Why do I keep doing this to myself? It’s a question I’ve asked myself hundreds of mornings, but I never seem to address. This morning will be no different.
My head is pounding and my eyes sting. I don’t want to open them, but the horrendously bright morning sun doesn’t let me have my way. Christ, this room is a fucking mess. I wonder whom it belongs to.
Suddenly I become conscious of the body pressed into my bare back. A pale arm hangs limply over my naked hip; our legs are intertwined. The morning sun bursting in through the large, curtainless window is hot and we are both sweating. I gingerly disentangle myself from the sleeping stranger and sit up, swinging my legs around to put my feet on the floor. Right into a puddle of vomit. Great. I assume it’s my own, but I can’t be sure.
I dig the heels of my hands into my burning eyes, feeling the throb of my pulse against my eyelids. A dull reminder that this is not a dream. I am awake. Where am I?
I find a t-shirt within arms reach and wipe off my feet with it before throwing it over the brown mess of sick on the already dirty carpet. It can be someone else’s problem now.
A wave of nausea washes over me as I stand up. I take a few steadying breaths. What did I do last night? What should I have been doing? The empty bottles and half-rolled bills give me some idea.
None of the clothes strewn around this small, dingy room seem like my own. All the same, I grab a wrinkled black t-shirt and throw it over my head. The motion is painful. It takes effort. A pair of tattered grey jeans seem like they would fit well enough, so I step into them. They’re too big and I’m not wearing any underwear. I don’t care. What day is it?
I glance back at the sleeping figure on the single bed. The morning sun reflects off her glistening breasts. She seems beautiful. I don’t know her. What time is it?
Shuffling slowly out of the room, I find the bathroom. I only just realize my insistent and painful bladder. After relieving myself, I sit on the cold toilet seat much longer than is necessary. I contemplate throwing up. The thought alone is tiring.
The reflection in the mirror should frighten me, but I’m used to it. My eyes look sunken. I look like shit. I stare at myself, daring the sallow figure I see to make the first move. “Fuck you,” we both growl at each other. Our voices are pathetic. I can’t look at her anymore, so I leave.
By some miracle I find an item of clothing that actually belongs to me. My black leather jacket is in a heap by the door. As I bend to grab it, a rush of blood and alcohol and god knows what else surges to my head. It takes a few moments to recover. I notice that the dry erase board tacked to the scratched wooden door has dicks drawn all over it. I laugh in spite of myself.
The living room is too bright, too. It hurts. The few pieces of furniture in here are covered in stains and burns. There are ashes and bottles all over. A shirtless man in snoring loudly on the couch. I don’t know him either. A scraggly, yellow-eyed cat stares at me from under the coffee table. He is sneering. I don’t blame him.
I swing my jacket over my shoulders and find my phone in my pocket. I’m surprised I still have it. It begins buzzing, so I answer it.
“Hi, baby! I missed you last night. Did you finish that paper you were writing?”
“Yeah, I…yeah.” What paper?
“That’s great! I’m proud of you.” The voice on the other end is warm and cheerful. I can hear her smiling through the phone. It offends me.
“You wanna grab some coffee before class? I’d love to see your beautiful face.”
“Sure.” I immediately regret saying this.
“Okay! Meet you at the café in 20. I love you!”
I notice a not-yet empty bottle of Jack on the floor next to what I think are my shoes. I grab the bottle as I lazily step into my shoes without untying the laces. I take a long sip as I walk out the door.