BETRAYAL IN THE BAR
I’ve finally recovered from my hangover. One week later. I kid you not.
I was out on Friday last week celebrating my former boss and then a friend’s birthday. It started with a late lunch and drinks, and before I knew it I was getting home at close to 3a.m, proud as heck of myself because I’d managed to put aside the mom guilt and just have fun, and so I’d done what many adults having fun do: I’d had a couple of drinks.
That white wine is going down correct! It’s like holy juice, chilled to just the right temperature, anointing my throat with each sip. I feel like my old self again, and that’s something I’ve been missing for a long minute.
So there I am, chilling with other grown folk at Brew, sipping on that good stuff, enjoying a good meal, trying to follow EABL’s advise and alternating water and drink. I think I’m proper adulting: sipping, hydrating, chatting and people-watching.
Before I know it I’ve drank a bottle of wine. I don’t know whether it’s the conversation, the size of the glasses, the number of hours or the guy on the dance floor who seems to be hoping he’ll be able to chipo someone with his Odi dance, but I somehow manage to drink a bottle of wine. By myself. After not drinking like that for over one-and-a-half years.
I should know by now that something is off when I also agree to take a shot of Jaeger, but I’m feeling all warm and confident and still shockingly sober, so I do it.
I’ve never been athletic in the popular sense of the word, but I’ve fancied my own ability to drink slowly for hours on end. In my head, I’m like a Kenyan runner: I start slow and steady. The only problem is that I also pick up as quick as they do to get in the lead and win the damn race.
And that’s probably how I end up drinking two more shots of Jaeger and two more glasses of wine at Mercury later that night. I’m still (relatively?) sober. I know this is true because I can feel how hot it is in here. I see a short babe in gym gear, knocking back shots like it’s cheat day; and another one who clearly went home to shower and change before coming out. She’s in this tight black dress with the kind of deep V that women like myself with big, breastfed-on boobs can only wear with a whole roll of double-sided tape to hold the jugs in place. She’s a proud member of the itty-bitty-titty committee. I envy her.
Another thing that convinces me I’m sober? My feet. They’ve died and risen in anger, died again and risen determined to torture me into going home. It’s so bad I can feel something like an ingrown toenail poking both my little toes, with a wave of pins and painful needles rising and falling, and rising and rising endlessly. I can’t possibly be feeling this level of discomfort if I’m drunk, right?
Anyway, I’m happy to go home and take off the shoes. And with that release comes the desire for conversation with My Lover (who was with me at Mercury). We speak about our short term hopes and dreams, he helps me make a decision I’ve been putting off, because 2.45am is the time to make big life decisions, without the inhibitions that come with daylight and complete sobriety, you know?
Saturday morning and I wake up fine. I’m hungry and thirsty, but mostly good considering I’ve had less than four hours of sleep. I play with Gong, feed her, laze around the house planning my day while she takes the longest nap; everything is good.
Until it’s not. Five hours later, I start feeling off. I feel mildly hung over. There’s this disgusting taste in my mouth that won’t fade. I want to lie down and let the feeling pass, but I also want to do the monthly shopping. I can wait to do the shopping on Sunday, but for reasons that confound me, I decide to go to Chandarana. At 6pm. Not to pick up bread and milk. No. I want to do all my shopping.
I walk into the supermarket determined to do the quickest shopping in the history of monthly shopping. First, my trolley won’t let me prosper. The stupid thing keeps pulling to the right and the amount of effort it takes to keep it straight is tiring me out and making me feel worse. By the time I get to the fridge section I want to crawl in it and die. I pick two bottles of C1000 lemon water, open one and guzzle it right there. Let the judge-y ones judge. We’ll both be seated at the right hand of our Father because you know what? He forgives.
One of the attendants sees my suffering. He offers to push the trolley the rest of the way. I’m wearing a poncho, so I decide I’ll lie and say I’m pregnant if he asks me why I look sick.
I get to the till. I’m still drinking my lemon water. And burping. Dear lord, I’m burping last night’s/this morning’s wine and Jaegers. It’s hands down the most revolting thing I’ve tasted. I’m hoping the cashier doesn’t catch a whiff as I try my best to get all my stuff charged and packed. I look up and see nail polish. I remember that my toenails look like a sangoma’s. I’m about to pick a bottle when I see the price. It’s more than a thousand bob. I recoil. I will not turn my life into a series of bad decisions.
I manage to get in the car and just as I start driving off, I remember we’re having chapati and ndengu for dinner. What punishment is this? My body needs meat, so I order very spicy chicken and chips from Galitos.
At home, I cannot explain to my nanny why I’ve ordered food and she’s cooked. I tell her it’s My Lover’s – she knows he’s a meat lover. I’m waiting for her to finish up and go to bed so I can eat the kuku in peace and secret, but she’s taking forever. My body can’t take it any longer. I serve myself and go to my room. I eat in bed. By the time I’m done, I’ve managed to kill the heff with pilipili. I fall asleep praying that Gong won’t decide to wake up in the middle of the night because I cannot handle betrayal by my body and my baby at the same time. I give in. The body is not what it used to be. I need to accept that and stop trying to fight it.