There are many signs which tell you that you might need to change your life. Some might be subtle enough to ignore them but others have a very obvious way of presenting themselves. Like hiding from the rest of the party in a bathroom on the second floor, puking your heart out into the toilet. That was a very straight forward kind of sign.
My problem wasn’t, that I had been drinking way too much tonight or that it resulted in the vomiting, but the reason why I had done it.
I had been going to parties nonstop for the past three weeks – every weekend and a few times during the week as well, just to get drunk. Because getting drunk meant not having to think about life. Or facing the fact that I couldn’t sleep at all. Hadn’t been able to for at a few months.
Or seeing Drew’s wounded puppy eyes, following my every move.
The reason why I got drunk today – again – was because I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Drew was the boy who had almost become my boyfriend, but then after two weeks of dating I realized that while he was clearly smitten, I just wasn’t. I didn’t get any tingles when I saw him, any butterflies. I wasn’t nervous and I didn’t get all warm and fuzzy when he looked at me. Not even a tiny little bit.
So I did the sensible thing and broke up with him. But now I had to see him every day at work. See the wounded look on his face when he looked at me and the careful way he avoided me now, if it was possible.
And I hated it.
I hated that he was hurting because of me, but there was nothing really I could do about it.
Because the only other alternative would be to go out with someone you liked but probably would never love. And wouldn’t that hurt even more in the end? So now it was awkward going to work.
Awkward seeing his friends smirking at me.
Awkward being the “bad one”. It probably would’ve been more bearable if everything else wasn’t so fucked up.
Ten months ago it had seemed like a good idea to go abroad. To leave everything behind. But now I had learned the hard way that there are some problems you just can’t outrun. I still didn’t know what to do with my life and though this whole experience had been fun, I knew that it wasn’t going anywhere.
Working in a call-center trying to solve problems people had with their parcels really wasn’t very exciting. And it was not a job that got you anywhere.
I knew that.
I knew going to university was what I should do. Get a degree and then a job. But I didn’t know what I should study. And I also wasn’t ready to go back – I wasn’t sure if I would ever be.
So instead I got wasted and tried to ignore the feeling that something wasn’t right. Tried to ignore the signs saying I should do something.
And now I was sitting in this bathroom and felt like I just puked out my very soul into the toilet. Maybe it really was time to change my life.
To stop feeling sorry for myself and accept that life was just shitty. Accept, that being different really meant that it was hard to fit anywhere. That maybe trying to fit was only making it more apparent, that I just didn’t. And that I was now alone in all of this.
“You need help?”
The voice came out of nowhere and at first I thought I had imagined it, but then there was suddenly the feeling of a hand on my left shoulder.
“Are you alright?”
Nope, not imagining it at all.
And while I was still drunk and dizzy, I was also sober enough to feel embarrassed. Even more so, when I realized that my body wasn’t cooperating. There simply was no way that I would get up from this floor any time soon.
So I blindly reached up to at least flush the toilet, but I didn’t make it because the person witnessing this very low point in my life beat me to it.
I watched the water disappear in the toilet and took a shaky breath.
“No,” I finally answered. “Thank you.”
The hand left my shoulder and I heard the sound of running water.
I tried again to make my body move. To get up. But my feet just didn’t cooperate. They felt like pudding, so instead I just sat there, still grabbing the toilet. Focussing on breathing and cursing myself silently.
Slowly I was finally able to let go of the toilet and at least turn around.
The water stopped and a wet blue towel appeared in front of my face.
“Here, try this, it will make you feel better.” The voice had an accent that sounded vaguely familiar but my brain was too chaotic to remember it.
I forced herself to look up. “Thank y…” The words died in my throat as I saw the guy crouching to my left, holding out the towel.
Oh fucking shit, shit shitty fuck.
Crouching in front of me, looking slightly uncomfortable, the towel in his hand was Gustaf, better known around the office as “sexy Swede”. The guy with the most perfect face, most perfect body, most perfect smile, most perfect everything – and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. Eyes that seemed to look directly inside your soul, seeing every secret you ever had while that barely there smile he always wore stole a piece of you heart and never gave it back.
Everyone knew about sexy Swede, even me.
Though I would have never worked up the nerve to ever talk with him – all out past exchanges consisted of me nodding in his direction, when I saw him around the office. And even that happened very, very rarely.
He worked as a supervisor for another department, so our paths didn’t really cross that often. Except for those work parties but he usually was surrounded by people and no amount of alcohol could make me brave enough to talk to that guy. I was useless around beautiful men to begin with and Gustaf Andersson was even beyond that.
