A steamy kiss, with a lot of tongue. That was the dare. And it was a dare accepted with the never changing readiness.
There were snickers when the dare was given. There was no real doubt in anyone’s mind of her accepting, even if they denied it. Aniya never stepped back from a dare, and never hesitated doing the dare. And if there was any doubt in anyone’s mind as to who she would kiss, it was wiped out the next instant as she smiled at me. It was supposed to be her dare, but I knew it was just as much mine now.
I was right next to her. She turned towards me, pulled me close, wrapped her hands around me, planted her lips on mine. Kissing my upper lip first, then the lower. Before parting my lips open with her tongue. With my lips open, she went in exploring, finding my tongue with ease. As our tongues waltzed, she grabbed a handful of my hair, pulling herself closer. Pressing hard into me. It was supposed to be a dare, but I could see she was enjoying herself too much. She did love putting a show. When we broke up, she was grinning, at me and at the astonished class. Mouths hanging open all around.
Did anyone really think she wouldn’t be able to do it? From the expressions around, one might think so. But it wasn’t that. Everyone knew she was capable of it. She could pull it off. The dare. What surprised them all, as much as me, was the show she put on. She had managed surpassing all expectations again, as usual. Her pride at doing so clear on her face.
But there was something else too, that I couldn't see before. As the bottle stopped pointing to her, there was a ripple. Like a big rock had fallen into an until then still pond. The ripple spreading through the whole class. As she pulled me close, the ripples getting stronger. And as our lips met, they went wild. It felt like we were trapped in a storm, which raged on even after we separated.
The ride was longer tonight. The weight of the pack of beer cans weighing over Aniya, slowing her down. I was happy riding the cycle slow alongside her, rather than carry the beer myself. As we got off the cycles though, walking along the trail to the nest, she threw the bag over my shoulders. It was my turn, at least for the short walk.
“Are you serious about finishing all six?” I asked.
“Are you crazy?” she shot back. “Of course not. We are going to finish all the beer,” she said pointing to the two of us. The grin on her face switching to a laugh at the expression on my face.
“You’re serious,” I said, uncomfortable at the thought.
“I’m serious,” she repeated drily, pulling me along as she sped up. “Come on now, let’s not keep the beer waiting too long.”
And that was the cue for another round of laughter. It was funny, yet we weren’t near enough to be laughing. We had to get to the nest still, and we still had to drink the beer. However uncomfortable I might have been at the suggestion initially, running over to the nest I was just as excited as Aniya, in anticipation of our first drink.
“Why are we rushing?” I asked. We were sitting in the nest, ready to open our first cans of beer. I wasn’t talking about the cans in our hand, she knew that.
Dad would let us have our first drink if we asked. Mom and aunt might say no, might argue and put up a fight. But dad and uncle would win. Maybe not immediately. Might take some time. Maybe they would have restrictions, but they would definitely give us our first drink themselves. And it might be much better beer too, for all we knew. Why then were we rushing? In the dark side?
“Yeah, they might agree. But there will be one restriction they can’t win over the moms. Wait until we turn eighteen.”
She was right. That would be the only reservation. But that wasn’t still enough a reason for us with the beer in the dark side. But then, everything didn’t really need reasons. Especially not in the dark side, in the nest.
Together, we popped open our first cans of beer. They were cold, which was one more thing to puzzle over. How did she manage to hide the beer in the refrigerator? From aunt? Aniya truly was amazing. We knew beer tasted bitter, and Aniya had come up with the solution to get over that. Drink in one go, bottoms up, she said. That was exactly what we did. Which wasn’t really easy.
“Don’t puke, no matter what,” she announced as the slammed the empty can on the ground.
She was right on time too. Because I had just emptied my can too, and I definitely was not feeling good. I was almost over the line, ready to puke, when she spoke up. Her voice was just what I needed to keep the puke in.
“You’re such a baby,” she said, punching my side. How could she hold the beer so easily? It seemed like she wasn’t affected in the least, like it was no different than her drinking water.
“You don’t have to act like you’re all fine,” I shot back. “It’s obviously just as difficult for you.”
“Yeah right, as if it shows on my face like it does on yours.”
That was her admission, that it was just as difficult for her as it was for me. The bitterness of the first beer. But she was right. It didn’t show on her face, not like I was sure it did on mine. Maybe I was just so much more expressive. Or maybe she was just so good at holding her emotions in check. I couldn’t be sure which.
“From what I’ve heard, the best way to hold the first beer is to rush down the second,” she announced. Once again declaring for the both of us. We were grinning hard. We couldn’t be drunk already, could we? With just one beer? Why then couldn’t we stop grinning like mad? What was so damn funny? And why was it so much easier downing the second?
The second too we finished in one go. Quicker than the first. Tastier. Higher. Smashing the empty cans louder. The pause shorter between the second and the third. In one big motion, slamming the empty can to the ground, grabbing the third can of beer, opening it and gulping down the beer. She was faster than me, finishing the three beers. She waited though, the empty can in her hand. For me to finish so we could slam the two empty cans together.
“And now, we litter,” she screamed, when I was had finished too. Slamming the third into the ground, like the previous two. She threw her cans into the dark woods. Demanding me to follow suit.
It was an indescribably feeling. We were drunk. Too young, almost too weak to hold the three beers we had downed too fast. For the longest time, we were silent. Fighting the need to puke that was overwhelming us. But Aniya wasn’t one to give in easily, and with her I had to be so too. It looked like the night would be spent before we could win our fight. Which was why we were delighted when we had crossed the line of victory much before the night could reach it’s end. We had won the race. And we were in the best possible state for celebration.
Songs on our lips, tears flowing down our eyes, from joy and from a feeling we hadn’t experienced before. A feeling we couldn’t give a name to. Limbs free of constraints, waving freely about to the rhythm of the songs sung in our voices miraculously more harmonious. The night joining in the celebration with a gentle breeze blowing over us. The trees giving their contribution with the bristling of the leaves in the breeze. The ground throwing up light dirt, adding to the ambience of the nest. It was a party as wonderful as it could get, with all the craziness.
The already blue world was even more so under the influence of beer. It clears my eyes even more. Allowing me the lightness I didn’t know I had. Allowing me to see the blue with even more clarity. Showing me what I was missing all this while.
All the ripples in the classroom as Aniya separated from the kiss, were concentrated around me. Breaking out from me. The blue of the night, under the beer, was all around me. Reaching out for me. As if waiting for me to address it. As if I was controlling it.
I break out in a cold sweat. I feel like I have come so much closer to the truth. Just a little bit away. I have gotten used to the blue of the white room I am in. Being strapped to the bed, connected to the machines and the tubes. To the fluids. All of them working to keep me alive. But I know it is something else that keeps me alive. I don’t know what it exactly is, but I know it is. I can feel it.
Among the many things going on, I know for certain what I have realised. The blue is real. The stories aunt told me are true. The system she spoke about has to do with the blue. The blue that has something to do with everything that is happening. With the accident. With what I am to find. With Mr D. With all of my memories. All of my life. Everything I thought was true is not, all changed by the blue. And most of all, without even realising it, I was controlling the blue.