I open my eyes slowly and I know immediately that something isn’t right. My head is splitting from the inside out, a dull achy pounding from behind my eyes. I can feel my heart beating and even just the slightly thump makes my stomach churn. What was the last thing I remembered doing? I was out all night, home as the first few bits of sun started to poke its way out from behind the trees in my backyard. I should have gone to bed but instead I remember popping a bottle of champagne with my roommate to celebrate a job promotion. A whole bottle of champagne after a full night of bar hopping? I had a death wish, and I was paying the price.
I blindly grope for my cell phone and the glow of the screen is almost too much to bear. I have to be at work in two hours. That’s not enough time. I can’t move, I can’t see. How am I going to be awake and functioning in two hours? I can’t call out of work. I’m an adult (technically). I think I’m going to barf. I try to stand up, but my body works against me and I make it to the standing position for a few seconds before stumbling backwards and plopping back down on the bed. I finally make to the bathroom, just in time.
There’s something completely pathetic about hugging a toilet bowl. You spend time in the bathroom, sure. But it’s not until you’re sick and sticking your face down there that you realize just how much you suck at cleaning your bathroom regularly. But at this point I could care less, and the next half hour of my precious two remaining hours of freedom is spent on the bathroom floor in a vain attempt to get the toxins (and seemingly everything else in my gullet) out of my body in a truly wretched way. And it doesn’t even work. I have never hated myself so much.
I almost fall asleep in the shower. I don’t want to be wet and cold. I want to be warm and under my covers. Putting on my bra and jeans feel like little knives slicing me all over my body. I want sweatpants. The whole drive to work I can’t shake the cold, and I shiver uncontrollably. I sit parked outside my bar and stare blankly. It’s time. I have to go in. This is real life, and this bar, and my people, depend on me. There are thirsty folks who want to get as drunk as I had been the night before, and it’s my job to get them there. I swing one foot out of the car and pull myself up; one foot in front of the other until I’ve reached the front door. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. All eyes are on me as I walk in and I smear a smile across my ashen face, greeting the bar with sparkling eyes that in reality just want to be closed. It’s game time, and I’m here to do my job. For me, and for all of you.