Some parties are fun. Some are terrible. Some are just weird. Once a year I rolled the dice at the New Year's thing at the big house of a girl who went to school with me when I was knee high to a shorty.
My best friend is one of those people who gets to chose between party invites at weekends because he knows a thousand people for every single one I tolerate. I think everyone knows someone like Matt, they make it impossible not to. He wears the cool clothes, says the right things and leaps into every opportunity without overthinking.
I prefer to overthink everything, pass up on invitations and respond to all enquiries with sarcasm. It takes a very specific kind of person to like me long term. They have to be immune to my sense of humour or into it. Everyone else calls me weird. I don't mind. Having a handful of friends means less talking.
The party each year takes place on the top floor for the kids of the adults on the ground floor with one in between for a buffer zone. Only the weird mum crossed the divide to ask us if we had weed, we didn't.
At the parties I usually know Matt and a handful of people I used to go to school with years before. It's a little weird being attracted to a girl who you remember being a lice infested six year old whose party trick was pulling out her own hair. It was awkward when another one of the girls from that school started flirting with me despite arriving at the party with the weird kid from my art class who admitted to sticking a pen through the screen of a bland new computer screen at home and tearing up so many bus passes that he had to walk to school. He had a short temper and impulse control issues. He also told me that since leaving high school he'd enlisted in the army and dropped out because he didn't like people telling him what to do.
Normally my role at the new year parties was making awkward conversation with old friends then trying to sleep in the quietest room I could find. Some people are fun drunks. Some people are violent. At every one of those parties there was an example of the girl who drank before the party and arrived out cold. I'm the paranoid drunk kind.
At that party we drank bottle after bottle of blue vodka flavoured with fizz and syrup because we were a classy bunch and counted down to the New Year about a dozen times because we were so drunk it seemed funny.
Every so often two of the group would disappear. Being drunk teenagers we teased the hell out of them and someone made a joke about his balls shrivelling into prunes from having so much sex. She denied it until someone noticed her top was on inside out. This girl had red hair in a long ponytail and the moment she realised she'd come back with her clothes on the wrong way her cheeks were as red as her dyed hair.
The girl's face couldn't burn any brighter when someone pointed out silvery stains on said inside out top. She disappeared into her hands as the boy who'd stained her top made an awkward face.
There's a cut off point in every party where people either go home or start passing out. The hardcore try to keep it going or just talk but most people I knew lived close enough to go home. Sadly I didn't. I found a nice dark room to get away from people because I was way over my limit for human contact and needing some peace and quiet. There was a comfy chair so I parked myself in it and enjoyed the darkness because I'm that kind of weird.
I wasn't in the room long before a girl showed up and closed the door behind her. She had dirty blonde hair, tight black trousers and lots of questions for me. I'm generally an awkward person with new people or people I haven't seen in a while but what came next was still one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life.
The girl was the one with the weird boyfriend with anger issues. She sat on my lap, began running her fingers through my hair. Her questions? What kind of shampoo did I use? My answer? My mum buys it I don't know. (Why are you sitting on my lap?) It's baby shampoo I guess. Nodding like I'd told her where to go in a library she continued playing with my hair like everything was normal and asking more questions.
I heard someone stomping around outside the door. I knew it was her boyfriend. There were only six rooms on the top floor. It wasn't that hard to find her. Something stopped him opening the door though. He was huffing and puffing as she talked away like it was nothing and eventually I heard heavy footsteps on the stairs. I asked if she was going to go after him and she said it was fine.
Something froze me to the spot. Maybe it was the fact I had never kissed a girl before. Maybe it was the fact that my heart was beating too fast or that my palms were sweating. I think she was enjoying making me feel awkward but either she had enough or she was after a kiss and disappointed because eventually she said goodbye and left me in the dark, alone again.
Hoping that was all the excitement for me for the night I lay down on the other side of a table football table and tried to sleep on the hard floor. If I was the kind of person who falls asleep straight away then I would have been ignorant to what came next but I have too many random thoughts inspiring paranoia at any point to fall asleep straight away.
After half an hour of trying to sleep a beam of light poured into the room as two more drunken teens opened the door. They presumably saw me because I was right in front of the door but they decided to lie down next to each other and talk flirtatiously anyway. Yay.
You can't not hear what two people are talking about in a dark room in the middle of the night. I wasn't pretending to sleep. I turned over. I coughed to make damn sure they knew I was there. They talked about their lives and the conversation turned to what they wore when they went swimming and then the girl brought up the topic of felatio, her not him.
Fuck off. I could guess what was coming and it was bullshit. They'd decided they wanted the room and they were trying to make me feel so awkward I had to leave. Worst thing was that it worked. I didn't want to see them doing things so I got up and left, wanting to slam the door.
All of the beds were taken of course. I'd missed my moment for that but someone had put out sleeping mats in another room with a couch where a girl was squished up with plenty of cushions she should have had the sense to throw on the floor.
Matt was there. Unlike usual he hadn't ended up with a girl and by all accounts I'd come closer to it. He lived further away than I did so we talked because neither of us sleep straight away which pissed off his mother endlessly when I stayed over at his house because her son can't whisper and she has incredible hearing.
At some point the girl on the sofa puked. We watched her, wondering if we needed to intervene but she just looked at her sick on the pillow did a facial shrug and then fell asleep in it. It was a dick move on our parts not to get her to move or something but that girl slept through the night in her own vomit and lived to tell the tale.
I was one of the last people to wake up. Matt and me helped pack empty cans and bottles into and asked why I hadn't kissed the girl who'd sat on my lap. The answer was simple, fear. It was a long time before I learned to put my humour to use with women instead of bombarding them with my unabbreviated life story. That night was the closest I came to a kiss for the next two years whereas Matt would kiss to say hello and somehow no-one seemed to mind.
Matt dragged me along to other parties which were as disastrous but few where I experienced so many awkward things in a single night. It wasn't the last time things were disastrously weird with a girl who seemed to like me but it was the first, and you never forget your first time.