A sappy hit from the ‘90s played over the tinny speakers. The strong guitars reverberated in, the oddest basement I’ve ever been in. Not that I’ve been in many airport basements in general but even if I had, I’m sure this would standout as a particularly weird one. 

My cup of lean and this song took me back, far from this dingy, built as-cheaply-as-possible purgatory. It seems the same taste was on my lips when I first tasted the metallic taste of my own blood, getting my ass kicked. I was too fucked up at a party and a fight broke out. The sweet numbness of the lean had spread its web over my reaction time and I just stood in the middle of it oblivious. One of the participants, a rival of a buddy of mine assumed, not absurdly, that I was in on the action. A crashing blow from his hand sent me to the floor with a busted lip. Honestly, the lean probably helped. I was totally relaxed when the fist met my face and I dropped with no resistance at all. I didn’t even spill my drink. I remember tasting something new. I don’t think I really knew the taste of blood yet. I put my hand to my face and saw red. Seeing that I was on the floor, lean in hand, with a freshly busted lip, I started laughing. High, I laughed maniacally. The post scuffle yelling was bouncing off the walls of the stucco living room of my buddy’s house. The rumblers even broke their verbal tussle to look at the high kid laughing, mouth and hand full of blood. Under the heat of their stares I took a pull of my lean, swallowing blood with the sweet drink. I heard a ‘Fucking Weirdo’ come from somewhere as I looked down and saw the drops of blood mixing with the purple of the drink, dyeing it a deeper shade of violet, much to my amusement. 

Now in this hell I doubt has ever been celebrated, even on the day of its inauguration, I again sip my lean, though this time without blood in it. I’m still the high kid, though now in an airport basement trying to get to the right terminal to return to my life, there, her, and the greater numbness that has become a fixture of my day to day. I wonder what ever happened to those brawlers in their Northface jackets and knockoff polos. If their khaki pants still fit or if they’ve put on some pounds. If they still drink coors light or if they now have some obscene tastes in craft brews. I remember wandering out to the back porch after the scuffle died down and I got, wavering, to my feet. One of the girls at the party came out to check on me. She told me she thought I was out here crying, and was disappointed to see me doing work on a fresh cup of lean looking up at the stars trying to find a constellation lost in the light pollution. I apologized for disappointing, smiling with my bloody lip. She laughed and looked at me behind her long lashes. Even in the overly yellow glow of the security light her eyes called to me. I, though, had too much of the lean sparkle and took her affection with a bashful haziness that she seemed to find enduring. A few years later we fucked. I remember her legs, smooth and tan, and her telling me to cum anywhere on her, as long as it wasn’t inside her. I think she mentioned something about seeing me in a fight years before, we laughed, though I’m pretty sure we remembered it differently. 

I saw she’s married, looks like a happy life. Better than waiting for this fucking bullshit, cheap as possible basement train at a shit airport in a shit town. The lean here, though, is good. And I guess hearing that song again is good. I’m sure I’ll be stuck in my fucking head for the who flight back, and I’ll hate it by the time I’m humming it in the customs line. 

For now, though, I’d swear no song could possibly go better with this moment. 

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