Sixth-grade graduation wasn’t a big deal, but felt like one. We were moving on from elementary school to middle school, a demarcation that many institutions don’t even have. We felt so important, at age 12 – like we’d reached the top of the social pyramid at our little school. We were high on the achievement of it, paired with the anxiety about splitting up and going off to middle schools where our entire mental database of social experiences up to that point could mean nothing in the face of new, shifting dynamics.
We didn’t get drunk at the 6th-grade graduation, because, well, we were 12, and it happened during the daytime, supervised by teachers we'd known since we were 4 years old. But the energy crackling between us did have a drunken fizziness to it, that disinhibiting sense of “this could be our last chance” and “will any of this matter tomorrow?”