You Won’t Remember That Night

Steven Guzzardi
Steven Guzzardi

You will black out for the first time when you are sixteen.
A boy from your history class will look at you while you shake at a podium and your body will instantly become Temple.
You will remember High Holy Days with your dad and sneaking out to eat burgers
and bacon,
all things you wouldn’t speak of to a Rabbi.
But the two of you speak a shared language of father and daughter,
Of poets and rebels,
Of outcasts and bleeding hearts.
You place pins in maps of places you will go and hug him every night before you go to sleep.

You admit,
you have never been a religious individual,
but looking at this teenage boy feels like Holy Trinity.
Your loss,
And this boy.

You decide this will be your savior,
a Hallelujah you can taste.
You decide lust and love and any combinations of the two will all blend into a bandaid.
You will place it across your chest.

You will black out for the first time when you are sixteen.
But you will not get drunk on alcohol until you are twenty one.
The boy will be wearing a collared shirt and hug you when he walks into the room.
You do not want to let go, but there are too many people.
So you do.
And you hug the others.
You hug the mourners.
You hug the family you haven’t seen in years.
You hug the strangers who somehow seem to know you
and your mom
and your grief.
Your house looks like a graveyard with blooming bouquets placed on every empty surface.
A woman you barely know says you don’t appear to be processing,
that you are flirting with the boy
and the gravity of everything will hit.
You will hear her concerns echoed to your mother.
You want to punch her,
or kick in her teeth,
or cry, flinging yourself into her unforgiving arms shouting, “I wish you had died, or crooked politicians had died, or wife beaters, or anyone else. Anyone but him.”

You don’t. You learn to smile, accept condolences, and place a forcefield around your tear ducts.

The service will commence and you will black out.
Your brain decides it is too much and stops creating memories.
Years later, you will Google, “What happens when people get black out drunk?”
You will read, “Alcohol interferes with the receptors in the hippocampus that transmit glutamate, a compound that carries signals between neurons.”
You marvel that your body stops being able to process and create lasting memories.
Your friend will say, “That makes sense. I honestly don’t remember anything that happened last night.”
You will laugh.
You do.
You remember alcohol-filled nights.
You remember your first kiss with a boy 25 days after your father died.
You remember snow covered hills and your father driving for miles until finding a spot known for having the best hot chocolate.
You remember wanting to love a man, or really just a boy, after losing one you will always love.
You remember so much.
But you are sixteen the first time you black out.
And when your mother asks if you remember what you said at his funeral,
with all sincerity, you will say,
“No.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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