“Happy birthday, Rose!” I heard in unison from my best gals as we raised our shots up high before downing them. We were in a club downtown celebrating my twenty-fifth birthday and we were very close to being hammered. It was actually twenty minutes until my actual birthday, but by now, we didn’t care very much.
“I love you guys so much!” I looked at them, the friends that have been with me for over ten years, one of them for almost twenty-five with her being my older sister and all.
“I love you too, boogerbutt!” My sister, Elena, said giving me a kiss on my sweaty forehead. I didn’t feel very much in my mid twenties when she called me by my nickname. She was older than me by two years, but always acted like there was a decade between us.
“I’m going to go get more shots!” I looked over at my best friend, Skylar and her dark brown skin glistening with sweat. She took all of our shot glasses and shimmied herself to the bar.
“Is it time for karaoke?” Ciara (pronounced Kee-rah) asked. That was my other best friend. She was Irish and had a heavy accent. She had long, red hair and freckles all over her face. We all met in sixth grade when we began middle school. Skylar and I ended up going to the same one, even if we came from different elementaries, and Ciara had just moved here from Ireland. We had stuck to each other like glue, and it’s been that way since. My sister kind of became all of our big sister and we became an inseparable group of four.
“No, it’s not time for karaoke! They don’t even have one here, Kee,” I said, holding her face in between my palms, trying to make her two faces merge into one.
“Round seven, ladies!” Skylar said, handing us double shots.
“Don’t you mean seven and eight?” Elena said, taking hers.
“Details, details,” she waved a hand dismissively.
“Pa’rriba, pa’bajo, pa’l’ centro, pa’dentro!” I recited the mexican mantra we grow up hearing and saying when taking shots. “Wooo!” I yell over the music as the burning hot liquid made its way to my belly.
We danced until the club closed at three in the morning and all piled into an Uber to my apartment. We got into the elevator and rode to the third floor. I was getting my keys out when my phone rang with my ex’s name on the screen, a picture of a middle finger I had set as his contact picture after our breakup, “oh, no you don’t,” I said, putting the key into the door. I went into the hall closet and retrieved blankets for everyone. As a ritual, I packed goody bags before every night out, which consisted of a makeup removing wipe, two Advils, and an orange juice pouch, and handed each of my girls one, taking one for myself.
“Alright girls, I’ll see you in a few hours.”
“’Night,” they said to my retreating back.
I made it to my bed and plopped down, shoes and all. I finished my juice box and knocked out, only slightly hearing my phone ding with messages as I drifted off to sleep, “fuck you, Jake,” I said before I was completely out.