*We do not condone underage drinking! If you’re planning on drinking please be safe and responsible. These stories are for entertainment purposes and tips to avoid these struggles only.
It was sophomore year. It was early enough in the semester when the weather was still nice and people weren’t plagued with assignments. The time was promising and full of so much hope. My friend told a couple of us about a private house party from a friend she had. We were all pretty excited and we couldn’t wait to go.
This was a big-ish moment for me because the idea of going out made me feel uneasy. Going to a predominately white school after being in schools where everyone looked like me was a rough transition. Especially when I got the idea of thinking I might be taken advantage of because I’m black or be labeled “exotic” because I was going to be someone’s first black girl encounter. Moments like these stopped me from going out, but not from having some fun in the dorms. Over time, I eased myself out of my worries and fears and tried to put myself out there more.
The house wasn’t too far off campus but we still had to remain discreet because of the neighbors. Oswego Police were on high alert and the party host made it clear that he didn’t want to get in trouble. That being said, that set the tone for the party. Before entering the party, people were marking hands in case people were gonna leave and come back. The handmark was an “H” that stood for Harambe (RIP Harambe). Another guy next to the hand-marking guy also was giving out jello shots for Harambe.
I swear, the more I’m retelling this story I feel like I’m dating myself but it’s okay. It was a cultural marker. Okay, lost my train of thought. Back to the story. As I was saying, we had to pay our respects, so we took some shots in Harambe’s honor before going into the house.
The party just started so not many people had arrived yet. It felt kind of dead, but not the bad dead of a boring party, just early. So my friends and I kept to ourselves and just hung out with one another. As time went on, more people showed up and the party really picked up. People were dancing, chilling in the kitchen, or downstairs vibing. I ended up talking to two new people and we were all taking shots and just enjoying each other’s company. I was progressively getting drunker.
It was at this moment when I just found my friend Chelsea after not seeing her for several months and started talking to her, that I heard the party host yell out “THE COPS ARE HERE.” I felt the room cave in on itself in a slow-motion fashion as people around me started booking it. People were moving so fast and I didn’t realize why at the time. Someone had to push me to get to the front door. In my mind, I was like “Oh shit, this is serious, huh. I should follow the crowd.” I was making my way out of the kitchen when a girl bumped into me. She said, “Hey, could you hold on to this for me?”, handed me a half-empty bottle of peppermint schnapps and a Hershey’s chocolate syrup squeeze bottle then immediately left me before I was able to say okay. Because I felt like it was my duty to help out this stranger, I held her things on my way out.
I was struggling to get down from the steep, curved stairway to get downstairs while I was hanging onto this girl’s stuff. It was at that moment when I made it down with both items intact that I looked straight into the eyes of a cop at the front door.
Fear was on my mind as thoughts were running through my mind. “Fuck, I’m underage with a bottle of alcohol in my hand and I’m black so it’s even worse. Oh, man I really don’t want to call my mom about being arrested. She’s gonna think so poorly of me and then my whole family will catch on because all they do is gossip. This is gonna end so terr-”
“Hey, you should put down that bottle.”
That one phrase put me out of my spiraling thoughts because I thought I misheard him. I hesitated a little as I slowly put down the bottle. Then I asked, “should I put down the chocolate syrup, too?” In my head, I thought it was a valid question because I didn’t have a need for it and I already put down the alcohol.
The cop looked so done with me and sighed “yes, the chocolate syrup too.” I put that down very fast and happily skipped away, searching for my other friends. We had all gotten separated and were frantically messaging each other to find each other’s location. I decided to stand by a tree and hope my silver hair would be a good marker to find me. As I patiently waited for a response, I noticed right in front of me a black guy, not much older than me, getting arrested. He was trying to wiggle free from the cops’ clutches and the cop pinned him down on his car. Fear went through my body thinking “wow, that really could have been me.”
Around me were crying girls that were friends with the guy getting arrested. In my nature, I walked over to them to try and console them. One of the girls said her dad’s a sheriff from Long Island and could get the charges dropped if need be. I didn’t stay with them long because I needed to find my friends, but I do hope they figured out something.
We got almost everyone together and panicked because we couldn’t find the last one. We learned later it’s because she said she wanted to stay incognito and stay undetected by the cops. But she didn’t tell that to anyone beforehand, making us worry more than we should. Eventually, we trusted her to figure her way back home and the rest of us walked back to our dorms.
In the end, we all made it home in one piece. I also was given a pizza but was too drunk to eat it. It was thrown away and I was sad. I am never against cold day old pizza. Makes it better, to be honest.
As all party stories go, the five of us told each of our perspectives of what happened at the party. As I explained my part, I found out the girl’s name was Crystal and she was giving free peppermint shots with chocolate syrup as a chaser. It was like a desert shot of sorts. From my story being told by others, I learned that it got to the party host and eventually to Crystal. She told me she was sorry for putting me in a bad position. I said I forgave her but I could never forget a moment like that. Granted, I could have just put down the stuff but I thought she needed me for help.
So that was one of many weird nights out I’ve had while being in Oswego. Crazy to think that I’ve had weird moments other than this one but this was crazy in its own right.
From this wild story, there are some key takeaways I want to express:
For all of my women of color out there, do not let these fears stop you from living your best life. We’re great and powerful for a reason.
Even if you’re not in the soberest of mindsets, you’re still accountable for your decisions.
Not answering your phone when everyone is scattered will only increase panic. If you want to be alone, stress it once in a text and people will understand. Ignoring them is rude and will make everyone else more worried.
Enter and leave a party or function with the same amount of people. Leave no woman behind, okay?
It’s good to tell these stories to people because they also provide lessons on what you should and shouldn’t do in situations, and how to make sure your friends don’t do the same.
Pizza should never be wasted under any circumstance.
Don’t trust any girls named Crystal. I’m kidding. Sort of.