet jeans. So I pull on a pair of pajama pants and head off kadıköy escort to the bathroom, shirtless.
I walk quickly down the hallway. I hear music coming from a few different rooms but luckily I don’t see anyone. I duck into the bathroom and I’m relieved to find it empty. I grab a handful of condoms and I’m about to stuff them into my pocket when Tim walks in. He is wearing just a towel and holding a bottle of shampoo. When I see him, I panic and drop a few of the condoms on the floor. He bends and picks up one that has flown over to where he is standing. He holds it out to me.
“Having a good night, Amir?” He asks, with a smug grin.
“Thanks” I say, taking the condom from him, gingerly.
“No prob, bud,” he says.
I avoid eye contact as I walk around him to exit the bathroom. My hand is on the door handle when I hear him call after me.
“Hey Amir, hold up.”
I turn to look at him. His chest is insane, his body. I’m sure he sees me taking in his body but I can’t help it. He sets his shampoo down on a sink and walks over to stand uncomfortably close to me.
“Let’s see here,” he says.
He hooks a finger around the elastic of my pajama pants and underwear, then reaches in slowly with his other hand to grab my cock. My erection, which had softened somewhat on the trip to the bathroom, comes raging back to full stiffness. I’m too shocked to move or back away.
He pulls my cock out above the rim of my pants and underwear. He is gripping me firmly, feeling along the entire length of my cock. He is looking down, watching his hand on my cock.
I stand there, paralyzed in place, not breathing as he works his hand to the base of my cock. He looks up at me and his eyes are dark fires that burn deep into my brain. He gives the base of my cock a hard squeeze. I feel my anxiety subside, and my body starts to respond to him of its own accord. His hand on my cock feels good, great even. My mouth relaxes as though we are about to make out. He grins.
“Damn, bro,” he says.
He lets go of my cock, then claps me on the shoulder. “Yeah, these aren’t gonna work for you, trust me,” he says. He plucks the condom I am holding out of my hand and throws it back in the basket. “Come with me, I’ll hook you up.”
He walks out of the bathroom and looks over his shoulder to make sure I am coming after him. Humiliated and mortified, but also incredibly turned on, I tuck my cock back into my pants and follow him. As he leads me down the hallway, I watch how the curvature of his ass moves under the towel. The high, lateral muscles of his butt bulge out subtly as he walks, and I imagine what they would feel like in my hands, the two round masses of his cheeks flexing under his broad, powerful-looking back.
I follow Tim to his his quad, through the common area, and stand silently in his room while he pulls a pack of condoms out of a drawer. He tosses them to me. Then he forages again in the drawer and pulls out a small bottle of lube. He comes over and hands it to me.
“Knock yourself out,” he says. “And dude… use the lube. No matter how wet she is.” He winks.
I see a flare of dark hair where the edge of his towel is making a V at his crotch. I turn the condoms over in my hand. It’s a 3-pack that reminds me of the pouches of yeast that my mom sometimes uses to make bread. I see the letters “XL” printed on the packaging. I want to say something to him. I feel like I need to communicate some essential thing. But no words come out.
“Amir…?” Tim says, cocking is head at me. He puts his hand up to rest on the door. With his arm up like that and the towel around his waist, the lines of his musculature make him look like some sort of Greek statue. “You OK, bro?”
“Yeah, thanks,” I say. I look into his eyes, then again at his body. Then I back out of his room, turn and walk out of the quad and down the hallway.
Back in my room, I find Nadiyah sitting up in my bed with her arms crossed in front of her chest.
“Hey,” I say. “I got the condoms.” I sit next to her but she slides away from me when I reach out to touch her.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“I think I’m too drunk to do this tonight,” she says. She stands up and looks around for her bra. I spot it on the floor, pick it up and hand it to her.
“You probably think I’m a total flake,” she says. There is a wobble in her voice.
“No,” I say. There is a loud whooshing sound in my head. “I don’t think that.”
I watch her put on her bra and shirt. The whooshing gets louder and louder.
I hear myself try to convince her to stay, that we don’t have to do anything, or even sleep in the same bed. No, no, she wants to go home. I ask if I can walk her back but she refuses, she will be fine, no, she’ll be completely fine walking alone, no, she absolutely does not want me to walk with her. And then she is gone.
