It was the day Derek Jeter smacked a home run off of David Price for his 3,000th hit. Or I suppose by that point it was the day after that storied occurrence. But to be honest, I was so far gone that I couldn’t have told you what day of the week it was, let alone the date. This is my worst drunk story ever. The one night when I gave serious thought to never touching the stuff ever again.
I was still living at home. Still unemployed after losing my “first real job” to company restructuring. And I had already started writing this blog. But I never wrote about that night because in so many ways, it was just too painful.
It started in the afternoon at this Southern-themed party on a friend’s rooftop. Ironic, given that by the time I stumbled out of there, the scene of drunken debauchery would have been enough to make any good Southern lady clutch her pearls in horror. But that was just the launching pad for what I would come to remember (or in large part not remember) as the worst night of my drinking life. After the party, there was barbecue and beers with a friend, then drinks at a nearby bar where I made friends with the deliciously sexy bartender from…I want to say Argentina? Anyway, my friend and I, and the guy she texted along the way, bounced around to a couple other bars, ending up at a grungy no-name pub where we played pick-up games of pool and made “friends” and (I) did some horribly embarrassing things which I luckily remember only vaguely.
But then somehow, in leaving the bar, I lost track of my friend, turned around and saw a face I recognized all too well. Swimming out of the darkness and tacky neon lights of West 3rd street, was my ex boyfriend. Not Wolf, but the one that has no name. The one that I dated in high school. The one that so distorted my view of love and relationships that even eight years later, I’m still sorting through the debris. The one that…taught me, if nothing else, what abuse looks like. Physical, psychological, emotional. And in my drunken haze, I instinctually reached out and grabbed his wrist as we passed on the street. He swung around, thinking only God knows what, and faced me.
There are better ways for this situation to play out. I could have told him off in the middle of a busy street. I could have punched him in the face or kicked him the balls, which would have been no more than he deserved. I could have walked away without saying a single word. Instead…I was nice. I don’t remember exactly the words I said, but I do remember him being surprised that I was being so nice to him. Perhaps—though I highly doubt it—he had realized what he had done to me, how horribly he treated me and understood that he deserved much less than my kindness. Regardless, I waltzed off with a smile on my face before realizing that my friend was nowhere to be found, I was alone, and had nowhere to go. I hopped on the subway, intending to find my way home (which, remember, was not in the city at the time) somehow.
I didn’t go home. Instead, the shock of seeing my ex in the middle of my beloved city hit me like a ballistic-powered wrecking ball and I broke down into tears. Horrible, wracking sobs that made me weak and nauseous and I ended up at the one place where I knew I would be taken in at four in the morning, sloppy drunk and crying like a baby: my brother’s apartment.
Later, I’d find out that that ex, who in my eyes was practically Satan himself, is (or was at that time) a police officer with the NYPD, dating some “superhot” Australian chick, and generally doing very well for himself. Not just doing well, but exactly where he had wanted to be career-wise since before I had known him. And I…was unemployed, still living at home, and crying into my bewildered brother’s shoulder as he tried to get me to explain who or what had broken his baby sister’s heart.
Why am I telling you this story when it happened almost three years ago? Because sometimes your past comes raging up to blindside you. Sometimes that past is a person who is doing really well for themselves, reminding you that at least on paper, you are not. And sometimes that blindsiding from the past repeats itself like an exhaustingly bad meme, hammering into your head, “you are here”. Until you begin to suspect that the universe is trying to tell you something. And perhaps that something is Move on.
PS. Yes, you read that title right, this is part one of a (I hope only) three parter. Stay tuned for part two!