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Sunday, September 19, 2004

dirty martinis

i've been in a rut lately; not one that necessitates getting a winch to haul me out, but once just so deep that my momentum is keeping me in the wrong spot. just shy of center.

mixing this with vodka martinis lead to a breakdown of sorts friday night.

i was supposed to meet up with one of two friends. one was in the city, the other on her way back from a med school interview. i stopped at happy hour with my co-workers and when my flirting buddy didn't show, i figured it was time to just let loose. when the crowd dissipated, i joined a woman i work with as she made her way to the river. there's a strip of bars in my hometown. ritzy, sometimes snobby, and i stay away from them as much as possible. but i didn't care this evening. i even had on my dansko-dork shoes and didn't care. i was craving a martini.

we arrived at about 6 and started drinking. we nibbled on appetizers, but my fill was coming from my liquid meal. it was enough to make me forget i was hungry. the warm buzz of salty vodka loosened me and i met some of her friends. they were nice enough, typical teachers that wore wedding bands but flirted in the absence of their spouse, or simply drank away that desire. one was freshly divorced and was being eyed by the gym teacher all evening. he took off my shoe at one point. he wanted to see my tattoo. i showed him. he thanked me. i had another martini.

when we went to the next bar, i kept drinking. the married woman flirted more aggressively and i recall watching her slip her tongue into a co-worker's mouth. i can't remember which one because my consciousness was beginning to fail me. i do remember there was one that i thought was attractive, minus his teeth and attitude, but i didn't really care. i just loved my drink. i hope i didn't kiss anyone.

the girl i'd come with became my therapist for the evening, and i hers. we talked about work gossip, then my crush on a married man and her desire for the sex her husband was no longer giving. we called my married man at home. she wanted to thank him for his help with her car trouble that evening (which, as it turned out, was why he hadn't made it to happy hour--she'd taken up his time). she was intent on thanking him, of expressing her sorrow for making him miss out on the fun. so i dialed his number and gave her the phone. i'd never called him at home before. that was for emergency use only. he'd told me to use it if i were ever in trouble. that, for me, he'd come out to help.

as they talked, i smiled and drank, maybe daydreamed. "i'm just so glad you answered the phone," she kept saying. i was glad too. his wife knows something's awry. then she put me on the phone. i froze. "i have nothing to say. i'm very drunk."

"good for you," he replied.

my blackout spans about 2 hour's time. during this span, i left the bar, called the one med-school friend, called an old boyfriend, and talked to my parents. i remember none of this. i can only hope i wasn't kicked out of the bar or asked to leave. did i try to go after one of her friends? did i fall off my stool? my father and brother drove down to get me and my car home. i hung my head at the window the entire way back in my father's truck, the "Door Ajar" button lit precariously.

i woke up clueless, sick, upset. a flash of me on my bedroom floor, sobbing relentlessly, my mother telling me that she loved me. apparently i'd gotten home, dropped my head onto the kitchen table and just let go of every ounce of frustration or pain i've had in the past month. i cried for an hour and a half. i couldn't stay still, restless in my own state of mind. i finally passed out with my eyes open. so i'm told.

looking at my phone log the next day, i saw that i also called the married man's house a second time. the call lasted 34 seconds. perfect amount of time for humiliation. the kind of humiliation that makes you regret any goofy thing you've ever done around this person, because now, in light of this embarrassment, you are so incredibly immature.

thankfully, he called me a few hours later.maybe he'd remembered his offering to me if i were in trouble and wanted to be sure things were ok, that i hadn't in fact been "locked up." it clarified the fact that it wasn't me that had spoken to him that second time, but my female companion. i'm relieved, but certain it was probably me that had thrust the phone at her and directed her to call him. i apologized profusely, but that does so little, really. monday should be hellish.

i haven't been drunk like that since i was 16. losing solid hours of memory is a frightening thing, and i can only marvel at how the human body protects itself. matter over mind or something.

after seeing me flail about the house for hours, my brother said i was broken. i feel broken. or maybe i'm just broken in now. maybe i hopped the track and bounced out of the rut. maybe all my head needed was a good slam on the kitchen table.

these events are shallow. i refuse to read into them.


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