BY AARON BURCH
She liked drinking in parking lots, that was my favorite thing about her. We’d go to the liquor store and buy a case of beer, or a fifth of whiskey, or a bottle of wine, or a box of wine, or sometimes even champagne, or other times a random assortment of those small, single-serving, airport-sized bottles of whatever they kept at the counter. And then we’d go to the Kmart or the post office or a bowling alley and park and just hangout next to the trunk, or maybe pace around the lot, and we’d get drunk. She said it made her feel like she was in high school, and I knew exactly what she meant. I hated high school and hated all the people who loved it and missed it and pined for those days, but I kind of loved trying to recreate things I’d never actually created in the first place. I didn’t drink in high school and had never drank out of a cooler in my trunk, outside the automotive repair entrance of a Walmart before this girl, but I liked it when we’d get back in my car and make out and dry hump, and maybe she’d slide her hand down my pants and jerk me off a little or she’d grab my hand and slide it under her shirt or up her skirt, but we wouldn’t go all the way because we were just teenagers, figuring it all out, though neither of us ever voiced that aloud. I liked it because I’d never done that the first time around, when I actually had been a teenager, and I liked it because we didn’t have to say that’s what we were doing. I liked feeling like what I assumed it would have been like to be in “high school love.”
Some nights we’d go to this strip mall just outside of town where the main establishment was this huge Chinese buffet that we always talked about going to but never did. There was a small place around the side of the building that, on Wednesday nights, hosted Keno, and then on Fridays, Bingo. We’d drink in the parking lot and then go in and play Keno, or Bingo, depending on the night, with all these people I’d never seen anywhere else in town. I’d wonder where they’d all come from, and I liked that about it, too.
We’d go and this girl would always bring this little elephant pin. She’d keep it in her pocket and then as soon as everything was ready to start, she’d take it out and ask me to pin it on her, and it would feel like attaching a corsage, or at least what I’d assumed that would have felt like, if I’d ever gone to a dance in high school and attached a corsage before.
In all these times, we never won anything, but it was still always fun and seemed worth it. I told her once that it didn’t seem like much of a good luck charm, since we’d never won anything, not once, and she just shrugged her shoulders in this cute way and smiled. She didn’t agree or disagree, didn’t try to argue. And, after how much she liked drinking with me in parking lots, that might have been my other favorite thing about her.