Aside from a couple sips of wine, snuck from my mom's glass when she wasn't looking, the first time I ever drank alcohol was when I was a bratty, rebellious 14 year old. It didn't end well.
Alissa was two years older than me, and ten years more mature. I had a huge platonic crush on her, and I would take the bus to University Park to hang out with her on the weekends. She was friends with the gutter punks, and had recently had a tumultuous relationship with the coolest of them, so I was privy to all the secrets and gossip about them.
She was tall and beautiful. She had dyed black hair and a little stud in her nose, and I mimed her 20-hole docs which she would wear over ripped tights. Even back then, as a naive kid, I could still sense the underlying sadness in Alissa, but I never really figured out the reasons for it.
Her best friend was Nancy, and I had never met anyone like them before. They were fun and silly, dramatic and deep, and it was exciting just to be around them. The fact that they seemed to like me, to take me under their wing, was an exhilarating feeling.
Her mom was out of town that Friday night, so after Alissa cooked us dinner, we swiped a bottle of vodka from her mother's stash, and headed out into the night. Between drinking the vodka, and throwing up the disgusting mixture of alcohol and pasta a few hours later, the events of that night are lost somewhere in my memory.
I do remember Alissa holding my hair as I puked, and stroking my back soothingly. She sat down on a park bench after I was done, and had me lay down with my head in her lap. The quiet park swayed woozily around me, and I vowed never to drink again. I was about 98% faithful to that vow until I was in my 20's, and to this day, vodka still makes me a little ill.
I have no idea what happened to Alissa. Last I heard, she shaved her head and moved out of California.
Read about my first cigarette.