The first time you drank Hennesey

The last night I saw you, you danced in the street because it was your first time drinking Hennessy. A man on house arrest had sent his girlfriend for a bottle, and when he screwed the top off, you shimmied across the road and asked for a taste. You said, "Can I try that?" and "What did you do to get an ankle monitor strapped to your leg?" He said cocaine. One shot or two?

He poured the liquor slowly into a red cup. You drank it in a gulp. The neighbors played rap songs from a parked car, and you held up the empty plastic and danced. You said it burned. You asked for a second shot. "Why aren't you dancing?" you asked me, then pulled me close to you. The headlights were a spotlight, and you rolled slow with your arm around me.

Everyone we knew was inside then, and you said between dance moves that there were things you'd never told me. You said you were finally happy, that you were working and living and trying new things. I believed you because I wanted to. You had eaten Korean food and mussels; now you were tasting Hennessy.

We danced in the street, and I felt lucky because you made life fun, because you were never scared of strangers, and always asked whatever you wanted to know. I was in journalism school then, and I knew that you had skills no Ivy League could teach. I asked you to tell me the things that you had never told me, but you gave me only hints. I tried calling you later, but you never answered — not that weekend, not ever again.