Tom was completely out of his mind when he met Anna. To be precise, he was seven beers into a brownie someone passed him at his best friend’s 21st birthday party. It was a very strong brownie, and the beers went down quickly. He remembered only the most vivid things of that moment – the volume of the music, the streaks of blue and green and purple light that cut through the cigarette haze, the remarkable weight of his head and eyelids. He remembered stumbling over someone on the floor. He remembered spilling what would have been his eighth beer and laughing until his cheeks were sore.
Most of all, he remembered her.
He didn’t remember much of what happened, or how he saw her in the first place, but there was something about Anna that caught his attention. It might’ve been her tangerine hair, or the way the corners of her eyes crinkled every time she burst into a smile, or it could’ve been any of the many striking things about her he would eventually discover over conversations and comfortable silences – she was simply extraordinary that night.
Anna would often joke that it was the beer goggles that made him walk up to her. “You’d have hit on anything that looked like it had boobs,” she’d tease.
“Untrue,” he’d answer, adding, “I thought everyone had boobs.”
She’d follow up by recounting the complete fool he was that night. “I saw you staggering my way for a while. You barely made it to me. I gave you the head-to-toe and there was a huge beer stain on your pants. You had the goofiest smile on your face –” Tom would cross his eyes and crack an open-mouthed grin “ – that one, and you said ‘Hey fthere, wassup? I’m Jom.’”
“Jom’s a handsome name. It’s Cyrillic.”
“Jom’s a name someone who couldn’t handle his weed would use.” Anna’s eyes would crinkle as she said this, and Tom would fall in love all over again.
They had this conversation, or some other variation of it, countless times. Tom loved it because it made her laugh; Anna kept doing it because she thought he was cute when he was sheepish. It never got old. Not for sixty years.