I felt his eyes boring into me. I refused to look. I kept my eyes trained on the woman we were talking to. She was explaining to us how to vaporize alcohol. The other man in the conversation was a bartender who had won a yearly cocktail competition twice in a row. He was earnest and polite. She was excited and outgoing. The man and I were both silent.
I still felt him looking at me, even though I had said nothing so far. Perhaps I interested him because I said nothing.
“How do you vaporize alcohol?” I asked her. I kept my eyes on hers.
“It’s really interesting, actually. We ordered these metal discs that are meant for ponds, but we decided to use them to turn alcohol into vapor. When the discs are triggered with high frequencies, they start vibrating, and the liquid that surrounds the disc turns into vapor!” She laughed, delighted by the science and creativity of the idea. “We want to make a cocktail using these discs, where the person drinking it doesn’t actually drink anything — they inhale a vapor! So when you hand them a drink, you don’t say, ‘Down the hatch!’ You say… ‘Up the nose!’” She laughed again.
He said nothing. I smiled at the woman and shared in her excitement, asking her technical questions about frequency and the effect a sugary drink might have on the discs.
The bartender joined in every once in a while, clearly enjoying the talk and the liquor already in his red cup. He laughed readily, easily. I liked him, and I liked her.
“So how do you know Catherine and Ned?” she suddenly asked the man.
“I play on Ned’s ultimate frisbee team.”
“I didn’t even know Ned played on a team until today!” I said. “What’s ultimate frisbee like?”
He started to tell me while his broad face grew relaxed.
“My favorite frisbee move is the overhand,” I said. I picked up a plate and pantomimed the move that I was describing.
“You mean like this?” he asked, taking the plate from my hand and imitating me.
“No, not quite. Your hand shouldn’t start so high up. It ends there, but it starts down here.”
I saw the woman who the man came with amble up to us. We dispersed, as if she had broken a spell we four were under. I turned to grab my glass from the table I had set it on, and as I did so I heard her ask him, “Are you playing frisbee again?” She said it in a voice that might have sounded friendly and silly if you weren’t paying attention, but if you were close enough to her, you would be able to hear a steely edge underneath the silliness, as if she had had to pry the man from making frisbee motions with other girls at other parties.
“Are you playing frisbee aga-a-ain?” She asked him. I saw her turn to someone next to her and say, in a casually possessive tone, “He plays frisbee even in the off season, apparently.”
I walked away, feeling two sets of eyes on my back as I did.