|Posted by Nikki Yeager on September 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM|
Drinking with old friends. It was simple. Go to OH, meet up with everyone I've always loved and get blurry eyed intoxicated. Why?
Not because I have a penchant for binge drinking but because I've never done it before. I never took a sip of anything harder than Sprite with my OH friends around. Call me a goody-goody but I always saw it as obvious. You don't drink when you live and home and you're underage. There's no good that can ever come of that. Especially when your parents have the eyes of a hawk and the memory of an elephant when applied to the lies you told and the punishment they promised. Especially when you live in Wickliffe and the only way to get home is behind the wheel of a car.
But I digress.
I decided to drink and do it heavily because it's the safest place I could've spent my 21st birthday - with friends I've known since kindergarten and a house that's been my second home since second grade.
Despite the fact it's been 2-3 years since I've seen anyone from my old school, 30+ people filtered in and out throughout the night....for me. Which made me warm on the inside in a way I could never describe in words.
Mel graciously welcomed everyone with grape vodka and ghetto-ade... You know, the dollar juice at convenience stores. It was the only thing I could find when I ran in after 3 hours in her car, coming all the way from Pittsburgh and starving for non-fried food.
Let me just mention, Ohio, how I enjoy your cheap beverages and flavored vodka.
Throughout the night it was hug after hug, friend after friend. Dominik, my favorite friend-boy from forever ago. Melissa, who I spent an entire year hanging out with, getting coffee, dressing in outrageous outfits to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show. Carly who I ran with for years. Who pushed me harder than anyone ever did.. if only because she was better than me. Faster, smarter, a step above. And that motivation was lovely.
My old party friends, the ones I drove home on multiple occasions. The ones I drove cars for. The ones I locked in rooms and stole keys from. The ones who spent long nights with their faces in a toilet while I held their hair.
And then Mel's friends who once were mine as well.
Blasts from my past. Boys I spent many a night with (figuratively speaking) and friends I made for the boys' benefit.
People I haven't seen in years. Plus some people I hardly saw years ago.
More people than I ever imagined inspiring for a drive to Mentor showed up with bottles and bathing suits in hand.
Flashback to high school -Chicken fights in my back yard on slippery shoulders, no light but the light in my pool. There'd be shirts and pants discarded around the deck, tanned bodies in small bathing suits flailing in the water. Cups of soda, pieces of pizza half eaten and left to the mosquitos. A few friends lounging in deck chairs. Just an average July night.
This time it was a different setting, different year. Same people. Same activities. Eating, talking, pushing people into the chilly water and enjoying the night air.
Same state. Same county.
And for some reason my purpose for showing up dissapeared. I was so distracted on greeting everyone, catching up, playing host, that I never stopped to accomplish my goal. I had two shots to start and sipped on two grape vodka + lemonade cocktails. But with the cold air on my face and chips shoved down my throat, the last thing that happened was drunkeness.
And I'm glad because the haze of past mixed with present would've been a deadly combination with too much alcohol. I would've ended up hugging too hard or reminiscing too much.
Instead I made the rounds and enjoyed.
And then the question would come up. Well, not so much a question as an undying statement, "I heard you went all over the world." I'd nod, rattle off my countries, cities and states. And then it would die.
A mild curiosity so far removed from OH life.
And then *poof*. It was back to high school stories and idle banter. Funny how we always revert back to the roles we've played forever.
In my imagination I'd imagined it as a point of interest... maybe even respect. I'd be the girl who didn't just leave for Willoughby South junior year. I wasn't just the girl who left for New York and dropped out of college. I was - I am - the girl who went around the entire globe and lived without flush-toilets for months. I left the nest and never looked back. I don't know why I thought anyone from my hometown would care. But in my head they did.
I guess we're all a little bit arrogant and a little more self-absorbed than we ever realize.
In the end it didn't matter. It also didn't matter that Melissa has become a first rate designer and Johnny became a first class father. It didn't matter that Carly is drop dead beautiful and Billy bought a house. It didn't matter because in that night, together, we were all the same as we'd always been. Wickliffe kids swimming in a pool just as we have since we were old enough to unleash from our parent's direct care. Nothing else mattered. I was still Nikki and everyone else was still themselves, no matter where we've been or were we're headed.
I wouldn't trade that night for the world. But I can tell you this - I felt no sadness when I landed in NYC again. Those were the days that made me who I am. Those are the people I will love for the rest of my life.
But that world will never be mine. And I knew long ago it never was.
*This is an update from July. I was actually there for my birthday itself. July 18th, 2010*
Categories: 21 Days of my 21st