It was a late summer day in September, 1995, when I decided to grow up. I was twenty nine. I had been separated two years previously from my first spouse and when not in “dad mode” (we had joint custody and equal time with The Boy) I was either at work, planning to go out with my friends, out with friends or recovering from being out. Yes, I did play soccer and yes I did coach soccer (women’s soccer) and did other miscellaneous things like play board games and minor hobbies but primarily, I didn’t like to be home alone at night and that meant out to the clubs.
I had been single for the most part of the previous ten months and had recently started seeing a couple of women (dating) on and off and decided when invited to an end-of season soccer dinner that I would go. It wasn’t my “thing”; I didn’t like “events” but the plethora of women, athletic, mostly single, women, was a big drawing card for me, so I dressed casual but “eventy” and headed off to the gig. The dinner was for the most part uneventful (apart from my getting “the eye” from a cuteish player from a different team) but for whatever reason I told one of the women players that I had been dating on and off that I was heading home to sleep.
Aside: a truly nice person, though very protective and a bit clingy. The fact she was three inches taller than me freaked me out though. The fact she was a cop more so.
Leaving the dinner, a friend and I decided to meet other friends (no surprise) at a local dance club and play some pool. It was a Monday night so the crowd was thin and we assumed it would for the first time in a VERY long time be an early evening. Then, they arrived. Two women soccer players, one being the one that gave had given me the flirty look earlier in the evening, the other, a sadly better looking though unattainable red-head mortician (true story). We played pool, chatted, my advances cast aside by Morticia, we left the club and the alternate and I went off to another club to drink, dance and as much as I planned otherwise, to split up at the end of the night never to speak again (though I planned to get Morticia’s number first).
On the way to the club, I was proffered a clue that I should simply turn off on a side street and go home, not following her beat up Honda to the other end of town. I felt all of a sudden as if the world was underwater. She hit the brakes in front of me for a streetlight turning orange and I had to slam on mine in response. I skidded twenty or more feet to a screeching stop knowing full well that I was now too drunk to be driving, yet I was off to drink more. Clues aside, we continued.
We arrived, bribed our way in to the packed club, danced, drank, drank, ate, and drank. In what seemed like minutes (but was in truth hours) we got into my car, drove dangerously to my place, got in bed and due to a lack of contraception, promptly fell asleep. “No” she said “It’s not happening”. The next morning, still three sheets to the wind, we boinked (after inspecting her bellybutton piercing!), woke up, ate, showered and I drove her to her home to meet her father in the driveway who would have to drive into the city to get her car later on that day.
We never spoke again.
More importantly, I never saw the mortician again.
I arrived back home and began to feel terribly unwell. It was as if the gods of partying decided my fun was now over. I did the math. I had spent over one hundred dollars on the evening on cheap drinks alone, not accounting for those at the event nor the ticket for such. I almost died. I slept with a stranger (with a bellybutton piercing! my first!), risked death dropping her off smelling of booze to her father at the end of her driveway, forgot to call in sick to work (a few hours later I did) and now felt like I was going to die from alcohol poisoning.
I took gravol, advil, tylenon, water by the bucket.
I sat on my balcony in the hot sun to cook the poison from my system.
I ate rice.
I drank ginger ale.
I watched depressing daytime television.
I decided I needed to start exercising (I hadn’t for a few years) and as an ex-runner, I needed to start now.
I showered (third of the day), dressed in “going for a long walk” gear and started walking the five kilometers to a local mall. I had seen watermelons on sale there the night before.
(I love watermelon. Watermelon would be the start of the new me.)
The walk was Death Valley hot. Dusty, loud, un-fun. Double-plus un-fun. I made it to the store and promptly walked to the frozen food aisle sticking my head and half of my body deep into the stand up cooler for a few minutes pretending to look at frozen lasagna. I selected a Gatorade and a large watermelon.
(I love watermelon. Watermelon would heal me.)
I paid and walked home, sweaty, grumpy, thirsty (oh, hey, look, (half way home), I bought a Gatorade!) cursing myself for not at least having the HUGE UNGAINLY ROUND SLIPPERY WATERMELON put in a bag.
(I love watermelon. Watermelon is my penance. It will cure me.)
I arrived home. I lay on the living room floor and slept for two hours. I woke, carried the watermelon to the kitchen and promptly ate almost half of it. I lay on the couch and reflected on the day, the night before. I answered the phone when my on-again, off-again insanely tall cop girlfriendish person called and agreed to go play pool that night. Yes, she could pick me up. No, I didn’t want to go for dinner first as I wasn’t feeling well. No, I wouldn’t be drinking. Yes, I would go running with her next weekend.
I needed to get back to being myself.
Did she want some watermelon? Yes? Good. I’d bring her half of one.
Watermelon is good. I love watermelon.
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