The Party

by sagire

This short story is based on the following writing prompt from reddit:

Describe someone socially anxious’s attempt to go to a party, in the style of a Herculean epic.

Nate mustered his inner strength, reaching his trembling hand towards the doorbell. Hearing the voices from inside his thoughts quickly drifted, I could still head back home. Shawn would probably miss me, but I’ll tell him I’ve been throwing up all night. Reality jumped back when he heard that voice, like a goddess calling softly from the heavens, it was Jen. He could not turn back now, he could not bow down to his own cowardice, this was no time for regrets. His hand, as if forced by a higher power, reached out and confidently rang the doorbell.

As the door gave way to Chad’s smiling face Nate was instantly filled with regret.

“Hey buddy!” Chad yelled raising a red cup filled with warm beer. “Welcome to the party, hey everyone! Chad’s here.”

Nate stepped through the door gazing at a line of unfamiliar faces, searching for an ally, where was Shawn when he needed him? With no easy escape in sight he would need to introduce himself now. “Hello everyone”. Hello? Who the hell says that?

To Nate’s great relief no one had noticed the blunder, the awkward introduction was returned with muted replies and the nodding of heads. He was now free to begin the search. Desperately he journeyed through the house, avoiding any eye contact, searching for any sign of Shawn.

He traveled through the living room where the booming voice of a giant was recounting the stories of his intramural ball hockey season. He found himself out in the backyard where a song, about a wondrous wall, was being played by a fair haired bro. The kitchen, filled with the aroma of the best cheeses imported across the world, was filled with hungry eyes focused on the pasta in the pot.

He had flown through each room like a shadow, fortunate enough to have avoided any type of contact but still no sign of Shawn. As he arrived at the bottom of the stairs he gazed up at the second floor where he heard the hushed sound of intimate conversations sprinkled with light laughter. Even he would not be able to move from room to room, up in those close quarters, without being noticed, without being questioned.

As the bathroom door gave way to a familiar face relief rushed over Nate.

“Hey Nate! You actually made it out tonight.” Shawn said with a smile. “Jen was actually waiting for us upstairs.”

Nate found himself smiling as he followed Shawn up the stairs but he didn’t know why. He had been expecting a break, a little bit more time, before having to face his next and most difficult challenge.

As they entered the dimly lit bedroom Nate could feel his heart pounding, trying to escape from his chest. Jen and Niomi sat on the bed giggling as they looked to the door, Nate found himself examining the poster on the wall, a quiet looking village – if only he could escape there. But then, mustering his inner strength he turned to look into those dark green eyes and managed to stammer: “W-What are you two doing up here?”

“Waiting for you.” Jen moved to the edge of the bed with her coy smile. “So we could play a game of truth or dare.”