. . . a welcome diversion *
It was February 1977, a few months from high school graduation and a month after that, my seventeenth birthday. I got off work, drove home in my new used Maverick, and jumped in the shower. I donned my best slacks, my preppiest shirt, and my best . . . okay, my only pair of dancing shoes. I was going to a party.
A grown up party.
You must understand, I was not the most social of creatures growing up; truth be told, am only a trace more so today, but that is another story. I was not pretty nor particularly athletic. Don't let the high school tennis team fool you. That folly was due to tennis star (Billy Jean and Chrissy) crushes. I was a geeky, glasses wearing, middle child, dark skinned, all kind of wrong kind of girl growing up. So no, not the most social of creatures. .
But Velda liked me, took me under her wing, as it were. She was five years my senior. Her mom and my mom were some kind of friends. I thought of Velda as more of a big sister than friend. Well, even more than friend, in my mind, anyway. She liked me enough to invite me to her birthday party that February.
A grown up party.
The many hours I'd spent in Velda's apartment prior to party night hadn't prepared me for the sight of strobe and black lights, beads and baubles hanging from the rafters, all the food and drink. Lots and Lots and Lots of stuff to drink. Drinking, like the Maverick, was new to me. Yes, I know, I had no business, but there it was . . me wanting to feel like a grown up and more than that, me wanting to feel like something, someone other than me.
So, I had rum with cola. And then another. And then . . . too many more later, it was time to go. Was I okay to drive home? "Sure!" I walked a straight line, relatively up-right and was allowed to go down the two flights of stairs, into the cold, cold, February night, nearly morning. I was somehow able to maneuver the key into the lock. I was somehow able to position myself inside my new used Maverick. I was somehow able to fit the key into the ignition.
And then I passed out.
Some hours later (morning had broken) Velda's significant other, James tapped on the window startling me awake. I was coaxed out of the car with only slightly less precision in play while getting in the car. James invited me to lean against his massive hulk while he lead me back to the beads and baubles, and Velda's warm embrace. (Okay, that part was a dream). There was conversation between them, hell if I can remember what was said. Long story short, I was invited to (finish) sleeping it off on the sofa.
An offer I stayed on my feet just barely long enough to accept.
My first grown up party.
My first (AND LAST for many, many years) drunk out of my gourd event.
A long nap and a late lunch of sliders and fries later, me and my new used Maverick made our way back to the place I never called home.