From the author: A hangover, and memories.
The Morning After
He felt the sun on his eyelids, and groaned. Turned his head, opened his eyes. His head ached, his tongue was dry and furry. There was a sour smell. He groaned again, felt for his watch on the side table: 6:34. Oh God. The sun shone through the window. The blind was up. He hadn’t even lowered it last night.
He clambered out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom, peed and flushed the toilet. He turned on the cold tap at the basin and drank some water.
Hair of the dog, he thought. That’ll fix it.
He went to the kitchen, reached for the bottle of vodka. He felt nauseous as he grabbed the bottle.
He put the bottle down.
What was his resolution? Maybe he could start tomorrow. Stop tomorrow, he corrected himself.
He glanced through the window at the pale light on the lawn. He could do something healthy. Go for a walk. Go for a bicycle ride.
But first, he took two eggs and some bacon from the fridge, heated a frying pan with a little butter, fried them up.
The first mouthful made him want to throw up. He swallowed, and ate another. Waited, shut his eyes. The food seemed to settle.
By the time he finished eating he felt his head clearing, his headache subsiding.
He drank some more water.
Be patient, he told himself. One step at a time.
This is the first day of the rest of my life. He laughed at himself, stood up and reached for the vodka.
No. Hang on. He put the bottle back and shut the cupboard door. Did he have the will power? Of course he did.
He put his head in his hands. That’s what she’d said last night, when she had shut the door in his face. “Tomorrow is the first day in the rest of your life.”
And then, what had she said? “I can’t see you like this anymore.”
“Like what?” he’d said.
“It’s your signature.”
“Whadya mean, shignature?” He remembered he’d been slurring, and he reddened in embarrassment.
“You’re drunk. You’re always drunk. Why are you letting the booze …?” She had shaken her head, stared at him. With a look of, God, pity.
“Ledding the booze what?”
“I don’t know.” She had closed her eyes for a moment. “Define you. You and your drinks.”
Had he driven home after dropping her off? How had he done that. A wave of guilt flowed through him. Then he remembered. She would never have let him drive her. It had been a uber.
I’ll show her, he decided. And I’ll take it one day at a time.
He got up and made a coffee. Even though his head still throbbed, he smiled. I can do it.
And surely a sip wouldn’t hurt?
Stop fooling yourself. A sip?
Okay, a drink, then. Not a sip. One drink wouldn’t hurt.