“Homecoming,” by Jamie Elmer

“Home is not where you were born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.” – Naguib Mahfouz

***

I took a seat on the worn couch, right on the edge, leaning my body tightly against the arm so as not to graze my leg against the guy passed out next to me. He had a penis with wings drawn on his cheek in permanent marker, his punishment for falling asleep before midnight with his shoes on. The party raged around me. I watched as my best friend, Lily, and a group of others cheered and squealed at the beer pong game going on not far from the couches. The hardwood floor around the table was sticky from spilled beer and overturned cups, similar to the coffee table in front of me, littered with every alcoholic beverage I could think of. I took a sip of my drink, rum and coke, hold the rum, and looked up at the sound of a crash. Alicia was pulled up from the floor she had fallen on and helped over to a lounge chair across from the couch where she collapsed and grinned widely over at me.

“Reina!” she yelled exuberantly. Her friend detached herself from her with a small apologetic smile at me and disappeared back outside, pulling a cigarette from behind her ear as she walked away. Behind the glass doors I could see more of the party: another beer pong table surrounded by players and friends; friends gathered around lounge chairs, smoking; a group of guys near a small fire pit passed a joint around. I looked back at Alicia, who waved at me to gain my attention.

“Reina! I love you, you’re great, ya know?” she said, smiling, her eyes unfocused.

“Had a little to drink?” I asked her, slightly amused, mostly tired.

“That and then some!” she giggled herself into silence, which took a solid minute and a half. She rummaged in the pockets of her incredibly short jean shorts and pulled out a small baggie. She shook it around like a treat for a puppy and the little white pills jumped around.

She pulled the shirt sleeve of one of the guys at the beer pong table nearest us. “Take a break?” she asked him, alluringly. He looked down at her and smiled, shrugged.

“Why not?” he said, and then looked back at the rest. “Time out!”

A couple of the others moved around the table toward Alicia and her pills, the same expressions of why not etched on their faces. I watched as Lily, a friend I’d known since grade school, and a number of friends from high school all encircled her.

Alicia looked up, back into my eyes after popping her pill. Before offering it to Derek’s outstretched hand, she moved to offer the baggie to me. I stared back at her and then up to see that most of the eyes of my friends were on me.

For the rest of the story, purchase a copy of Issue #2 of Negative Assets: Punk Lit Zine.