I met Brian at a house party thrown by a friend of a friend. People were dancing in the living room, smoking and doing who knows what in the bedrooms. I stuck to the kitchen, where it was dark and I had easy access to a fridge full of beer. It was dark in there—the bulb in the ceiling fixture was out—and every time someone opened the fridge Brian seemed to glow with blueish light.
I couldn’t tell how old he was, I couldn’t tell his ethnicity, but I could tell his skin was so smooth it was clear he didn’t have to shave. I was taken in by his style, which was outrageous—pleather pants, galoshes, and an enormous garbage-chic scarf—and his manner of speech, which was quiet, precise, and controlled. My friend had left me alone to flirt with some woman she knew from work, and because I didn’t know anyone else I was drinking faster than usual. Yet though Brian seemed to match me beer for beer, by our fourth, when I found myself hiccuping, he still seemed entirely sober.
We talked about this and that. He asked me a thousand questions about myself. There was something charmingly childish about his inquisitiveness. Where did you grow up? he asked, and when I told him the name of my hometown in Pennsylvania he asked me, Where’s that? He asked about the climate (cold, humid), about the customs and personalities of the people I knew. Though I felt my upbringing pretty normal, even boring, he made me feel I was the most interesting person on Earth.
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