Head pounding. Throat dry. Dress hiked up to my hips and the blanket a tangle on sweaty legs. Hair knotted in clumps. This is the price I paid for a good night’s sleep.
Slowly, deliberately, frightfully, like an orc taking shape from stone and slime, I rise up hit my head on the ceiling and cursing, force myself to get ready for Muay Thai practice. Fuck, my head hurts.
I’ve never been a heavy drinker. On my 18th birthday, I took my first shots of tequila and when my best friend yelled, “HOW DO YOU FEEEEEEEEEELLLLL?!” into my face, I drunkenly yelled, “ITCHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!” into her face. I found out the next day that had I not been allergic to tequila, the appropriate response would have been, “WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”
Most people, by the time they’re my age, have multiple stories of blacking out, or at least a few go to stories about the time they “got so drunk that … “. I’ve never blacked out, I can count on my fingers all the times I’ve ever been plastered, and the next day can recount, with horror, the stupid shit I’ve done. It makes me feel like I lead a boring life. Even in social settings when my anxieties nail me to the wall and my best intentions gather in my throat until I feel like a two-bit magician pulling scarf after scarf from my mouth, a bit panicked at the realization that the jig has ended before I’ve finished purging the scarves from my throat, I never really think to order a drink to take the edge off. I’m always afraid I’ll hurt someone unintentionally by saying something I don’t mean, or worse, by saying something unflinchingly honest.
For ages now, it’s been increasingly harder to sleep. I fight to keep my eyes closed, and consider sleep a pyrrhic victory at the end of a hard fought battle since I always wake up earlier than my alarm and more exhausted than the previous day. Tonight, I put on a little black dress, headed to a bar and sat alone in the corner, drinking and watching Jackie Chan gifs on my smart phone. I consider this “trying” to be social. I proceed to drink until I feel like I’m floating on my barstool; until I’m two sips of whisky away from getting up and hugging a random stranger, just for the possibility of being hugged in return. Instead I get up and walk home. Thank god I didn’t bust out the eyeliner for this shit.
On the way home, some pervert rolls down his window to invite me into his car. I feel terrible at the thought of inflicting myself on this piece of shit, so I do the mother fucker a huge solid and ignore him. I amble, with effort, up five flights of stairs, and then climb my ladder into bed with as much grace as a kitten has clinging to the sides of a bathtub to avoid falling into water. Crawling into bed, I take a second to steady myself before realizing it’s the room that’s turning, not me.
Then, I experience a miracle. Effortlessly I fall asleep. I have just enough time to utter a word of thanks to whisky with a smile on my lips before I wake up, head pounding. Throat dry. Dress hiked up to my hips and the blanket a tangle on sweaty legs. Hair knotted in clumps. Unfeelingly the world continues to turn before I’ve had a chance to get my bearings, but it was all worth it for a moment of peace.