The pain hits me first and the flashbacks follow. Disjointed memories from last night flood my head. I keep my eyes closed as I try to piece them together. It takes some time, but the main gist of the night begins to appear. I’m not sure if it’s the realisation of what happened or the hangover that makes be bounce up and run to the toilet.
The vomit burns my throat as it comes up. I retch until only a black, tar-like substance comes out. Even by regular vomit standards, the taste in my mouth is particularly unpleasant. I think I might have been drinking scotch last night. It’s been a few years since I drank the brown liquors, on account of the effect they tend to have on me. It’s a family curse. My father once told me that his dad went out one night drinking scotch and didn’t come home for five years.
After I finish spewing, I start shitting. The experience is not much better. I have had some haemorrhoid issues for the past few years and, every now and then, particularly after a night on the drink, things go wrong. I wipe until the brown turns red. Then I wipe some more. When I’m sure it’s only blood left I give up and hop into the shower. All I can do is wash the blood away and let the structural damage scab over.
Sitting on my bed after the shower is when I run out of distractions and have to face the night before. I look over at a picture of Jane on a bookcase and a pang of guilt hits me. Beautiful and wonderful and completely fucking loyal Jane. Could I just not tell her? Can I keep last night to myself for the rest of my life and get married and have kids and all of that shit with a secret like this? I have always been cursed with my mother’s conscience and my father’s libido.
I try to eat a banana which, perhaps not surprisingly, turns out to be a terrible idea. After a few more pointless retches into the toilet I collapse onto my couch and turn on the TV. I go straight to the cooking channels which are my favourite things to watch when I’m hungover. I normally find that I start to fantasise about the food I’m seeing and get hungry enough to eat something. But it isn’t working today. The nausea isn’t shifting at all, even watching a particularly nice looking Beef Wellington prepared.
My first indiscretion happened on St Patrick’s Day a couple of years ago. The next was the night before my birthday last year. I seem to have an issue with celebratory days. I’ve always got a bit carried away with big events, even when I was a kid. I build up my big nights out in my head and get super excited when they come around. A side effect of this excitement is that I have a tendency to either end up horribly disappointed or get caught up in the fun I’m having. When it’s the latter, I almost always end up drunk as a skunk and making bad choices.
I pick up my phone and bring up Jane’s details. I’m one click away from coming clean and ruining the greatest relationship that I’ll probably ever know. She’s forgiven me and taken me back twice but she made it clear that a third strike is out. Can I keep this to myself? Could I really do it? People do shit like this all the time. But I’m not other people. And neither is Jane. Can I do it to her? I push the button and it rings. I don’t know whether I will come clean or speak as if nothing has happened. I need to hear her voice. She answers.