When I look back on these years a decade from now, it won't be faces I remember, and there will be no awkward moments of comparing our chins to our younger selves. I will remember you by inanimate objects; glasses, bottles, bridges, photos I took late at night on the tops of hills with the city lights underneath us, abstract shots of architectural details you mailed me. Shoes. I have so many photos of shoes. This is more us, these props, this is what our lives actually looked like,let's remember that. It will remind me of the deer that ran across the yard, or the billows of smoke from the grill while we stood around with affable strangers, and you and me in particular we let our egos run rampant, but that's why I love us.
There are two reasons to drink bourbon; 1) because you hate yourself, 2) because you love yourself. It is a drink for egos, deflated inflated or transcendent. You cannot feel apathetic about yourself when drinking bourbon. The drink demands you instead feel apathetic about other people, seeing them only as orbiting spheres to your own center of gravity. Hence, you must have a very strong opinion about your own material makeup, and you have very little control over what direction that opinion will head, but it will be the truth.
They call the part of bourbon that evaporates from the barrel the Angels' Share, and the liquor that is left soaked into the wood of the barrel is the Devil's Cut, and so I think logically the part you actually end up drinking should be called the Atheist's Friend. Because it will make you talk about politics, and gossip about people you know, and bond with strangers over the demise of the Western cultural empire.
The stuff we put in our mouths last night tasted like banana bread, walnuts, fall leaves, grilled meat, cherry wood, lit cigarettes, backyards in Brecksville when we were teenagers, law school lectures, business cards soaked in wine, flooded caves, long drives in Southern Ohio, hot winds coming across deciduous forests in August, candlelight, and wood, so much wood, wooden chairs and decks and tables and baseball bats and futon frames and fence posts and garden walls and broken branches and logs fallen across creeks, all distilled into multiple shades of gold and brown and red. There was only one unfortunate choice, which smelled like mouthwash and tasted like cheap gum. I dumped it out immediately. Turns out you have to make mint juleps by hand, they cannot be bottled. Which is pretty much true about anything good.
I think my favorite part about the red gold liquors are how hot bright they make the blues and greens appear.
After the serious intensely decent and friend affirming drinking and conversations, I ended up in a car headed to the Mayfield Panini's for nightcaps of cheap beer and cheap humanity. The Mayfield Panini's, it turns out, is the distillation of 7 different kinds of evil. Laura counted 9 men with earrings. I counted 6 girls I was pretty sure we could convince to make out with each other for drinks. There was not a single person in there who was dressed in any kind of fashionably acceptable way except for one cute older Jewish couple who sat in the corner, obviously on a J-date. As we left, Lou bellowed out a Hall and Oates song that was definitely not playing, and the entire bar looked at us like we were splinters they had been afraid to take out and now they were relieved we were just growing out on our own. Then, completing our juxtaposition of adults and college kids, we went through Taco Bell and spent 30 dollars.
We stumbled home after close, and sat on the cement garage floor eating tacos while Andrew sang us a song with a cartoon lisp, and there was much revelation about how we are the best sort of people, and how much I'll miss those boys, because we are the people who drink bourbon out of love for ourselves and only stop to think about tomorrow just enough to not fuck it up completely. Though honestly, the tacos were a bad idea. 30 is just old enough to make sure you wake up on time, but apparently not old enough to remember to bring a toothbrush in your purse. I should have thought to wash my mouth out with that mint mouthwash bourbon. At least there was a fan in my face in the morning.