For a few months in the the autumn of 1989, there was only one place to go, and we went there night after night until the cops raided the place one too many times, and the landlord finally kicked Stephan out. The house was probably condemned, stank of beer, and the kitchen had overly bright fluorescent lights that made everyone look bilious. Zits looked like wounds. The backyard was the place you escaped to when the crush of drunk and stoned teenagers started to induce a panic attack.
The yard was still crowded. I stood on a tree stump to see over everyone's heads. the girl who'd been avoiding me saw me and hid behind somebody. You stumbled over with two of your friends. Hi, you said, your arms slung over your friends' shoulders. I'm Fil. That's a great stump.
Thanks, I said. I take it to parties.
We spent the next few years hanging out.