The party is over. The sticky rings of booze collect dust and confetti, a syrupy light streaming in emblazoning the unconscious guests who remain, vampires burning. The pulse of blood in the temple and pleading bladder rouse you from the carpet, face marked with a Berber pattern, eyes the color of a bloody Mary that wouldn’t go amiss.
So you stumble, hands pushing the walls away, careening down the hall to the cool porcelain panic room, wondering for a moment where you lost your panties, knees nearly buckling under the wight of too much rum.
The vomit is first in line, the bladder will have to wait. No rest for the degenerate wicked, just a vocal solo in technicolor, all the evil you can get out splashing the bowl. That fucking light, so bright, it keeps coming even with your eyes squeezed shut, and the memories threaten to peel through your shame like a fast car burning tires.
A little mouthwash, some water splashed on the cheeks, and maybe you could stand a glass full. During your ablutions, the guests have gone, leaving vague psychic imprints, ghosts in the periphery, and the silence only serves to highlight the pulse of blood in your ears.
There was something last night, some vague impression you can’t quite puzzle out, stuck in a permanent state of wavy, sitcom flashback dissolve, keeping the memory from piercing into the full, shameful light. You know you did something, something you will regret, but for now the bleary-eyed ignorance is as close to bliss as the alcohol ravaged brain will allow.
Check your text messages, find the breadcrumbs, see into the past so you can make amends, or perhaps just hunker down until everyone forgets. The immediacy of the physical takes over, maybe just a little lie-down, keep the demon memories at bay.
But it won’t go away, and the outside world starts making sounds, and everything starts to shift into focus, not a little against your will. Was it a man? Was it an unfiltered comment? God, don’t let it be some racist vestige of youth, or callous hypocrisy; you have to work so hard at coming back from them.
Click the remote, the stupid-box comes on, and the hair on the back of your neck rises, a twinge in your gut, and the dam can’t hold it back. You want to look away, but the production values are slick, designed to tie you to the chair, Clockwork Orange media, the opiate of the twenty-first.
And there it is. There, on the podium, solemn, maybe for the first time, he addresses the formerly loyal, hands still for once, capitulating, humbled, broken. You feel the tickle of conscience, and it starts rolling, becoming a stab, then a tearing, ripping through to finally be heard.
I supported the hate, you muse, I drank the fucking Kool Ade, and I repeated the chants. There will be many, the eyes of whom you cannot hold, in the grocery store or the gym, so many on the list, it feels like dying and makes you wish for a dark cave in which you can fade away. The handicapped, black people, Hispanic people, women, and the poor, all gathered together, a mob in the making with your sodden effigy clutched in angry fists.
But you cannot hide, and the Truth is tall and stoic and knows no respite, and there is no fucking way out, but straight into the apologies and the lashings and the shame.
You are not garbage. You know this is true. But it is going to take everything you have to convince everyone else. You wish, “God, please, let me take it all back.”, but the deed is done and your eyes will look ever downward.