Heather Kozin

Under Pressure

After a long ride of excitement and uneasiness, he walks into what he is told will be the party of the year. As he rings the doorbell and enters the party, he glances around and his stomach rises and falls within him. There are passed-out people to his right, and others struggling to walk on his left. He breaks out into a sweat. All he can see is alcohol and marijuana, everywhere. His vision blurs, and he struggles to stay calm. He tries to relax, thinking that his friends would stick with him, but before he knew it, they were no longer by his side. He feels dizzy and unstable, a sensation similar to the one he always gets when he rolls down the steep hill in his backyard. He finds a deserted room where he can be alone, sits down, and remembers his responsibility as the designated driver. He is the smart one, the only one in his circle of friends that can say alcohol has never touched his virgin lips.

Half an hour passes and his friends come stumbling upon him in the corner he has crawled into. As he sits there, staring at his friends, a sense of helplessness overcomes him. All of the chaos occurring around him seems to move in slow motion. A rocket of fear explodes inside of his stomach. Panic takes over his body, and his initial reflex is to tell his giggling friends that it is time to leave. They object to this and reply, stuttering on every other word, “Come on, just live for once in your life! Have a drink, relax!” He recklessly turns over these words in his mind, in an endless battle between his common knowledge and the pressure surrounding him. He is feeling alone and helpless, like a lost young child in the never-ending aisles of a grocery store.

His friends, unable to be quiet, attract attention to his safe haven and more people begin to join in and pressure him to have a drink. With his head spinning and the angry mob coming closer and closer, all he desires to do is run away. He realizes that there is no way of escaping, and that they are not going to back down until they accomplish their goal of destroying his innocence. The ongoing battle between his knowledge and the pressure finally ends. He gives in to the intoxicated crowd of teens, and takes the Sam Adams, thinking that one drink will be nothing and everything will be okay.

                                               * * *

One drink turns to two, two turns to three, three to four, and four to five. Everyone is downing shots of tequila; even he had a few himself. He is starting to feel more comfortable and composed, he finally feels as if he fits in with the kids his age for the first time in his life. The more he drinks, the more comfortable he feels. His body and his mind disappear into the chaos; the blaring music and beer bottles dropping out of the hands of the clumsy drunks is all he can hear. All of his worries had escaped him the moment he fell under the spell of alcohol, but they would not leave him for long.

Although he is not aware of it, he is now one of them. He is one of the people he glanced at in horror when he walked into the party. One of the people he had promised himself he would never become. In a matter of seventy minutes, he transformed from a frightened and innocent individual, to a stereotypical drunken teen.

Time passes by so quickly while inebriated, and the early hours of the morning are reached. The party then comes to an end. Everyone, except his friends, leave with their sober designated drivers. He is still as drunk as ever, and all of his friends are too. They stumble out of the house and into the darkness. Somehow, they manage to steady themselves in order to enter the SUV. His friend turns up the radio. A sober young man sprints after their car yelling for them to stop, but they do not hear him. The car swerves out of the driveway, screeches as it rounds the corner, and disappears.




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