Hangover Tales

I wake up in a bed that smells like cigarettes. I don´t smoke. My eyes are swollen and for a second I wonder if I spent all day yesterday crying, because that´s what it feels like. I open my eyes and stare at a white ceiling. There is a large crack right above my head, right there, and I stare at it and I see it´s not a crack it´s a cobweb that stretches from the lamp in the middle of the room across the ceiling to the left corner right above the bed.

I sit up and look around and it hits me that this is not my room and this is not my bed and I don´t really know where I am. I push the blanket back and I´m wearing a shirt that´s not mine, and my panties. When I get up I notice that I´m hungover. That would explain the swollen eyes. I have this dizzy feeling in my head that won´t go away and that reminds me of previous hangovers. This one´s particularly nasty.

I try to focus on the room to fight back the nausea by ignoring it. The carpet is clean, but old. There is a wooden wardrobe near the door and that´s pretty much it. There are a few moving boxes sitting in the corner of the room, still unpacked. One is labeled stuff, the others aren´t labeled. The bed takes up most of the space in the room. The sheets are blue and rumpled. There are two pillows. There are no curtains.

I get this weird feeling like I might have done something stupid and I feel like shit. I find my dress on the radiator and it´s still wet. I don´t know how it got all wet. For a moment I just stand there and stare out the small window. It needs cleaning. And it´s not even a nice view. The window looks out to the backyard. Garbage cans and two bikes. Maybe even his.

I think I´m in some guys apartment and I´m trying to remember how I got here, while I crumble up the dress. I´m looking for my handbag and find it next to the bed. It sits right next to the bedside dresser. I open the top drawer and see condoms and stare at them for a while. I don´t know why I opened the dresser at all. I bet that every guy keeps condoms on his bedside table or somewhere close to the bed so that when he needs them, he can just reach for them. Just like that. I close the drawer again.

Everything´s still in my handbag, the phone, the wallet, the money. So at least he didn´t go through my handbag. I push my dress into the handbag and close it.

It´s been at least ten minutes since I woke and he hasn´t shown his face and I find myself hoping that it´s a girl who´s living here even though it looks like a guy´s apartment. Or at least let him be a nice guy who doesn´t mind me leaving without saying good-bye. I opened the door and step out of the bedroom. My feet touch wooden floor and I realize that I don´t know where my shoes are.

It´s warm in the apartment. Sun is streaming in through the small window at the end of the hallway and through the open door down the hall on the left. I see my shoes near the door. It looks like I walked through the door, took them off right there and left them there, too busy with other stuff to wonder what might happen to them.

Quietly, I walk toward the door and when I pass the open door to my left, I step on a creaking floor board. I stop in motion and listen attentively, then realize that I am probably looking all crazy standing there as if someone has just pushed the pause button on me, and I relax and step off the creaking floor board.

I really just want to leave, but then I look into the living room on my left and I see him sleeping on the couch and suddenly I feel like I´m experiencing a déjà-vu of sorts and I see myself standing alone at that party at my friend Sofia´s house and there are at least a hundred people and I don´t know anyone and I stand there thinking I might just go home with one of these guys who hit on me earlier just to escape my mother and I hate myself for thinking that.

I sigh and think that I might really end up like her since I apparently did what I thought about last night and let some guy take me home. Curiously, I sneak closer to him. He´s asleep, his cheeks are slightly rose-colored, his mouth is open just a little bit and he inhales and exhales slowly. I reckon he´s fast asleep, so I take a step closer and watch him sleep and he looks all nice and everything. He must have slept on the couch all night and I wonder why he did it.

I must have been pretty drunk, judging from the hangover I´m battling. I´m glad he didn´t take advantage of the situation and while I´m debating silently if I should just leave because this is so extremely awkward or if I should stay as not to be rude to such a decent guy, he stirs, opens his eyes, looks at me and a smile lights up his face.

There is a strange pull in my stomach and at first I think it´s the hangover, but then I think this pull came from below and I find myself wanting to touch his face. Counterintuitively, I take one step away from him.

