Rage permeated the room faster than I could clasp my hands over my mouth and shade my eyes. The piano’s sheet music was still floating down to the old, scarred hard wood floor like fall leaves floating back and forth until they rest safely at their long awaited destination. It was one of those slow motion moments where everyone knows damn well that everything is moving as quickly as usual, but the senses are suddenly acute enough to take in extra information. The way Sam’s eyes bulged with euphoria and fear; my arm muscles quivering in reflex; the steady hum of the window unit air conditioner; the smell of burnt matches; the foreign taste of regret on my lips. Teddy ran outside onto the porch. No one dare go out and check on him. Instead we crouched down under the window and pulled back the curtain ever so slightly. He was standing on the porch shirtless and shivering, trying desperately to get his cigarette lit. It’s a good thing that we had just gotten back from 7-11, otherwise he would have been cigarette-less and even more ill-tempered. We sat, watching him for what seemed like just a few seconds, but was actually more like 25 minutes, before I decided to brave it and talk to him. I put on my jacket and nodded back toward my friends before leaving the living room. I felt like an eighteen-year-old draftee, forced into action, who has bit the proverbial bullet and knows what has to be done. “His life or mine,” I kept thinking. It didn’t really have anything to do with the present circumstances, but something about the thought softened the dire severity surrounding me. Probably not too distant from a soldier’s meandering thoughts. The next thing I knew, I was standing awkwardly next to Teddy with nothing much to say. He puffed away, seemingly content to let me suffer there, while I racked my brain searching for the right words to break the 6 foot thick ice. I started with “So,” but before I could say anything more, he interjected. “Dude, it’s cool. It’s enough that you’re here.” There was something sort of funny to me about hearing him say that. He always seemed like such a savage. No woman could ever have his heart, because, well, he didn’t have a heart. That sort of thing.