I turn off the light and lie down in my bed. The whooshing in my head becomes thunder, a thousand maltepe escort bayan individual voices clamoring to be heard.
I wake up extremely hung over. My head is throbbing and my mouth is filled with the horrible taste of stomach acid. Bright light is streaming in from the eastward-facing window in my dorm room. When I sit up I immediately feel like I am going to vomit. I manage to suppress the feeling and, moving very slowly, I get dressed and find my ID card. It is 9:30 AM. I need to get to the dining hall. Food is the last thing I want to think about right now, but I know what I need to do in order to recover from this hangover. It is a technique I perfected early last year, when I was drinking a lot.
I fill up a plastic cafeteria cup with Sprite and drink it — slowly — to settle my stomach. Then I construct the greasiest possible breakfast sandwich I can, smearing butter onto toast or an English muffin, and then layer on eggs, potatoes, bacon, and sausage. I eat this slowly, too. Something about the grease mixing with the sugar and carbonic acid-primed stomach lining works, however improbably, to keep the food down and ease the ache in my head. Once the sense of “it’s gonna be OK” starts circulating in my body, I get a cup of black coffee. The caffeine focuses my thoughts in to sharp lines.
This is what I think of as my breakfast of shame. Whenever I execute this program to recover after a night of debauchery, I imagine that I am at the center of an amphitheater filled with my pious ancestors, sitting in judgment of me, all of them shaking their heads at me as they watch. This was not only because of the alcohol I am not supposed to be drinking and the meat I am not supposed to be eating, but because I am supposed to be better than this.
I am the only son of an only son, a golden scion of my family, supposedly pursuing a life of honor and success, living up to the high expectations of generations of my antecedents. And here I am, pathetic, hung-over, eating pork, defiling women, and… worse. My mind blinks into the memory of Tim’s hand squeezing my cock in the bathroom last night. I imagine the shock and horror of… well, whatever that was… rippling back across the generations. I pinch my eyes shut to banish these thoughts.
This morning, my technique works; the pain of my headache fades into a manageable dullness, and the bright light of the morning doesn’t hurt my eyes as much. A sense of general health descends on me as I contemplate my day. It is finally the weekend. I am caught up on chem and I am ahead of the reading in politics, but I have an algorithms project to do and I should probably start studying for midterms, which are always a shock to the system after only a few weeks of school.
The empty hours of the weekend stretch out before me, I have lots of time to get work done. I am going to be fine. I am going to get back on track. In the amphitheater, my ancestors quiet down and some even start to nod their heads.
Back at the dorm, I check my bed for vomit. I puked in my bed, once, after a really bad night last year, and I am paranoid that I may have done it again. I am having a hard time remembering the events that occurred. Nadiyah had been here, I knew, we had been hooking up. I had gone to get condoms, met Tim in the bathroom. That part burns bright with shame in my memory, but then, what? Nadiyah had left, clearly. I pick up the unused three-pack of condoms. I don’t think anything happened. We didn’t have sex… right?
I put the condoms into my dresser drawer. I look around the room. It is incredibly cluttered. Clothes are everywhere. I pick up all the clothes I can find and then pull the sheets off my bed. I take everything down to the basement and start a load of laundry, then come back and take a shower. There are a few other guys in the bathroom shower, but nobody I know, and thankfully, no Tim.
Back in my room, I consider dressing and going to the library, finding my study carrel and spending the day there, but then, reminding myself that Pete is gone, I figure I will just stay put. I put on my pajama pants. It is warm in the room so I don’t put on a shirt. I clear a spot on my desk and pull out my chem books.
For the next few hours, everything is as it should be. I go over each lecture from the past week in both chem classes starting with analytical, which is the harder of the two, making new notes, summarizing the material, and making note cards for the particularly thorny bits. There are so many connections to make. I feel the deep thrill of creating a three-dimensional web of information in my head.
My reverie is shattered by the sound of an AIM chat notification blaring loudly through my speakers. The unexpected loud noise sends adrenaline ricocheting through me. I must have left my computer speakers turned up last night. I reach behind my speaker and twist the volume knob down, move my mouse to deactivate my screen saver.
There is a message from a name I don’t immediately recognize.
DankCoyote: Hey Amir, what’s up?
I move my hands to the keyboard to type a reply, but then hesitate. The handle looks familiar but I can’t place it. Should I ask who it is? As I ponder this, another message arrives.