Clouds made up of a pungent aroma tickle the girl’s nose as they float through the air.

She plops down next to me and looks around the empty room, a juxtaposition to the housewarming party outside to kick off the school semester.

The clouds drift through chatter and a faint melody, the lyrics difficult to comprehend over the thumping bass emanating from the floor. Lovers, friends, and strangers burrow in the corner as if it were only them on this Friday night.

“Shoutout to Paul,” one of the girls sitting on the ground declares. Her sweetheart goes to work on the newly acquired cluster of green. Exchanges of commodities move like conversation. Paul, both cold and elusive, can give you what you need for a little change.

The wall facing the only source of light, which protrudes over a wall of insulation, projects images created by shadows of partygoers. The room serves as a hideaway from the rest of the party. As desire lurks for what the boy grinds, he holds a whole other world in his hands.

A world filled of bubbly gasps of air as the man next to you tells you about the fat ball of fur at the animal shelter.

“Its name is Buddha,” the girl’s boyfriend says matter of factly. He inflicts the name in a way that makes everyone in the hideaway chuckle. Remnants of other substances flow through his body causing him to sloppily compile and utter his words slowly.

“Like the religion?” his friend says, processing the unusual name. The man delivering his affection for this plump feline takes a moment to consider the question. He cocks his head to the side, a dazed expression covering his stubbled face.

Coming to his rescue, his love explains the cat’s namesake. It’s large size shows resemblance to the depictions of the founding figure of the religion previously alluded to.

Her mascara covered eyes dart around the room frantically as her heart palpitations increase. The paranoia that comes along with the clouds rears its ugly head. “Why are they talking about me?” the other girl, who had remained quiet, chimes in after people outside the wall of insulation murmur her name.

 

No one pays any mind to this, either because they do not hear or they are too far gone to comprehend.

As quickly as her fear came, a new trend is presented. One half of the lovers, the girl, begins to share her latest practice, mixing her dream fragments with tea leaves. “I do different flavors like chai or whatever. It tastes so much better,” she reveals.

It is especially helpful for college students who are low on funds. Our little conservationist explains that by mixing the two particles, less of the grown green is used while the desired effect is still achieved. Happy little tingles coursed through her bloodstream for half the cost.

It is alleged to have a sweet effect on the tastebuds—the tea leaves giving their power of flavor. She continues to describe her favorite flavors as she tosses her just long enough hair over her shoulder. As she goes on describing how smooth the tea is, her dearest interjects a long, “Yeaaahhh.”

Her bright eyes, only touched by a light brush of mascara, widen as her lover finishes his work on the small contraption in his hands. He begins to fill the end of the hollow tube.

The product which will soon be sucked up, taken into their mouths, pushed down to their lungs with an intake of air and finally released back into the universe. Some say it may take only a moment, others must play the waiting game.

“It’s not too late let me fix it,” the girl responds to her boyfriend after he confesses he put in too much. She grabs the device from him and solves the problem as quickly as it came about.

Once she empties and refills to her desired amount, she places the device in her own hands, preparing herself. A deep breath courses through her body as she reaches her dainty, pale hand out into the abyss. Her lover places a catalyst into her hand as they share a smile— as if they are in on a joke no one else knows about.

She brings the flame to the device resting in her hand and mouth for only a moment. Suck it up and in a few minutes you’ll be asking to go to the nearest fast food joint.

As clouds rise so does the mood. “I love it, I love it,” the girl exclaims. “This is like the best part of the party!”