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Intoxicating Youth

By Jessica Bowman; For The Clock
On November 24, 2017

Intoxicating Youth 

Jessica Bowman

For the Clock

jlbowman1@plymouth.edu 

Iwoke up from a fitful sleep. Restless legs were typical for me. I had inherited my mother's restless leg syndrome and shown signs from a young age. But this came complete with a pounding head, a rumbling stomach and this horrible feeling like a giant pocket of air lumped in the center of my chest. Turning over meant I could open my eyes and look at the various handles of alcohol we had downed the night before. The mere sight of them made me sick all over again.

I groaned a lot and laid in bed for as long as I could stand without food. WhenI finallywalkeddownthehalf stairs I was greeted with a sight that made me think I was in the latest Hangover movie.

Last night was a baller. I thought. It looks like we had a rave in here. I ducked under the mussed up hanging cobwebs and surveyed the junkyard before me. Indeed the floor was littered with bottle caps and candy wrappers. Every conceivable surface, yes even the top of the fridge and the stove, was covered in every kind of beer bottle or can you could imagine.

Budlight, Not Your Father’s, and Mike's Hard were among the most plentiful. We had three extra bodies as well, one on the couch and the other two on the floor. I rubbed my forehead at the daylight streaming through the open blinds. I looked at the clock on the microwave. 10:30. It was too early to be out of bed. But I couldn’t stand going without food any longer.

So as quietly as I could I tiptoed around the sleeping bodies, grabbed a can of my favorite noodle soup andlife to another, each time passed off for less. Each driver has been different, some more careful than others, but this one is... peculiar. She’s never had a car before but doesn’t exactly treat me with caution of a new driver. She drives me too fast, plays the music too loud, and takes rough back roads. I don’t mind. In fact, I enjoy these rides. But I’m getting old.

She ignores the tired creak of my hinges as she pulls a door open and flings her bags in the back seat and disregards the fact that one of my windows won’t work like it used to. Thankfully she doesn’t look at my undercarriage after she lets my hood drop too hard. She won’t see the bits poured it into a bowl. I managed to get past the initial 2 minutes and 30 seconds of being somewhat active before my mouth began watering again. Oh no. I knew what that meant. I clamped a hand over my mouth and swallowed. Hard. There were thirty seconds left to cook the soup. I could make it that long before throwing up. I glanced at the people sleeping on the floor to my side and anxiously grabbed the microwave handle.

C’mon, c’mon. I urged the timer as I swallowed once more. The bile made my tongue whither. Ten seconds left, could I make it to five? I focused on anything else but what I knew I had to do. Five seconds left, let’s get to three to be thorough in our cooking I reasoned with myself. The number glowed green on the screen and I yanked the door of the microwave open.

Finally! I thought as I left it open and ran to the bathroom around the corner of the fridge. I quickly closed the door and pulled my hair back, holding the whole grimy, tangled bundle in one hand.

I gagged but I hadn’t eaten since three hours before the party began last night. Then I had started drinking. And well...I need to learn to pace myself. Nothing came up except mucus. As I plopped on the floor in front of the toilet I suffered the experience of vomiting out your nose as well as your mouth. In fact, with zero food in my stomach it mostly came out of my nose as mucus and bad tasting acid.

I coughed and gagged hard as my body kept dry heaving but there was nothing left to expel. The horrible thing about vomiting was that so often I would dry heave and gag and cough that I couldn’t catch a breath. So in those brief moments when the phelm ran up my throat and made a trail of grossness hanging from my nose, I would wheeze, loudly. I had to catch as much breath as I could before the second wave of dry heaving hit. Which frankly always came too quickly. I swear it may be becoming increasingly more likely that I will die not by my own stupidity but because I choked on my vomit trying to catch a breath.

Even when I had finished and caught my breath I stayed a little longer spitting into the now mucas colored water. Just in case.

Have you ever tried to rip the paper off a toilet roll with one hand? It’s not easy. Not without a surface to catch it into that will create a helpful tear in the paper. I fumbled for far too long with it as the evidence of my drunkenness dangled like a ball on a chain and threatened to spill anywhere else but the toilet water. I blew my nose and shakily stood up.

Can any other word describe that experience better than, UUUGGGHHH! I had to get that taste out. Blowing my nose could do a little. I was lucky my sinuses were clogged after that so I couldn’t smell anything. I grabbed my toothbrush and fumbled around the hairdryer, it’s cord and yes, more red solo cups to get my toothpaste.

God I looked awful. I know my roommate had given me smokey eyes last night as part of my costume but I thought I had rubbed it off before bed? Unless I really was that tired. My hair was a rats nest. On good days it shone with a kind of strawberry brownish hue. Today it was darker than its natural dirty blonde. I hadn’t seen my hair that color in so long. What happened in just one night that could just wash away the years of dying it red?

At least my hazel eyes were still wide as a doe. And puffy. I would definitely need a shower come nightfall. Maybe. If I feel up to it.

A good rinse, gurgle and splash of  cold water did wonders. But I knew the headache and nausea would come back inevitably. At least I had the power of a temporary cease fire from all the booze I had consumed. You betrayed me booze. I thought you would show me a good time but you brought me a price to pay.

Once more tiptoeing around the bodies on the floor I grabbed my soup, a spoon, closed the microwave and almost ran to get back to my room. I had a new lineup of YouTube videos waiting for my viewing pleasure. And now that I had my soup maybe it would give me the strength I needed to get better. That is, if I could keep it in my stomach.

If we college students are good for anything it’s a good time. And bad hangovers in the days following. As awful as that morning had been I wished I could keep reliving it. If only it meant to stay young and beautiful, to stay with my friends, to stay impressionable and anxious and full of energy. I never wanted to stop learning, or to leave this environment without immediate rent or bills hanging over my head and instead the only vague threat of future debt that lingers.

On my bed again I pulled a sweatshirt over my gross head, propped my phone in my lap with my headphones in and reached to grab my soup on the same desk which held the handles of alcohol. The Malibu mocked me, the Fireball tempted me but promised a threat, and the empty Bailey’s shot bottles cast an ever-judging look at my disheveled self. I groaned lightly as I grabbed a jacket off the floor and threw it over the alcohol.

And still even now, I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t pass it by. Finally I know what it’s like to be young and stupid. The feeling was more intoxicating and addicting than the alcohol. 

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