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A Brief Evocative Description

by Roman Pougatchev
 

There was a faint clicking noise to my right. Her face was illuminated for a moment by the light of the ipod screen. I saw a look of deep contemplation written in the soft contours of her features. Her brow was furrowed and her small lips were drawn into a tight line.

I knew the expression well and I knew that it was still there when the light dimmed and my companion receded back into a faceless silhouette. She was searching the music for a hook, some rhythm that she could find agreeable. The expression gave me hope because she was taking it seriously.

"I don't know if I like it or not," she finally announced over the sound of breaking waves. "It's weird. I'll have to listen to it more some time."

"I'll burn you the CD."

"I'd like that. What's the band called again?"

"The New Pornographers. They're pretty cool," I stated and leaned to the left, groping blindly for my flask of whiskey. My palms traced invisible patterns in the frigid sand until fingers met glass.

"They are," she said and yanked the earphones out from beneath her hat. There was another outbreak of dim light as she pressed down and held the dial on the mp3 player to shut it off. She was smiling and looking down contentedly, first at the tiny device in her gloved hands and then at the open bottle of strawberry wine cooler resting in the crook of her elbow.

Eventually the glow ceased and we were left in the dark once again.

I was upright now and using one end of my scarf to brush any remaining granules from the flask. The individual particles swept out in every direction. Some landed in the sand around me while others ricocheted, with an audible popping sound, off the denim material of my jacket and jeans.

"I can't believe I forgot to bring my gloves," I said, twisting the cap ccounterclockwise. I felt and heard a steady snapping. There was movement of arm and shoulder and the whiskey was at my lips, pouring past my tongue and down my throat.

"I can't believe ... " The girl paused and patted my jacket while I drank until she found a pocket to slip the ipod into. "I can't believe that you didn't bring a chaser."

"Are you saying I'm not hardcore enough to drink whiskey straight?" I asked, joking, after the burning sensation and consequent shivers had passed.

"You are not hardcore!" she yelled in a husky voice.

I sniggered. "Yeah? Well you're not... a unicorn! How do you like them apples?" The girl burst into laughter. She was perhaps the only human being on the face oof the earth who found me funny.

"You are so retarded, Marten," she said after her sides stopped splitting and she regained the ability to breathe normally.

"That's why you keep me around," I replied. "I make you look smarter by comparison."

I took another gulp of whiskey.

"Well, that and your infallible gay-dar," she said, in between bouts of giggles. "Cheers to that!" I declared with great enthusiasm.

We tapped alcohol containers. She drank freely from her wine. I took yet another drag from my flask. With the third hit of liquor I felt the signature calming, tepid sensation of toxin hitting brain. It was as if the entire world and everything in it gave a big sigh of release. I leaned back against the huge outcrop of granite behind us and relaxed, letting existence slide out of focus.

"Speaking of your 'dar ... "

"Uh-oh."

"Shut up. I need your opinion about a guy. Jason Parry. What do you think?" Pain had begun to shoot up from my freezing hands. I decided that the only option was to tuck them as far as I could into my jacket sleeves, which had immediate and pleasantly warm results.

"Marten!" she enunciated and hooked her arm through mine, squeezing me close. I chuckled at her urgency.

"Which one is Jason Parry?" I asked her.

"You know him. He's in our humanities class. Always asks a bunch of questions."

"Old Spice?"

"God, no. Jason's not middle aged. He sits in our row."

"The one that kinda' looks like a chick from the back?"

"No, not Sexy Back. Two seats down from him."

"Oh! Red-hat-curly-hair!"

"That's the one."

There was a moment of silence while we both considered the possibilities. "Well... I don't think he's a puffer fish," I declared after a while.

"Good, good. That's always positive news."

"And he seems respectful and not utterly pretentious... Is he afraid of you yet?"

She laughed and hit my arm. "Of course he is, silly."

"Then he's definitely your type."

Neither of us had noticed the breeze picking up. We were both shivering and clattering teeth didn't make for good conversation. We sat in silence until I had to pee and my confidant realized the cold had killed her head buzz.

"I think maybe we should go somewhere warm. I don't want to expose myself to the freezing elements... if you know what I mean."

"Whatever happened to the 'Polar Bear Drinking Club'?"

"Consider it effectively disbanded."

We stood up onto numb legs, arms still hooked together.

"So what would you think if I, maybe, pursued Jason?" she proposed as we began the long process of key-stoning home.

I stopped in my tracks and stood still, listening to the sound of crashing water behind us.

"I don't know if I like it or not," I said simply.

I was glad that she couldn't see my expression through the darkness.

She laughed a little, tugged at my arm, and we were on our way again.
 

Creative Writing, Spring '07