It is the pounding of my head that first awakens me. An attempt to open my eyes proves totally useless; not solely because of the pounding, but because there is also what appears to be a crusty layer of last night’s mascara keeping them sealed. I feel something warm and recognize it as sunlight – quite an abundance of it – streaming in. And as chance would have it, it’s aimed right at my face.
Right about here is where the light bulb above my head illuminates; surely, I cannot be in my own bed. My room is a cave of darkness; no light of morning is any match against the blackout shades that defend me from the coming day.
Without thought, I break open the seal of crusty mascara only to discover that my insides were, in fact right: this is definitely not my room. As I lie there moving only my eyes about, I develop a strange feeling of deja vu, but I can’t quite convey what my senses are trying to tell me. Then, when my eyes reach the far left side of my head and I discover your sleeping figure, hundreds of memories begin to fly through my brain in a manner of seconds. With that, I know exactly where I am and I close my eyes and my head begins to pound even harder.
How did this happen again?! How did we get from point A to point B? How did we go from work to his bed?
While it is usually safe to assume that the answer to this question is tequila, I cannot totally disregard every other liquor in the book just yet. So while my eyes fight the sunlight and last night’s mascara and my head fights the pounding, my brain tries to fight the hazy memories the liquor tried so hard to cover.
We have already begun drinking a little, and our contact with each other follows the same pattern as the alcohol we both pour and consume. As bartenders, we are always aware of our surroundings: six bottles in front of me, four rows of bottles behind me, him on the well next to me. As the night goes on and the alcohol goes down, “accidental” bumps into beer coolers and into each other become more frequent (and a little less accidental). We follow shots of tequila with shots at each other for this ridiculous awkward presence we both seem to posses around each other. For two people who have been naked together more than once, you’d think we’d be past this by now. But we aren’t, and as the alcohol starts to fully immerse itself through our blood streams, the bar slows down and our hearts speed up. It is about this time that both the customers and pieces of our memories begin to fade away. The lights turn on and the doors close, shutting out the common-folk, leaving only a nocturnal group of bar staff. So we all dance on the bar and with each other as we laugh and drink up the moonlight. In this moment we are young, fearless, and unsurpassed. How could any of us want to leave this bubble of euphoric inebriety?
My stomach starts to churn, and I decide to take a break from reviving the previous night’s memories – at least for now. Currently, the only thing in my stomach is what remains from last night’s non-discriminatory policy in relation to alcohol, and, (sigh) butterflies. Below my churning stomach, I notice the impending urge of my bladder, and, ironically, despite the fact that I have to pee like a racehorse, I still seem to be parched. To add to all of this, my head is still pounding and my eyes are still crusty and the sun is still shining.
But if I move – if I get up and go to the bathroom and wipe off the mascara and drink some water and take some medicine and close your blinds, it will all be over. I’ll find my way back to your bed and you’ll begin to move. You’ll shift positions until eventually you’ll realize that you are not alone in your bed and that goddamn tequila and whatever else we drank last night deceived you. It relaxed you enough to let your guard down, a thought that makes your stomach begin to churn, too.
So we’ll both be lying there, stomachs churning, quietly dying on the inside for our own separate reasons, until you decide to put a quick end to it. You will signal that it is time for me to go, and I will scrounge your ridiculously neat room for the pieces of my clothing that are lying about. When I am half-dressed, I stand up in my matching bra and underwear to look for the rest of my clothes. You won’t show it, but you’ll notice that I matched. I won’t say it, but I did it for you. Despite this, you’ll let me get dressed and leave. Because something in your pride or soulless tenement or stupid fraternity rules say that is what you should let me do. Let the pretty girl who might want to care about you and give you sex all day leave.
So I do. I face my hangover and the sunlight head on as I get in my car and drive away. I don’t hesitate to search the back seat for a water bottle while I’m driving – if I didn’t die just now, then I’m sure to survive this. I find about five half-empty bottles and grab one to wash down some Advil along with the lingering taste of your lips. To combat the butterflies and the hunger, I hit up a drive-thru on the way home. But the grease is only a match to one of those problems, and as I pull into my driveway, I realize that those goddamn butterflies followed me home. I sigh despairingly as I walk to my cave-like room, plop down face first into my bed, praying for a miracle, or anything that will cure me of this wretched disease. But as the hangover from the alcohol fades, nothing I do can make the hangover from you fade. You are the worst hangover I have ever had. And I just keep going back for more.