He sits up and he doesn´t have a shirt on. I really like his chest and the chest hair that has the color of leaves in autumn. He´s rubbing his face and yawns. He asks me if I want to stay for breakfast. His voice is hoarse from sleep. I say I do, surprising myself with the answer, and he gets up. He´s wearing gray sweat pants and when he walks past me and rubs his chin like men do, I want to just fuck him. He´s taller than me and he looks good and there is this faint smell of cologne that sticks to his skin and I want to fuck him right that moment.

I let the moment pass and follow him into the kitchen. He stands by the sink and lets water run over his hands. Then he splashes some water in his face and dries it with a kitchen towel. He turns and sees me and smiles and invites me into the kitchen with a gesture of his hand. I choose to sit at the table and watch him prepare breakfast. I´m not sure if I can eat anything at all. The hangover has a tight hold on me and won´t let me go. I´m afraid I might throw up any time now, when he puts a glass of water in front of me. I look up and he´s holding out his hand and I see the little white pill. I raise my eyebrow, but he says It´s aspirin and I take the pill and swallow it with a large gulp of water. I try visualizing and tell myself that the little aspirin pill will cure my hangover momentarily.

He doesn´t talk while he prepares breakfast for the both of us and I´m glad he doesn´t, because I don´t really like to talk in the morning. Unfortunately though, I don´t know where I am or who this guy is and I clear my throat and I want to ask him questions, but no sound comes out of my mouth and so instead of asking the questions I should be asking, I just watch him.

He makes pancakes from a mix and he´s doing a really nice job. He´s one of these guys who manages to flip the pancakes in the pan with this nice movement of the hand that I never quite managed to master. He´s also one of these guys who doesn´t smile at me after every throw, begging for an appreciative compliment like a dog that has managed to bring back a stick or a ball or whatever.

While we eat, we make polite conversation, like, the party was great, I had a lot of fun, how about you. His voice is still hoarse and it sounds like he did a lot of shouting yesterday, which is not that hard to believe seeing that Sofia´s stupid boyfriend yanks up the volume of the stereo every time he passes it, because with every beer he drinks he gets more deaf. It´s something I had noticed before in Sofia´s boyfriend, but curiously, no one but me seems to mind. I prefer not having to yell at the person I´m talking to, but people who come to these parties are looking for a drink, drugs and a fuck and I reckon they don´t mind as much as I do that the music is so loud you can´t hear yourself think.

Plus, sometimes I think that I´m the only person doing some actual thinking there.

So he´s leaning back in his chair and he´s rubbing his chin again and there is this pull from below and I wonder if I should just pretend to know exactly who he is and maybe seduce him and get those crazy thoughts out of my head like I wonder what he looks like completely naked and I wonder if his hands feel good on my skin and I wonder what it sounds like when I make him moan, when he says that I was pretty out of it last night and asks if we should have the talk and I know what he means. So I blush, which is something I really hate, and he laughs and he says it´s all ok and that nothing happened.

I stare at my hands and fight back nausea and I realize he´s probably telling the truth and I don´t know what the hell got into me, but suddenly I´m telling him the story of my life, how my mother bugs me all day and how I was fifteen when I got drunk for the first time and how I had to hear my mother fuck younger guys everyday since I was fourteen and how it made me numb to all things love-related and how I think that she fucked up my life and that I will never be able to actually love someone and that I drown my sorrow and worries in parties and drinks and that I thought about taking it a step further and that I think that drugs would really fuck me up and I tell him that I wonder if they would take me away from her, even though they should have done so ages ago and I tell him that I would much rather not go home and meet yet another guy she met at a bar or in a club and brought home to fuck and I have to meet him in the kitchen in the morning, watching him drink my milk, standing in the open door of the refrigerator with no shirt on and sporting a baby face that will have me wonder if this guy´s even younger than me. And it all comes out and I can´t really stop myself from telling him, even though I don´t really know who this guy is and I wonder if that´s the reason I´m telling him and at the same time I think that this will really ruin my changes of getting him into bed. Then I look up and meet his gaze.

And he´s all quiet for a while and looks at me intensely and then he asks me if I would like to go for a walk with him just to clear my mind and I sigh with relief.


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