The dull ache pulsing on the top edge of my eyeballs woke me up long before I ever opened my eyes. I finally had to stir once my mouth became so dry I thought my tongue would crack and bleed. The late afternoon sunlight pierced through my blinds catching the dust floating around my room.
I brushed my matted hair away from my face. The drool from my mouth had effectively pasted it to the corner of my lips. As I gathered myself I realized I was still wearing all my clothes from the night before. ALL OF THEM. The layers of clothes i’d carefully chosen the night before now felt like a straight jacket that became even more twisted in my sleep.
I rolled to the right and swung my heavy legs over the edge of the bed and found relief when my feet landed on the floor without my legs buckling. With my first few steps my feet were met with uncertainty and piles of clothes. I just cleaned last weak why did it already look like a tornado tore through my room?
As I walked down the hall I felt the dirty carpet under my feet. We should clean this. We should clean everything. It all feels so heavy. It might be easier to burn the apartment down.
When I got to the bathroom, I struggled to unbutton my pants. EVERYTHING was going to be hard today. While I knew I had no one to blame but myself, it was easier to slump down on the toilet and bend over myself and groan like a victim of some sort of unforeseen tragedy.
The dog jumped up and pushed the door open with his two front paws. He did not want to sleep with me last night. He doesn’t like when I drink. No one likes when I drink. Not even me. It always surprises me when the dog can tell I am drunk. I am not a mean drunk. Not to my animals, anyway. But they don’t like drunk me. Maybe it’s the erratic foot patterns. But honestly, sober or drunk, they’re always erratic foot patterns. If my own dog doesn’t like to curl up next to me after a night in a Maker’s Mark bottle, I am not sure why I ever expect a man would like my company either.
Even the toilet flushing feels abrasively loud this morning–er, afternoon. As I walk to the sink and look at my reflection through the dirty mirror. I can see what the dog sees. My make-up is smeared halfway down my face. I look like a zombie. As I pull my hair back I realize I have a large cut on my face. I search my memory for an explanation but nothing rises up. I must’ve fallen.
Falling becomes common place in the life of a disabled person. When you become falling down drunk on regular occasion its easier to blame my fucked coordination rather than try to consider that maybe I have a problem. I mean, I fall pretty often when I am sober. Its not the booze, its the palsy.
I begin to undress when I get back to my room. First my shirt and then my undershirt. I struggle to unhook my bra like a 13 year old boy trying to get to second base. When I was younger I used to find comfort in waking up with all my clothes. I didn’t have to wonder if anything sexual or non-consensual happened. Now when I wake up fully clothed it reminds me how undesirable I have become. I’d be lucky to get groped by a stranger, it would be the most action I have seen in months.
Everything feels swollen as I try to peel my tight black jeans off. In my drunkeness I probably peed a little bit. I can’t wear these pants again. As I bend down to pull my jeans off my feet I notice more bruises up and down my legs and a cut on knee. I took a pretty big fall, apparently, maybe a few. Nothing I haven’t seen before. But I cringe to think about how long these marks will stick around on my body as physical reminder of what a piece of shit I am.
On a positive note, maybe it will keep me from drinking. I remind myself to remember this horrible feeling. Remember how awful you feel. Remember the pangs in your head and the dryness in your mouth. Alcohol is poison and this very moment is all the proof and reminder that you need.
As I open my dresser drawer to look for a shirt I feel nausea sweep over me. I can almost hear the cold sweat push out of my pores. I turn to run back towards the bathroom but my feet, as usual, do not get the message from my brain. I fall into the door jamb sending shooting pain up my shoulder. Another fall. Another bruise. Another reminder of a garbage person.
I regain my balance and make it to the bathroom just in time to barely make it into the toilet. I don’t have time to put the seat up and my insides splatter in a vague trajectory. Even if I wasn’t hungover, having my face this close to the dirty toilet would have made me throw up everywhere. Yep, let’s burn the apartment down. Not worth it.
After my stomach settles and I struggle to stand up, but as I do I catch myself in the mirror again. Still shirtless, I wonder how people love themselves and still live like this. And then I realize they don’t.
I turn the water from the sink on and wait until its ice cold. I lean down and stick my mouth under the faucet making grotesque gulping noises. I can’t swallow fast enough. The water rushes past my lips and its the only thing in my world that feels good. I begin to slow my drink as my hair begins to fall in my mouth. I didn’t have enough strength to hold it back and hydrate.
I stand up straight and turn the water off. I take extra care not to make eye contact with myself in the mirror. I’ll avoid that conversation with myself at least one more day. I walk down the hall and into my bedroom past dresser drawer I left open.
I pick up my sweats from the day before and sit on my bed for balance as I pull them on. I’m not even going to worry about a shirt. That’s one step too many. I untangle and straighten my comforter just enough to crawl in bed and cover my bruised body. This is my cocoon where I will regain my strength.
I grab the eye cover hanging from the corner of my headboard and pull it over my eyes. It’s easy to convince myself that if I can’t see the world, they can’t see me. Just as I am about to drift back into drunk sleep I hear the whimper from the floor next to my bed. I lift the covers and motion for him to jump. He does. I curls up with his back to mine and we both drift back to Nothing.