And now that perfect creature was in front of me, witnessing a very low point in my life and I didn’t even want to think about what I looked like right now. Probably like a cross between a raccoon and a pig – I just hoped that I didn’t have any vomit somewhere on my face.
That thought hadn’t even penetrated, when I grabbed the towel, particularly prying it out of his hands, to wipe my face with it.
And yes, the cool towel made me feel a bit better.
But more importantly, it gave me a chance to hide my face and silently pray for a black hole to open right under me and swallow me whole. Or maybe a little spontaneous combustion? But no, nothing happened.
I was still sitting there like an idiot with the most perfect creature in front of me, making an even bigger fool out of myself.
So I finally dropped the towel and smiled weakly at him. “Thanks.”
His lips twitched. “No problem.”
To my utter mortification he didn’t disappear, but instead rocked back on his heels and sat down, leaning back against the bathtub to my left.
“You don’t…you can go. I’m fine”, I muttered.
His lips twitched again.
Perfect lips. Perfect full lips with perfect white teeth behind it.
Damn it! Not what I should be thinking about right now.
“Really…just go”. I knew that I was being rude, but it didn’t matter. I just wanted him to leave so I could go and die of humiliation. Alone.
“Yeah well, that’s a bit of a problem.”
“Why?” And yeah, I did snap at him.
But considering everything that just happened, I was way past trying to make him like me. That ship had sailed and burned down forever.
I knew that while I might be kind of pretty on my best days, I would always be just a bit too chubby and never pretty enough for a guy like Gustaf Andersson to even notice me. Guys like him didn’t just live on a completely different planet, but a whole different universe. Which made this whole situation even more humiliating.
“Well I was actually hiding when you came barrelling through the door”, he answered and at least had the decency to look a bit sheepish.
“You what?” And then it hit me. He hadn’t just witnessed a girl hanging weakly over a toilet after puking her heart out. He had actually seen the whole thing.
I hadn’t thought it possible, but now I was more than humiliated. Mortified even. And still no black hole anywhere in sight.
Oh fucking shit.
Fucking shitty shit!
I needed to get up and leave. Like right now.
But as soon as I tried to get up, the room started spinning and I had no choice but to get my ass back down on the ground.
“Whoa sit. Just wait a bit, it’ll pass.” His hand was on my shoulder again. I hadn’t even seen him get up again.
At any other day the fact that Gustaf Andersson was touching my shoulder – even though it was through a shirt – would’ve made me giddy enough to faint. But right now I was too mortified for that.
So I sighed and decided to make the best out of this situation.
“Do you…I don’t suppose you got any water?”
He smiled a little. A barely there smile but it still was kind of breath-taking. I looked down to the towel still on my knees.
“Actually I do. One sec.”
I heard him move and then the sound of running water again. Probably the sink to my left.
And then a plastic cup with water appeared in front of me.
“Thank you”, I mumbled and took a small sip. It felt good to finally get the taste of vomit out of my mouth.
I heard him sit down again.
For a while we just sat there silently. Me sipping water and him just being silent. I didn’t want to look at him ever again.
Which kind of was impossible but still.
But as the silence stretched on it became awkward.
“Sorry”, I finally whispered, still not looking at him.
“No worries. I’ve been there too. I was actually planning on going there today as well, but it just felt silly.”
I turned my head towards him. “What? You were trying to get drunk and then utterly humiliate yourself in front of a stranger?”
His lips twitched again. “No, I was actually just trying to get completely shit faced and pass out on my bed, so I wouldn’t have to hear my roommate and his boyfriend going at it again.”
“So what happened?”
He shrugged. “It felt kind of silly to drink here on my own.” He gestured to his right and I saw three bottles of beer standing next to the bathtub, as well as a bottle of what appeared to be vodka. A full bottle.
Obviously following myr gaze he said: “That was actually where the plastic cup came from. But so far I only drank a bit of the beer.”
I flinched. “Don’t talk of alcohol again.”
He chuckled. “Don’t worry it will pass.”
I looked at him and he was looking mighty amused, with a little smile playing on his lips. The effect was pretty devastating so I looked away again quickly.
Silently I took a few sips of water and heard him grab the bottle but he didn’t say anything and I was out of things to say.
For a bit it was fine but then I just couldn’t bear to sit here with sexy Swede-guy and not saying anything. It was just way too awkward.
“So why are you hiding?” I finally asked.
He was silent for so long that she thought he wouldn’t answer but then I heard him sigh. “From my ex-girlfriend.”
