It was Dennis’ first time dropping acid. He didn’t like the taste, and he didn’t like that it took so long to hit. All he wanted was a decent trip, something to shake off the dreary, mundane haze that had his days blurring into a single unremarkable mess. Wayne told him it wouldn’t kick in until they got to the party, which only made the trip there seem that much longer.
Wayne was right. By the time they got to Patty’s, the outlines of Dennis’ fingers were struggling to break free from their confines, causing his flesh to ripple like water in a shallow stream. Five minutes later (or was it fifty? He wasn’t sure anymore), a pulse of fluorescent pink light shot out from the speakers, growing bolder and bigger as the bass got deeper. He felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Wayne.
“How’s it going, man?” The words flew out from Wayne as he mouthed them, shooting through Dennis’ ears as neon-green typography. Dennis wasn’t sure if he had heard his friend, or if he was reading his mouth.
“I can see colors,” He answered.
Wayne let out a laugh. “We all can, brother. We all can.” He flashed Dennis a peace sign and walked back into the music’s glow.
Dennis spent the next moments sitting and watching everything around him. Everyone was a glob of ink floating in zero gravity, struggling to maintain some semblance of order in their form. The songs that blasted throughout the house radiated through the more translucent people, bending the shapes seen through them. The walls turned to shifting technicolor sand, a time-lapse video of erosion shown in slow motion.
“Sounds. I meant I can see sounds,” Dennis said.
“Excuse me,” he heard someone behind him say.
“Excuse me,” the voice repeated, “You’re kind of blocking the bathroom.”
Dennis turned around. The voice came from the most beautiful person he had ever seen. Her long brown hair was drifting through the air like smoke, and there were countless stars sparkling in her eyes. She stood out from the mélange of tastes and noises and people surrounding her, the shapes on and of her body bold and definite.
“Where’s Wayne?” he asked.
“I need to tell him something.”
“Could you move out of the way please? I really need to pee.” She gave him a rather squeamish smile.
“Oh. Sorry.” Dennis stepped away and watched the slamming soar outwards from the door.
“Dude, I just met this gorgeous girl!” he said soon after. He turned around. Wayne wasn’t there.
Ah, fuck. He thought to himself. Of all the times to be completely fucked. The world around him continued to bleed into itself, a churning pool of colors.
The bathroom door opened, and the girl stepped out. He pepped himself to get it together. This was his only chance to make sure she didn’t think he was a total idiot. He stepped up to her and caught her eye.
“Hey, sorry about earlier.”
She laughed. “It’s no problem. I’ve seen worse at Patty’s parties.”
“Yeah. It’s cool.”
Dennis stretched his hand out. “So we’re good?”
She took his hand and shook it. Her hand felt small, warm, comfortable, and electric in his. “We’re good.”
“I’m Dennis, by the way. God, you’re gorgeous.”
She cracked the tiniest smile, as though she were trying to hide it. “I’m Chelsea. And thanks.”
“I seriously want to get to know you better. Can we hang for a bit?” Dennis surprised himself with his forwardness. He was usually a lot less confident. Then again, the universe he was in wasn’t quite itself at the moment, so it probably made sense.
Chelsea betrayed her full smile. “Sure,” she said, “but can we not hang in front of the bathroom?”
“Oh shit!” Dennis laughed. “Right, right.”
They walked over to a couch made of tangerine jelly and sat.
“What are you on, anyway?” Chelsea asked.
“Acid. It’s kind of my first time.” Dennis could feel the trip getting even stronger. The liquid and smoke that surrounded him started forming geometric shapes, fixed and firm, and vibrating waves of television static. He strained to keep his focus on Chelsea, who for some reason hadn’t changed.
“Cool. I’ve never been on the stuff. What’s it like?”
Dennis started talking about his rippling skin, the wild colors, and the tessellations surrounding him. He wasn’t really sure what he was saying, but Chelsea seemed to hang on every word. He suddenly found himself talking about life and love and the pursuit of passion, not really knowing how the conversation got there.
The next thing he knew, he was quiet and listening.
“And seriously, what is life like when you don’t take any chances? We learned to walk, talk, eat and love by taking chances. Nobody ever gave us a manual. There are no instructions to life. We’ve just got to take those leaps, you know?” Chelsea’s words captivated him. He had never met anyone who had seen things just the way he did.
“So what do you say we take a chance right now?” Dennis found himself saying.
“I was starting to think you’d never ask.”
Chelsea took his hand and they made a dash for the closest bedroom. Patty would understand, and if she didn’t, well… they were never that close to begin with. They locked the door and hopped into bed.
Dennis felt her warm, soft lips press against his, and he sunk in deeper than he ever imagined possible. He was enthralled by the touch of her skin on his, her breath on his neck, her softness and assertiveness. They struggled with each other’s clothes, eager to experience more. They spiraled down through the bed, their bodies entangled as they drifted feverishly in space. There was nothing else but Chelsea; there was nothing else but Dennis. There was nothing more they wanted then.
The morning light peeked in through the windows and burned between Dennis’ eyelids. He sat up in an empty bed, and immediately wondered whether anything really happened last night. A door somewhere in the room opened, and he heard a familiar voice saying, “You’re finally up!”
“Jesus, I thought you were someone else.”
“Sorry,” Chelsea said, climbing back into bed. “Bathroom.” She pointed at an open door.
“Oh.” Dennis let his head fall back down onto the pillows.
“You were so out of it last night. Must’ve been some really good stuff.”
A sliver of alarm shot through Dennis’ head. “Did we…? I mean, did you and I really… y’know?”
Chelsea giggled. “We did.”
“And don’t worry, you were great,” she added, kissing him lightly on the cheek. Her fingers danced along his chest for a few moments, and she asked, “Hey, are you ever gonna be sober when I’m with you?”
Dennis watched her fingers gliding across his skin. They were defined and delicate. The room around him was a dull, wooden place that couldn’t have been distinguished from old housing brochures. The only crinkles on the edges of the bed were where the blankets had folded. He ran his thumb lightly down her cheek, and she looked up at him. There were stars in her eyes.
“Never,” Dennis answered, smiling. They pulled the sheets tighter and slept in a little longer.