Seeing as you seemed to like that last anecdote.
I was at a bar once, this happened a lot at the time, most of the memories I have of this particular bar have no beginning, I was just there. I was just there at this bar and I had just gotten paid so all the drinks appeared flimsy and cheap to me as I reeled them off, like fake nails I ripped from my fingers. It was in the weeks before winter when everybody gets this sense of impending loneliness so they flock to whatever vantage point they can to see the sun. Or in this case the red lights hanging over the liquor display, what is it with amber mood lighting in would-be-dives? It’s pretty condescending actually, this mock-warmth. Regardless, all of the best people I knew had climbed the stairs to join me and at one point I was ‘vogue-ing’ on the dance floor with this guy I was or had been sleeping with, he may or may not have picked me up to spin me around that night, though it could have been the week after. He actually did it a few times now that I think about it. Why am I thinking about it.
This bar happened to be my favourite bar, it was three minutes away from my place and it was known to be the ‘hip’ spot in my city, also non-conforming-gender-friendly, not that I was openly dating girls then, but it was always nice to see a couple of gay guys making eyes at each other from respective corners of the room. I went there a lot, maybe twice or three times a week to blow my load, so to speak, that’s what it felt like at the time, a sweet and sweaty release after a week at the job I hated but was dying to love. It was a Friday or a Saturday, I remember that much, nobody had work in the morning so the times that blinked on our phones rubbed us up the wrong way. That is until everybody I knew left. Everybody but me and this girl I barely knew, in a sea of black-clad bodies. The lights went on at three am and that’s the last thing I remember until I keyed in the combination for the door to my apartment building and tripped on the art-deco-style spiral staircase no less than four times. On jamming my key into my front door I breathed an audible sigh of relief and hobbled inside. Needing to pee after drinking maybe nine vodka-sodas and a cocktail they set on fire for me (‘Make me anything you want to!’), I stumbled into my bathroom and started pulling off all of my clothes until I was completely naked. Then I made the mistake of turning the light off.
You know that feeling of reaching under your bed for something you’ve just glimpsed beneath it but when you go to reach for it it seems to have vanished? That was me, naked in my bathroom amidst the burgeoning winter, scrabbling at the walls aiming to find either the door handle or the light-switch. At first I had complete faith I would find one or the other so I just cursed myself and my drunk appendages for lacking the aim I so desperately needed. After a solid minute of pawing at the walls and door I was in complete disbelief, how could I not be able to find two objects against a two meter wide expanse of wall? I was starting to get really cold, I lived in a studio apartment with thin windows and seeing as I was spending most of my paycheck on booze and new tights (from falling over under the influence of said booze), I couldn’t afford to run my dryer too many nights a week let alone heat the place up. Mostly I relied on the fact my apartment was a level above the street and the knowledge that ‘heat rises’, whatever. The three rooms (one with a tasteful split level) were equally frigid bitches. My bathroom, for whatever reason, was particularly wintry this morning and if I hadn’t have been drunk I would have mused over how maybe it was a cloudless night, so the heat couldn’t be held against the sky-line. That said if I hadn’t have been drunk I wouldn’t have been pressing my naked body against the door in the hopes I would ‘feel out’ the handle.
At some point, maybe five minutes in, I began to get animalistic. First I began to weep softly, muttering ‘why?’ to myself or maybe God or whoever the fuck was controlling the lack of palpable door-handles or light-switches in my life. Then I began to reiterate how cold I was, aloud, and began stating my intentions- ‘I just want to get into bed!’, again, to who I have no idea. The God of the less-than-sober who might normally be watching over hospital emergency wards on the weekends. After a decent eight minutes or so of fairly pretty crying, combined with a shaking that was increasing in its urgency, shit got real. My hopelessness turned into a raging frustration, with me spread-eagling my naked body across all of the walls while simultaneously sobbing and cursing, my face twisted into an expression I’m actually somewhat glad I didn’t have to see in the mirror above the sink. At points I would tell myself to calm the fuck down because that’s how people solve things, right? They take deep breaths and think methodically and they always find what they’re looking for or resolve the situation or whatever. When this failed though, my fury would increase ten fold and it felt like the dark was collaborating with the house-hold appendages my bathroom usually had ownership of. I was howling, the cold had now wrapped its dying-child fingers around my bones and I was scratching not only at the wall I knew normally housed the light-switch but also at the walls surrounding and next to my toilet, the mirror, the washing machine, any available space I knew might possess some object I might be able to use.
With one last defiant lunge I threw my body at the door and with a flash of light (as it seemed to me at the time), the door miraculously opened and I collapsed out into my kitchen, only to trip down the tasteful stairs that led into the lounge , pushed through my bedroom door and smashed my face against my bed, where I got my first case of the spins as I turned over to look at the ceiling, safely enclosed in a nest of duvets, all of them too small for my queen bed.
On waking up the next day I could remember only the bathroom incident and on my trip to the kitchen to retrieve some diet ginger-ale for my churning stomach, I wandered into the bathroom to survey the damage. There were hand-shaped black marks on all of the walls, where I had pressed my palms against my face in emotional agony, blotting them with my running mascara. All of the items that were usually so aesthetically placed on my sink were on the floor and I had broken the toilet roll holder off the wall completely. In fact it looked like I had ripped it out. Accompanying this were several gouge-marks made by my nails which, as I looked down at my blotchy alcohol-swollen hands, still held remnants of the paint and plaster. There was a broken nail in one of the holes.
After drinking the bottle of ginger-ale in bed and wondering at the strange collection of bruises scattered across my entire body, I returned to the scene to shower as I was meeting two of the friends who had been at the bar with me the night before for lunch, where I got a strange urge I hadn’t felt for years. That was the first time I had vomited from drinking. It tasted like ginger, which wasn’t entirely unpleasant.
On leaving my apartment, though, I turned to check the door was locked and found a note stuck to it, from my neighbour who lived in the apartment to the right of mine, sharing my bedroom and bathroom walls. It read something like:
‘Are you OK? Marie and I heard screaming coming from your place in the early hours of this morning. Please let us know you are alright or we will have to call either the landlord or the police. Peter.’
It took me six days to find out the girl I barely knew had walked me home. After apologising and thanking her, she graciously accepted the apology, saying ‘it’s not like I could leave you there!’