The temptation to look at him was strong but I resisted. “Uhm…did she…do something?”
This time he kept silent so I risked a quick glance his way.
Only to meet his steady gaze as he looked straight at me, like he was trying to examine me.
I could feel my face heating and turned away again. “Sorry…I…I have no boundaries when I’m drunk. It’s none of my business.”
He was silent for a beat and then I heard him exhale. “It’s fine.”
After what sounded like he took a sip of his beer he said: “It’s just…well stupid. I broke up with her a few weeks back and now she keeps looking at me with those wounded puppy-eyed look and I just can’t stand it anymore. So I decided to hide.”
Impossible as it was but it seemed like me and perfect Gustaf Andersson actually had something in common.
Still it didn’t make sense.
“Why not just go home?”
“Because I forgot my keys and my roommate is out with his boyfriend partying in the city and not answering his phone. So I figured instead of sitting out in the cold on our front step waiting for him I could very well hide here. No one ever gets up to the second floor.”
My lips twitched. “Except me.”
“Yeah, seems that way.”
I glanced at him again and saw him smiling.
“Well you could’ve also just gone partying as well somewhere in the city.”
He shrugged. “Didn’t feel like it. I kind of didn’t want to be around people.”
“Well sorry I ruined it.” I looked down to the cup in my hand.
“Ah no worries. It was getting a bit boring here anyway.”
That made me laugh. Well more like barking, but what did it matter? At this point the only thing I could do to embarrass herself any more was dropping my pants and taking a shit on the floor.
That thought made me laugh even harder.
Apparently I was sobering up rather quickly because my weird sense of humour had returned.
I kind of knew I was behaving very ridiculous but just couldn’t stop myself.
“What are you laughing at?” He asked and I wasn’t sure if he sounded amused or terrified. Probably the latter.
And because the alcohol had taken away any kind of filter I ever possessed, I turned towards him again and answered truthfully: “I just thought that the only thing more embarrassing than running in here puking all over the toilet with you in the room would’ve been if I’d gone and taken a shit.”
For a second he looked dumbfounded but then he started to laugh as well. And damn if he didn’t look beautiful doing it.
That thought sobered me up pretty quickly and my laughter died.
He saw it. “What?”
“Nothing”, I answered and drank the last of the water off the cup.
“I think I should go now”, I said and tried to get up again. This time my body cooperated and I actually managed to stand up. Refusing to even glance towards the mirror above the sink – no point in confirming my worst fears – I took a shaky step towards the door. And another one.
Yep, this was going to work.
Now I just needed to manage getting down the stairs without breaking my neck and locating my coat with my phone and keys in it.
I paused and closed my eyes at the thought.
You can do it!
Yeah that thought only helped a tiny bit, but still.
I proceeded forwards.
I froze, my hand already on the doorknob.
“I’m coming with you. I can’t let you walk down the stairs on your own.” I heard him get up.
“No worries, I’m fine.” But I was kind of grateful that he insisted getting downstairs with me. And helped me looking for my coat in the pile of jackets next to the front door.
From the living room I could hear laughter and chattering and music. So the party was still in full roll. But thankfully no one showed up as we dug through the various jackets.
Finally I found my coat and the phone inside the pockets, as well as the keys. Then I checked my pockets. Yes, still enough money to buy a cap home.
“You want me to call you a cap?” He was still standing beside me, holding an olive jacket in his hand.
“I’m uh…manage, thank you.”
So I turned towards the door and dialled the cap service. Thankfully I also remembered the address. The guy said he’d be there in 10 minutes.
Silently putting on my coat I decided to wait outside.
Then I heard the door click behind me. He was following me outside, also putting on his jacket.
“I thought you wanted to hide upstairs?”
He shrugged. “I kind of think it’s going to be really boring now. So I’m going to hit the club my roommate usually goes to, maybe I’ll catch them there.” He flashed another one of those devastating smiles and I looked away again.
“We can share a cap till the city centre – I actually have to go there on my way home.”
“Sure.” I could still hear the smile in his voice.
Thankfully the cap arrived pretty shortly after and we hopped in. In silence we drove to Temple Bar, where he wanted to get out.
“So…” I began but didn’t really know what to say.
He paid the driver and looked at me. “So.”
“Thank you, I guess and sorry.”
His lips twitched. “No worries, get home safely.”
I nodded. “Yeah, thanks. And good luck finding your roommate.”
He chuckled. “Thank you.”
And then he was gone.
I sighed as the cap started driving again. The city lights flying by.
It really was time to change my life.
—-> Read more in “Sina Diaries 2”