My life always seemed to be different than that of other people my age. Even when I compare my life to my older brother, my life was different. Maximus has some belief that it is because of some kind of mystical explanation. It can’t be, magic doesn’t exist. I never told anyone else what happened two months ago on my twenty-first birthday. Only Maximus knows, and I think he might need to have a reality check. I decide that I am going to forget about that incident. Nothing has happened since then and I don’t think anything will. Besides, there is something else to focus on at this moment. It is that my older brother wants to go out to his favorite bar tonight. My brother, Dominic, says I have been twenty-one for a couple months now and it is about time that I have my first drink. Dominic always wanted to be there when I have my first taste of alcohol, I have been waiting for him. We have always been close, and I can’t imagine my childhood any differently. We might be three years apart in age, but we couldn’t be any closer. I can’t wait for tonight. I sit on a bench in the park. I blow out a puff of smoke from the cigarette I have been nursing for the past twenty minutes when someone sits down beside me.
“Uh oh. What happened to you?” This voice I recognize says from beside me. It is Dominic, my brother.
“Don’t ask,” I answer him.
“Too late. I already did.” He says with a smile. When I don’t smile back, his disappears. He looks at me intently.
“Wisp. I know you. You don’t smoke unless something really has you upset. What is it?”
“The problem is that this cigarette is not working,” I say as I drop it on the ground and stomp it out with the toe of my shoe.
“They have never helped you. You can’t get the effect you want from them. I envy you.”
“You mean that I can’t get the calming effect of the nicotine.”
“I wouldn’t say it has a calming effect. Those things are bad for you.”
“I know. I know.”
“Then why do you keep trying them? You're wasting your health and your money.”
“I know.” I let out a big sigh.
“So? Are you going to talk to me or what?” Dominic says. I know what he wants from me, but I don’t know how to say it. I look up and see the sun as it floats down.
“No. What time is it?”
“About 8:30.” He answers as his arm with his watch drops to his side.
“Aren’t we going to the bar? Where did you park?” Dom shakes his head and that was the end of that. He gets up and I follow him to his truck. I’m ready to forget everything. He was right about alcohol. We load into his truck and he proceeds into the streetlights of downtown. I watch all the lights and the storefronts as we drive past. Shops were closing down for the night. There were so many people on the sidewalks. They seem to be close to my age. I guess they have the same idea as us, bar. We pull into the parking lot of a bar that I don’t know, to be fair though I have never even been in a bar. I get out and follow my brother through the front door. There are so many people in the bar already. I follow closely behind Dom until some large man steps in front of me. I can tell from his breath he already has had some drinks.
“What are you doing here?” His words slur, and I don’t respond. I look at his eyes and can tell that he has something else in mind. That is when Dom grabs my arm from somewhere behind the man. He gently pulls me over to him. And that was the end of that. We don’t talk about it, but I saw Dom smile at me. There was only one empty seat at the bar and my brother motions for me to sit there. He stands beside me. I can barely hear him ask me what I want but I shrug in response since I don’t know what I want. He says something to the bartender who nods and goes to a fridge under the opposite side of the bar. He pulls out two bottles. The bartender hands them to Dom who in return hands one to me. I watch him as he takes a long drink of his beer and then looks down at me. I guess he wants me to do the same. I bring the bottle up to my lips with the intention to take a long drink too. I can’t stand the sting of the alcohol as it flows down my throat. I swallow just before I start to cough. This is going to take some getting used to.
From his reaction, I know that my face shows my discomfort. He laughs at me. He puts his arm around my shoulder as he takes another swig of his beer. I roll my eyes and do the same. It becomes easier and easier to handle this stuff and before I knew it, I was on to my next bottle, so was Dom. We talk about nothing really, but we talk for hours while we drink. This is the best night I have had in a long time. It is good to be out with my big brother. Dominic looks down at the watch on his wrist and sees that it is late.
“It’s going on one in the morning. We should head out. The bar is going to be kicking us out soon anyway.”
I laugh, I don’t even know what is so funny. We head out to the parking lot together; it is so dark out the lights blur together and so bright. I raise my arm above my eyes to shield them from the brightness, but it doesn’t help. Everything turns white in an instant.