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Chapter 5 - Hangover

The sun brightened the curtain-less living room. The smell of alcoholic vomit filled my nostrils. My fuzzy tongue tasted like human feces. I rolled onto my side and into a ball. I began to feel my fully clothed body. I rubbed my stomach and reached between my legs. I was sore and raw, but I had to touch in order to understand. More intense pain crunched over my body as I realized what happened.

I cheated on Chuck.

A squeaky door sounded in the echoing hall, and bare feet padded along closer to me. I curled tighter into my fetal position.

“Oh my God!” Kelly complained. “Look what you did to my couch!” Kelly walked into her kitchen, and I watched through open slits as she grabbed the cleaner from the cabinet above the sink, and I closed my eyes as she turned to me lying in a ball on her living room floor.

“Lilian?” Kelly inquired trying to wake me. “Lilian.”

I kept my eyes closed.

“Uh, when you wake up, you gotta clean this couch,” Kelly said as though she knew I was awake and could hear her. Kelly set the cleaner down by my head and turned back to the hallway. I opened my eyes and saw Kelly’s size 26 naked butt jiggle down the hallway and out of sight.

Like a mannequin being posed in a display case, I pulled my body straight and took my position in front of the couch. After spraying the cushion with cleaner, I scrubbed with the towel Kelly left with the bottle.

A thick foam formed on the seat cushion. The promise of “new and improved mountain scent” mixed with alcoholic vomit and my eyes began to tear.

I scrubbed until my wrists and elbows were weak and sore from the motion. I wiped the towel over the foam to clear the bubbles from the cushion. Then, I flipped it over and hid the stain. Grabbing my boots and belt, I opened the front door to leave. The sun splintered my black pupils and cracked my skull. I closed my eyes to the yellow, tropical sun and began walking blindly.

It was miles to my apartment.

I finally unlocked my front door. There were holes worn into my socks and spots of blood staining them. I stripped my urine-stained clothes from my body and stuffed them into a garbage bag. I felt my way to the bathroom, turned on the hot water in the two-foot square shower. I stepped in, not waiting for the water to warm.

My pores closed instantly from the icy water. The soap stung as I scrubbed the bar between my legs. The suds were pink as they ran down my right leg, across the mustard yellow tile, and into the drain. The water warmed against my back as I began to wash the rest of my body. By the time I finished soaping my torso, the water was scalding. I turned to face the burn. My chest and stomach turned red under the pressure and heat. Only when the water was stone cold again did I quit scrubbing with the soap.

When I climbed out, I went to my closet, pulled on a t-shirt and sweat shorts, laid in my bed, and turned on the TV—my normal day-off routine. The noise from the TV reverberated off the stark walls of my apartment. Silence and loneliness couldn’t take hold of me. I stared at the screen until the evening news began,

“This is a satellite image of the storm. The color-enhanced infrared image of 1200 UTC, October 30, 1991, depicts a monster storm off the Eastern Seaboard, which is described by the National Weather Service as the “perfect storm.” In this image, the storm is at its peak intensity. The storm sank the sword-fishing boat Andrea Gail.”

I flipped the TV off.

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