Ah, the twenties. A time of fun and leisure. At least for me they were. Below is a short story of a typical day in the life of my early to mid-twenties. Do I miss those days? Sometimes, but I like where I am in my thirties. One thing's for certain, I have less headaches in the morning....
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I set up camp in the courtyard, gulping down the first empty swallow of the day. The weather was perfect. Drowsy clouds floated above, breaking the monotony of the endless blue sky stretching over the college.
We trickled onto the lawn, clutching a box of beer--hauling a dripping bag of ice. Someone had a cooler. We sat in front of the apartment complex where none of us lived. We enjoyed the view. It was Saturday, without the excitement of a Friday night or the solemn sobriety of a Sunday morning. Time slowed to a crawl, in and out of our consciousness, melting away with each sip. We had no qualms with the clock. We were content to squander the hours together, sitting on sun-faded plastic chairs. Catching the breeze.
A Jeep passed, trails of blonde hair streaming in the wind. We waved, craning our necks, looking for the spark of brake lights. Traffic drifted by on the busy street, full of people going about their business. A mother screamed at her car full of children, her voice spilling out of the open window, offering a snippet of responsibility. A well dressed couple breezed by in a sedan, off to lunch, or antiquing, or both. Errands were run, furniture was moved, commerce commenced.
We discussed music, movies, avoided discussions relating to work. We mashed cigarette butts into a pile on the grass. No one had kids. We roamed our twenties with freedom. Grown up enough to live on our own, yet shameless enough to trudge our laundry to our parents’ house. We laughed at a dog hunched over on the lawn. We went on a beer run. And then another. The day seemed to wait for us.
We sat in a semicircle. Watching the street, drinking and talking. We traded stories, becoming animated with each crack of the can. Cars honked in passing. We shook our heads at politics. They’re all the same anyway. We fell silent between jokes.
Our numbers swelled and receded as the afternoon bobbed along. Walkers stopped to talk, cyclist waved in passing. We peed in the tree. We saluted the neighbors. We tossed a ball around, playing music from our cars. We laughed when Bobby’s chair broke. We hoisted our cans to runners on the move, keeping an eye out for police, tucking them and smiling like jerks, real smart-asses, hilarious in our own minds. At least we thought so.
The afternoon began its descent. I felt glorious, like a firecracker waiting to explode in the darkening sky. Girlfriends beckoned. We heckled and teased our dissenters. The sun fell, leaving the horizon smoldering orange.
We walked to the bar, our faces reddened from the sun and the beer. We ordered the cheap stuff. The bartender gave us one on the house. We yelled over the jukebox. We spilled the beer. The night grew late and the bar became crowded, a blur of smoke and lights. We talked up the college girls, telling jokes that made them laugh. We were invited to join them, at least for the night. Tomorrow they would move on. The bar and town merely side notes of college life. Remember when we slummed it with those townies?
Last call came and went. The lights chased away the shadows. We finished our beer and negotiated our tabs. We jostled outside, amongst the puffy faces lingering on the sidewalk. Plans were made with revelry and vigor. Heads wobbled with crooked steps. I said goodbye and trudged home in the dark.
I lied in bed, the day refused to surrender. Humming, buzzing, and ringing. Alone and restless, my thoughts were murky, tinged by the beer. Hollow laughter echoed in my spinning head, piercing the stillness. The maze of my twenties had left me lost again. Tomorrow I would find my way.