It was that time before summer when high school seniors, such as I, lunge for their last pathetic chance at romance; that time when the most desperate geeks ask out girls that are way out of their league-and undeniably fail.
I’d asked out a girl my age, Sarah, who I thought should have been my girlfriend. We had a lot in common: we enjoyed recreational marijuana; we were introverted and polite; we were generally good kids thrown into the quintessential high school mix.
Our high school had a graduating class of something like 650 students, which meant lots of parties. I mentioned a graduation party to Sarah, asking her if she’d want to go with me. It was a fairly simple date-plan; I’d pick her up in my dad’s business car, we’d smoke some shit, and I’d give her a ride home after she got drunk at the party. She was somewhat hesitant to agree but, after some pestering, everything was a go.
Sarah looked good when she got into the silver Taurus I was driving. She’d dressed up and [in retrospect] that was the only significant action she took to let me know that she was somehow enthusiastic about this date of ours.
I, myself, had played it cool as well. I wore my best-fitting shirt and, to further improve my appearance, had taken the time to cover a large pimple with some of my mom’s concealing make-up. I guess I was more preoccupied with my physical appearance than anything else, which was foolish.
The marijuana I’d procured for us was something beyond me. Normally, I just bought pot from Kevin, an acid-head who, after a series of drug- and sex-related charges, ended up working in the same grocery store department as me. This time, however, I needed something special so I went to Anatoly, a.k.a. DJ Tole. After some minor dispute with his connection, some hobbit I was to only call Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Fasching,’ I had my hands on it: the trainwreck.
Trainwreck was some kind of risky strain of THC-heavy smoke. Revered amongst the international raver crowd, somehow it made its way into Fasching’s hands and into central Wisconsin. For a mere $15 a gram, it would be mine-an insurmountable high and, possibly, a ticket into Sarah’s bra.
So, I packed the pipe and handed it to Sarah. We slow-cruised our way to the party on roads seldom inhabited by police. Because I never smoked with Sarah I considered her some kind of secretive pro, someone I could learn from. But after she took a [really very] minimal hit, watching her choke and gag just turned me off.
There she was: some kind of instant red-eyed retard untouchable in the car seat next to me. She gave me pipe, using her other hand to shield her coughing. I grimaced and took it back. Just what had I gotten myself into? I have to take this girl to a party, introduce her to my friends. Now I’m supposed to let this girl stain my reputation, just so she can waste my weed and flatten my romanticism!
I’m sure she had the same collective sentiment towards me, though-especially after I took my first hit. I was a mess; my eyes glazed over, I choked violently. Worst of all: I tried to play it cool by driving fast.
Subsequently, we arrived at the party extra-early. We would have been early, normally, but by the time we got there only six kids sat drinking. They were a few of my friends and, aside from wondering why I’d brought Sarah, wanted me to chill out with them. But the pot, which Sarah and I had finished with three or four mutual hits in a nearby neighborhood, kept me at bay. I felt the need to stick close to Sarah, despite her newfound loathing for me.
Sure, I’d drugged her. But if this night were going to get anywhere I’d have to drug my friends too. They were the hosts, after all, and I was going to start this party right. I planted Sarah in the kitchen and took everyone else into the garage. After smoking the remainder of the trainwreck, we laughed and mocked Sarah.
Looking back on it all, Sarah really never deserved any of this. She was a nice girl, probably just looking for some light-hearted fun. She forged quick bonds with my friends, once we were all on the same wavelength.
After we came back from the garage, we found Sarah munching some cookies. This was funny and everyone began eating. Sarah handed me half of her cookie, and it was delicious. She handed me another, asking, “aren’t these the best peanut butter cookies you’ve ever eaten?”
With that, my throat went dry and my spine became rigid; I’m extremely allergic to peanuts, and peanut butter is far worse than peanuts-if peanuts were beer, peanut butter would be 100-proof liquor. I told everyone I had to go.
Sarah needed to come with me, she said. She wasn’t hitting on me; she simply knew that I was her ride home. Few other words were exchanged, and my friends were each in their own little worlds.
It had grown dark by now, and the combination of drugs and allergies were making me disoriented. I gunned the Taurus around corners, hoping to get Sarah out of the situation as quickly as possible. But I lost my way, miscounting corners on the back roads.
I brought us to an Industrial yard adjacent to some railroad tracks. I began to make my best y-turn when a shaking jolt overcame my torso. I suddenly became very cold, shifted the car into park, and waited for my automatic window to lower itself half-way before barfing violently.
I never explained what was happening to Sarah; we just sat in silence, in front of a DEAD END sign illuminated in the Taurus’ headlights. I remember the look on her face as I laid back, soiled, and the beginning sounds of Dark Side of the Moon faded in through the tape player: the heartbeat, the panic, the screams.
I admit that I was naÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ve in not letting her drive after that. I just wanted to play it cool, that’s all I remember. I tried to turn us around, nailed the curb. We backtracked and I was driving faster than before. I thought through my route, replacing the former, safer route with one that would get her the hell away from me as fast as possible.
This route led us through a lot of stoplights and, as we screeched to a stop at the first one, we locked eyes with a minivan with gradeschoolers in the back. I puked again, louder this time, adding to the wad that was already spread across the Taurus’ silver exterior. Sarah had just enough time to yelp before I ran the light out of embarrassment.
Otherwise, she was pretty much quiet; I drove like a madman and she never objected. I puked out of the window at 65 mph, navigating turns that called for half that speed, and she never spoke, just stared forward. When I brought my head back in and informed her that my hat had flown off, she never replied.
But that was the last thing I spoke to her in a tone appropriate for a date. When I parked on her parents’ lawn to drop her off, I screamed at her like a goddamn animal. She stumbled stoned across the grass and out of my life.
When I got home, nearly the entire driver’s side of the Taurus was covered in pink puke. My eyes were much more red than before and, when I first entered my house at 8pm on a Saturday night, my parents asked how the date went.