Designated Walker

Posted 1:57 AM by Gloria S. Álvarez in Etiquetas:

The snow fell softly, forming a mound on top of the air conditioner outside the window. Music and laughter filled the air- and one too many drinks explained the hilariously uncoordinated dance moves. She stood, escaping from the couch that threatened to sink her in; slipping out to the kitchen to get another drink. She was perhaps the single sober person in the soiree, she realized as she poured excess ice on her cranberry juice to try and pretend it had vodka in it. He entered the room behind her and opened the fridge, reaching for another beer. She smiled, amused.

"To hell with carbs during holiday season?"
"My mentality right now is in a 'fuck it all' mode, you guessed correctly", he replied with a sad smile. He lifted the can and tapped it against her plastic cup; but before she could take the mandatory sip of cheer, he looked at her and squinted slightly.
"What?", she asked, trying to seem inconspicuous.
Quickly blowing through her cover, he took her cup and smelled its contents.
"Cranberry juice, seriously?"

Unashamed, she smiled in reply. "I'm the, uh... Designated driver".
"You do realize nobody drives in New York, right?"
"I guess that makes me the Designated walker, then"
"That's more like it".
They shared a quiet and awkward smile; but soon her sober impatience made her be the first one to bolt.

In the best wallflower fashion, she avoided the crowd and witnessed, amused, the drunken, disorderly conduct of her friends. It was as if their boldness was directly proportional to the alcohol level in their blood. She liked to think she was capable to be bold enough without the alcohol, but she knew it wasn't so. Still, it was something she hadn't picked up, and it seemed the appropriate time for it had passed already, like with so many other things.

She felt his eyes fixed on her, impossible to pretend it was casual. Soon their gaze became a full-on staring contest: eyes fixed on each others, the intensity increasing with each passing second. With a smile, she lowered her gaze, admitting defeat. He smiled back, triumphant.

As she slipped back into the kitchen for some chips, he followed her in.
"Another beer, is it?"
He marched up to the fridge, but his fumbling motion made him stumble.
"Whoa", she said, quickly running to his aid. She helped him up and steadied him. "I guess this is when the Designated walker position comes into effect. Lemme take you home".
"I never took you for the type to take advantage of drunk people", he said with a smirk, but took her shoulders to be steadied.

They exited the apartment while their friends yelled suggestively. She insisted she was walking him home and coming back; but her words were drowned by the wolf whistles.

Nothing prepared them for the cold outside- it was like being slapped in the face. She took the approach of "ripping off the band-aid", and jumped outside without giving it much thought. She lifted her head to face the sky, the snowflakes melting in contact with her skin.

"This is the only time I enjoy the snow. Pre-black slush; pre-fuck up your commute in the morning... It's even pretty now". She snuggled into her peacoat and kicked the snow around.
He put his hands on his pockets and shook his head. "Jesus. I had no idea you could be sobered up by freezing temperatures. Duly noted". She smiled and with a big sigh filled up the air with smoke. He pretended to hold a cigarette and blew out warm air, the fumes dancing in the wind. They smiled and started walking.


The dangling of keys was the only sound heard inside the dark apartment. The door swung open and they both hurried inside the warm, cozy space. She rubbed her hands together and blew warm air into them, while he hurried to the heater.
"This is a lot better than that, come here", he said while his hands hovered over the heater.
A bit skeptical, she put her things down and sat next to him in front of the tiny heater. The warmth tingled her skin, feeling both painful and deliciously good at the same time. She looked up at him, he smiled.

"Look at how cold my hands were", he said, placing his hand on her cheek. The sharp pang of iciness made her turn her face, but he left his hand against her skin. Their eyes met; and she knew it was time to prove if her alcohol-deprived body was in fact bold enough. She moved forward and their lips met, the skin curiously warm in spite of the temperature. Waves of warmth traveled down her whole body. They had both found a better remedy for warming up; almost borrowing each other's air with each breath, dying suddenly and coming back to life all in one instant.

The same alcohol depravation that had made her go for the kiss was what made her stop it. "I have to go back".
"Please stay", he whispered; like he really meant it.
She looked at his eyes; they gleamed with the glassiness of inebriation. She smiled, sadly. "Not tonight. I was just the designated walker".

She took one last look at him and smiled. She opened the door, and was released into the bowels of the city once again.





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