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The throaty beats of Derrick’s drumming and the gleaming melody of Kaushik’s electric guitar greeted me as I stepped into apartment 6. Yvonne, standing by the door wearing a hat and a black off the shoulder shirt over a white lace camisole, slid her arm around my waist to give me a hug. I introduced myself to her best friend sitting on a chair, who wore a flowery tank top and a flared ponytail pulled to the side. I had on a red top under a black collared jacket cut at the waist, with teal and black khakis and ankle-high combat boots.

David’s in the back, Derrick told me over his drum and then called for David, who yelled back from the bedroom the three guys share. I step over the amp cord and walk into the room where I see David and Talia sitting on the floor with cups by their feet. Leaping up onto his feet, David grabs me into a hug and asks how I am. I reply, great! As he carries me up and slings me over his shoulder, laughing and kicking.

Back on the ground, I greet Talia, a cousin of David’s I’d met last night, or rather earlier that morning. Naomi, Talia’s younger sister who goes to UCSD, appears from the restroom and sits on the arm of a couch as the two girls, Yvonne and her best friend, also come in. The music from the living room suffuses the room dimly lit in warm colors, reflecting David’s red bedsheets. Christmas lights hung from the top frame of a bunk bed, a light-up Santa face smiled over one of the faces of a movie poster.

The music pauses for a moment and we clamor for more before Kaushik comes over to the door of his bedroom, comments that there’s too much estrogen and resumes jamming with Derrick in the living room. We girls talk about Los Angeles, where some of us are from and where two of us will be moving to, after college. West Hollywood, we agreed, is a wonderful place to have a great time, where the restaurants and clubs stay open past ten or two, where there is so much to do.

David comes back in with a cup of red wine for me. He is drunk and joyous, stretching out his long legs on my lap. I give his foot a squeeze. Easy conversation passes amicably, then another outburst of motion: David leaves to get more wine, and Derrick enters, sits on the leather desk chair. We look up at him as he talks from the floor and his eyes are smiling when he lowers himself onto the floor muttering, I don’t feel equal. We sit Indian style.

A tall and gaunt guy wearing athletic clothes then appears who I’ve never met, but he sits down too and he’s got a turquoise blue pipe and plenty of ganj. Kaushik and David come back in to a full floor, David wedging his cream corduroy legs between me and Derrick. Kaushik sits on the chair, towering over us but nobody minds.

David’s drunk and the word we’re using to describe him is belligerent. Charming belligerence is a muscular guy not accustomed to his own strength with a tendency towards clumsiness. We’re passing the pipe around and I finish my glass of wine.

Kumar, a short and dark neighbor with long, oily black hair sweeping into his face, joins us a little later and the conversation turns towards music, the clique-iness of Biko, the pyrotechnics of Rammstein.

I talk with the tall and gaunt guy and find out we have some things in common, went to high school around the same area. People from Los Angeles tend to find each other.

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February 2011

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