You wake-up broken. Your mouth is dry, your throat is raspy and your head is pounding, fuzzy. You doze on and off until you know you can no longer ignore the midday light outside, the sickening grumble of your stomach or the prior commitments made that you now need to cancel. You are heavy with guilt and regret but a faint and persistent voice swears it was all worth it. Another fun, drunken night matched with a full day horizontal, eyes closed to the life outside.
You’re missing out on the day, on feelings of optimism, hope and progress that others must be feeling now. The depression sets in like heavy fog but you won’t admit it to anyone. There is no sight to be had; you are blind to perspective. There is only a paralyzing realization that you’ve wasted one or most likely two days, put yourself back mentally, physically and emotionally for but a flash of joy in the night.
A trickle of memories play back, but nothing of substance is there and it hurts to think too much about anything. Record of your existence last night is only confirmed though your grainy photos, now in their hundreds on your phone’s camera roll or else already up on Facebook for your mum to see.
As the hours tick by you gain strength, eat a pizza, maybe a cheeseburger. Cola is heavenly. You veg out, watch a movie, or 10 episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and you see the night coming where you know there is peace. You can soon say goodbye to this rotten day and resolve yourself to the night. Where lying in bed is good and proper and does not equate to guilt. You can sleep, so when you wake you forget your folly and embrace the day with the world behind you.
Never again you say. Not like that anyway. You’ll never forget that dull feeling of despair to which there is no escape but time. That bodily reaction that you have no control over. The one that renders you incapacitated, nauseous, dim-witted, or a little downhearted.
But you do forget. You mask it with ‘hair of the dog’ or self-pity, or false bravado to friends. Then once your body has forgiven you, you do it again. All to soon you embrace the night, the comradely, the bonding, the effortless liquid friendships you love. The allure of fun is too tempting. The joy it brings is too much.
This is what you know and this is how you relax, enjoy, laugh, dance, release, disconnect, forget.
But the cost is great. You’re set back. Your laundry sits in the corner still dirty, dishes pile up next to your McDonalds takeaway bag, your house remains dirty. Your brain is shot, your body is shot and this lasts far longer than a day, especially as the years creep on. The cost is great for the mind and soul. Each liquid night you smash the puzzle that is your life: its order, motivation, direction, its purpose.
So when you raise your fresh glass for the seventh time tonight, or third time this week, remember this is more than just another night out. More than just being social.
This is a fleeting flash of glitter in your endless night. It will disappear quickly but leave its mark forever.
And as I write this I know, I’ll see you there sometime.