Two mornings ago, I awoke to find Mr. Hangover banging on my skull with a ball peen hammer. I didn't recall inviting him over and when I said this out loud, he reminded me of a few details from the previous evening. Really, I had to have that one last glass of wine? And then I did a shot of vodka? Really? "Yes, you did!", he replied, giddily, as he banged away in a sickening rhythm. What a stupid woman I am. I rolled over and pressed on both sides of my head to keep my brain from sloshing around too much. Just as I was beginning to think to myself, well at least you're not nauseous, Mr. Hangover kicked me in the stomach. Oh no, the Mr. Hangover special, the supreme double-header, the package of all packages; prepare for hours of self-induced physical and mental torture.
I had no choice but to crawl out of bed and feel my way along the wall to the bathroom. "Just don't look in the mirror", I told myself. Ohhhhhh wowwww. I couldn't help but glance up quickly and what I saw was just horrible. I didn't know my face could look that pasty and bloated, nor my eyes that red and rheumy. I've seen car crash victims that looked better than I did at that moment. My stomach heaved and before I knew it the vomiting and profuse sweating portion of Mr. Hangover's special began. Misery, agony. Screw you, Mr. Hangover! Screw me, for inviting the bastard over. Wait a minute...what time do I have to go to work? I hovered over the toilet bowl, trying to tie up my hair so I didn't get puke on it. What was on the schedule for the day? Slowly, it started coming to me that I hadn't set up any morning appointments, but the afternoon was packed. Dammit. Maybe Mr. Hangover would only be staying through the morning hours. Sometimes he's almost human and he hits you hard, but then clears out for the rest of the day. I decided that I should go downstairs, make myself a cup of tea and see if pretending that Mr. Hangover wasn't there would make him go away. I'm a big believer in denial. That's probably what got me into this state in the first place. I remember that I was talking on the phone to my friend Mary last night, which is always hugely entertaining and we are usually imbibing cocktails while chatting. Feeding our addictions together is a favorite pastime. At some point, I lost track of how many times I stumbled into the kitchen to refill my wineglass and that would be mistake number one. Mistake number two was not listening to that little voice (why can't it be a screaming, loud voice?) that says, "are you sure you want one more? I mean, you already staggered down the staircase and there is a slight slur to your speech?". No, I chose not to listen, in fact, I laughed it off with the optimistic infallibility that goes along with excessive alcohol intake. You know, when you feel like nothing can touch you? I won't be entertaining Mr. Hangover tomorrow! That bastard hasn't bothered me in a long time and I've been worse off than this! There's the denial portion of my evening's chain of bad choices. And for mistake number three, for some reason I felt the need for a shot of vodka, taken in a jelly jar. A nightcap, of sorts. I think that is when Mr. Hangover tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that he would be shadowing me the next day. Mmmm. It's official. I hate myself.
With a cup of tea in hand, I made my way to the living room sofa and gently folded my fragile body onto it. I had taken six aspirin, though my feeling was that I could take the entire bottle and the headache still wouldn't go away. The ball peen hammer was pounding with a determined, predictable, wince-inducing pattern. I thought if I could just drift off to sleep then maybe when I awoke, the pall would be lifted. However, every time I shut my eyes, Mr. Hangover would show me a series of flash cards that had all of the stupid things I had said the night before written on them. In fact, he had flash cards that reminded me of every problem in my life. This seems to be a little treat that he saves for the over 35 crowd to experience. You could call it a compilation of every fuck up in your life. Suddenly, I was completely overcome with waves of paranoia rolling over my body and soul. I was suffocating on my own paranoia. And to top it all off I had a really bad Aerosmith song playing on a loop in my head. Two sips of tea later, I was running outside to throw up on the freshly mown lawn.
Just as I was coming back inside to rinse out my mouth, my husband came downstairs and took in my condition. I noticed a faint smile on his lips and I felt a sudden urge to back hand him across the face. Good thing I was too weak for any kung fu moves this morning.
"You were in rare form last night", he said as he poured himself a glass of iced tea, " Hangover?".
"Yes", I replied in a thin voice.
"Maybe you should drink a beer and see if that makes you feel better?".
"Maybe you shouldn't suggest any random cures for my current condition!", I spat back.
With a shrug and a chuckle, my husband shuffled back upstairs and soon I heard the bath tub filling up. I transformed all of my feelings of misery into anger and hatred toward my husband, because he felt fine this morning and I didn't. That didn't last very long, because frankly, it was too exhausting and I didn't have the stamina for intensely evil feelings.
Shakily, I sat down and tried some more tea. It seemed to go down a little smoother this time. I drank a few real gulps and then I realized that the headache had begun to ebb. Could it be that my torture was coming to an end? I looked at the clock and realized that I had about an hour and a half to pull myself together and make it to my first appointment on time. For the first time so far that day, I was sure that I was going to make it. Holding the banister, I delicately ascended the stairs and when I reached the top I had a moment of true clarity. I said it out loud in a strong, clear voice. I am never drinking that much again! From behind me, I heard the soft clap of the screen door closing and I heard Mr. H. say, " How original. I'll see you next time." Smug bastard.