Loosen up. Live in the moment. Feel the rhythm of the music. Talk to someone. Be charming. Stop talking about the paleolithic era. Ask people about themselves. Have something to drink. Get on the dance floor. Try not to think about the inevitable heat death of the universe. Eat some seven-layer-dip. Make out with someone. Let someone tap you on the shoulder. Spin around at a totally normal speed. Slur something. Point finger guns. Refuse to throw the first punch. Throw the last one. Be hoisted up into the air. Feel vertigo. Ride on someone’s shoulders for a while. Fall in the pool. Sink to the bottom. Suck in too much water. Get pulled out. Cough the rest of the night. Throw up in the bushes. Have a few more. Listen to your roommates tell you to stop embarrassing them. Flatulate. Kiss someone else. Stumble to the bathroom. Leave the kind of mess you wouldn’t want to clean up. Think about your father. Remember you have to print your boarding pass still. Stumble down the block by yourself. Trip on loose concrete. Stay on the ground a little while. Get picked up by your roommates. Ask them about their dads. Burp. Stop at a Taco Bell when a roommate has to pee. Wait on the roommate. Talk to a stranger for a minute. Joke about being Baja Blasted. Go into the other bathroom. Hook up. Feel ashamed. Come out smelling like Taco Bell bathroom sex. Agree when a roommate tells you that you need a shower. Stare at your feet. Imagine your own death the rest of the walk. Drop the keys at the front door. Fiddle with the lock. Shove the door open too hard. Look at the dent the knob made in the wall. Fall into bed face first. Wonder who will come to your funeral. Cry yourself to bed.
Wake up the next morning, get on the plane, and fly back home.
Ben Shahon is a writer whose work has appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Daily Drunk, and others. He is an MFA candidate in Fiction and instructor at Emerson College, and holds BA’s in Philosophy and Creative Writing from ASU. Ben currently lives outside Boston, which he hates. His go-to order is a Steak Quesadilla, Doritos Locos Taco, and Baja Blast Freeze.