31 Dec 2003, Miami, Florida
9:45pm EST. My cellphone rang. I looked at the Caller ID. It was Senor.
"I'm shocked you picked up."
Calls from Senor were rare. It was like getting a call from the Pope. You dropped everything you were doing and gave him your full attention.
"It's setbreak," I answered as I took a sip of beer. Phish left the stage a few minutes earlier and I sat down and looked over the setlist when I got the call. "By the way, do you remember where we were ten years ago?"
Senor paused for a few seconds before he spoke. "Yeah, it seemed like yesterday."
"And what was that blonde's name again?"
We both paused before answering in unison, "Amanda Dick."
31 Dec 1993, Westport, Connecticut
Senior year of college, Senor threw a rowdy New Year's Eve party at his family's house in a tony suburban neighborhood in Connecticut. It was going to be a rager. I skipped out on seeing Phish in Worcester in favor of a Senor party. They were wild, epic, fun, and everyone from college was going to be there.
I had spent the entire Christmas break obliterated to shreds in NYC, partying with friends from the other prep schools in the city. We were all 21 at that point, and for the first time, could enter bars legally. We finally ditched all the kiddie bars packed with high school weekend alcoholics and headed out to the really cool bars and clubs where you were carded you at the door by former NFL linemen-turned-bouncers. Add to my bender a Phish show the night before New Year's Eve, and you can guess that I was frazzled as I could have been.
I was Bukowski drunk and a lit monkey before I even stumbled into Senor's. Jerry successfully navigated the drive from Boston while we openly flaunted our fifth of Jim Beam and passed it around, chased by hits from a bowl of really bad schwag that I had smuggled on the plane from Atlanta. When I found Senor, he embraced me and quickly introduced me to a few of his high school friends. Then he pointed us to the keg. I grabbed three beers for myself and took an empty seat at his kitchen table. I randomly joined a group of locals playing Quarters. After hanging out with same people in Atlanta, all the time, for the past three and a half years, I wanted to get fucked up with people I had never met before. That's when Amanda Dick sat down next to me.
If Amanda Dick were cast in a John Hughes film, she would be the prototypical cheerleader. Blonde, pretty, and perky, she was the girl at Westport High that every guy wanted to fuck and every girl either wanted to be best friends with, or they hated her because she was prettier than the rest of them. She looked like the girl on page 27 of the latest J Crew catalogue. I immediately liked her because she drank like a fish, knew all the words to the Black Crowes songs that were blasting on the stereo, and watched The Simpsons religiously.
When I got up to go to the bathroom, Javier (Senor's younger brother) and some of his high school friends followed me outdoors. It was freezing and gently snowing, but under heavy forms of inebriation, my body had the uncanny ability to withstand hostile temperatures. As I sprayed Jackson Pollock streaks of light-yellow urine onto the canvas of white snow, Javier and the high school kids pestered me.
"Dude, you know who you're sitting next to, right?"
"Yeah. That's Amanda Dick. She's the hottest chick in Westport."
"Really?" I muttered as I zipped up and grabbed a lit blunt out of one kid's hand. After twelve drinks, twenty bong hits, and a handful of mushrooms, all women look the same.
"Her last name is Dick? Or are you boys making that up?"
They all shook their heads.
When I retold that story to Senor he couldn't stop laughing. A decade had flashed by us in a nanosecond. I never could have predicted what our lives would become. Over the span of ten years, we had embarked on a deluded journey, circled the world, and shared several of the craziest adventures possible. My life was marked, affected, and influenced by the decisions we had made and the risks we had taken. He's the only person I know who loved living in the moment more than me.
"Gotta go, bro. Have fun in Miami. Keep livin', man."
"Absolutely. Hey, by the way, one last thing..."
"Happy New Year, Senor."
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.