Then on a warm summer night, I’ll never forget it because it was the night I reclaimed my values, I was invited to a party. Normally I wouldn’t have gone, big parties with drunken kids wasn’t really my thing, but something inside told me to go. At the time I would have said it was the anger, but now I believe it was something more. The party was typical, a friend’s parents were out of town and he felt the need to exploit his house and resources to their fullest extent in the most idiotic way. Music blared and smoke filled the ceilings. I found myself in the living room amongst the larger crowd, a beer in hand and a cigarette in my lips. People shuffled in the center of the room to the newest music and laughter spread like wild fire. My attitude didn’t really fit the party but I tried to have a good time, joking with the people I knew and trying to get along with those I didn’t. About midway through the night I noticed a very attractive girl across the room with her friends. She was dancing with them, not caring if it looked ridiculous or lame. I smiled at her and she smiled back. For the first time in awhile I felt ok with everything that had happened to me, maybe all the hurt was meant for something. Then he appeared from the group of guys nearest the beer keg. Drunk and with no sense of grace or stability he stumbled over to her. As I saw the look of disgust and discomfort on her face I watched carefully, something inside sparking a feeling of protection for her. He must’ve spewed a few lousy pick-up lines before getting rejected. She turned back to her friends but the drunk didn’t give up. He grabbed the girl by the arm and tried to pull her away from her clique. I heard her shout, “What the fuck!? Get off me!” It was all the incentive I needed to make my way across the room. I grabbed the hand that held her and applied a little pressure. “Let go.” I said sternly. Both the drunk and the girl looked at me shocked. He released his grip and immediately turned to me. “Twying ta start somethin’ wit me dick?” he slurred. I paid him no attention and turned to the girl. “You ok?” I asked smiling. She looked at him then smiled at me, “Yeah. Thanks,” she said then walked back to her group of friends. The next thing I felt was the impact of bone against the back of my head. “Don’t fuckin’ iknore me bish.” It was a straight jab to the back of my skull, causing me to fall to one knee and clasp the area that was in pain. The room seemed to grow silent and the music dulled as the crowd turned toward the brewing confrontation. The drunk walked in front of me clumsily. I looked up at him with anger in my eyes as he grinned down at me. “Guess I gotta teach you a ‘ittle wespect,” he slurred and pulled his right leg back for a front kick. As he swung his leg forward I caught it in my hands and simultaneously stood up, causing him to fall backward onto the hardwood floor. Hoots and chants echoed from the crowd as I took a step back and dusted myself off. The drunk scrambled to his feet and put his arms up like a boxer weaving slightly, whether it was from stance or inebriation was unknown. I immediately relaxed my muscles and slid my feet shoulder width apart, breathing calmly and focusing. He took another swing at me and I shoved it off with a block. He threw another punch and I side stepped it. The roar of the crowd seemed to fade out to silence in my mind. Whatever he threw, I countered, never once striking back at him. I could see it in his eyes as he got more and more frustrated with me. “Come on. Stop screwin’ round and hit me!” he finally yelled at me while throwing another right jab. Without hesitation or thought I pushed his hand away from me and stepped inside his guard. My right arm shot out with all my strength and I plowed my fist directly into his solar plexus. The drunk stumbled back, clutching his chest, gasping for air, then falling to his knees. He vomited on the floor and himself before slouching into the fetal position and crying. I didn’t move, I just stood and looked at him lying there, pathetic, weak. The sound of the crowd suddenly came back into my head as they cheered and called out. Hands were patting my back and my head, people were offering me drinks left and right. I smiled and excused myself to the door for a smoke, glancing for the girl who was the start of it all. She was nowhere to be found, probably left fearing blame or accusation.