a eulogy for lost brain cells
Awake. What time is it? I reach for my phone. 6:30am. Fuck. I drink some water, then fall back into blissful sleep. Too early yet to rise.
Awake again. 10:30am. My head pounds, while my stomach churns in agony. Need water- so I drink again from the bottle on my bedside table. Thatís better. What happened last night? Hazy recollections float across my subconscious fleeing like ghosts as I try to grasp them. I remember the start- a party at a friendís place, then moving to the city to some unknown venue. How much did I drink? Only God and my liver know. Yawn. Stretch. I try to go back to sleep but the pounding in my head sounds like African tribal drums. My next door neighbour is mowing his lawn. ďItís 10:30am on a Saturday morning!Ē I want to scream, but deep down I know that this is a perfectly reasonable time to be mowing oneís lawn. No-one else in the neighbourhood pays it any mind. I should get out of bed. I try to remember how to coordinate my limbs to perform this normally simple task. Finally, after what seems like an age, through concentrated effort, I succeed. My bladder is full to bursting, so I stumble to the bathroom. Iím sure you can imagine what I do in there. Still thirsty. Stumble to the fridge. Get another bottle of water. Stumble to the couch. Collapse. Still the ghosts of last night try to surface. My brain is not ready for them yet. I have a long drink of water. Thatís better. A cigarette, I feel like a cigarette. The pack lies crumpled, almost broken on the kitchen table. I open it. Success! A surprisingly intact cigarette finds it way into my mouth as I stumble outside. Iím doing a lot of stumbling this morning. That first drag is bliss. My mouth feels dry. Fuck, I left the bottle inside. Stumble again to retrieve it. I sit and begin to ponder the events of last night.
As if having been called, the ghosts resurface all at once. A brick wall. A cab ride home. Past midnight kebabs. Do not enter. An empty bottle of vodka, rolling in a gutter. All the thoughts jumbled into one. I canít sort them out. OK, think. What. Did. You. Do?
The party. That was the first stop. I arrived about 8:00pm and grabbed a beer (shit, donít think about beer!). Friends were there, which ones? I run through a mental list. Sounds reasonable so I stick with it. After the first beer, a second. There was music playing wasnít there? Yes. A CD player pumped out tunes for the party people. A variety of songs, artists and genres were represented. Conversations were had but of what, who, where? Fleeting memories of disembodied faces- their lips moving but no sound coming out.
We werenít planning to go to the city, but as usual a few or more drinks convinced us. During the cab ride we talked excitedly about the event that awaited us. The cabbie seemed bored at our questioning of him. Having a good night mate? Yeah, so are we. What country are you from? Donít you just hate these shit drivers that have infiltrated our fair cityís streets? Bet you must have some interesting stories. But he didnít want to share. Finally, we arrive in the city. Anywhere here, mate. Whoís got cash? Awesome. Letís PARTY!! We paid our money, got our stamps and entered the club.
That much I remember clearly: the bare essentials of my night. The rest? Who knows? I could have flown to Mongolia for all I know.
Iím hungry. Time to get some greasy food to settle my stomach. The thought of food stirs one of my forgotten memories from its slumber. The kebab joint. I remember going to our favourite late night kebab joint before we called it a night. The shop, and its shopkeep, I remember clearly, having been there many times before. But what time did we go there, and how? Work backwards. I got home at about 4:00am, the cab ride home was approximately half an hour, therefore we must have finished our kebabs by 3:30am. I know the route from the club to the kebab shop. It isnít far so itís likely we walked. This brings another memory shuddering back to life. The walk to the kebab shop was uneventful, or as uneventful as our regular 3:00am drunken kebab shop walks. I remember that we rambled about nonsensical things (usual), shouted at cars and people (usual), jumped off random walls and benches that appeared in our way (usual) and that I had run across the road, tripped over a kerb and almost knocked myself out on a brick wall (unusual).
I stumble to the bathroom to check myself in the mirror. Only a slight scratch on my forehead- good. I check the rest of my body- only the usual scratches, bumps and bruises which normally appear after a night out. How do they get there? I donít know, and probably donít want to know. All I do know is that every morning after a heavy night of drinking, they appear.
I need another cigarette but the rest of the pack is torn and broken. Evidence of the wild dancing I must have done last night. I grab my wallet, keys and sunglasses and walk down to the local shop to buy some more. I walk past a bush out the front of a neighbourís house. Another memory shoots from my subconscious like a crossbow bolt. I remember bushes, or to be exact- a bush. It was somewhere near the club, where exactly I cannot say. I remember walking past it, drunkenly stumbling and falling in. Some of the scratches on my arms and legs must be from that incident. I think harder. It was hard to extricate myself from that bush due to my incredibly drunken state. I seem to recall that I needed to be helped out by one or more people.
I arrive at the shop; buy my cigarettes and turn to leave. As I do my eye catches sight of a bottle. Another memory rears its ugly head. It was just as we got to the city. Before entering the club, we had gone to the bottle shop to buy a bottle of vodka, as, being the poor, drunken people that we are, we didnít want to pay the exorbitant drink prices at the club. The memory continues- sitting on a kerb in the city swigging from a bottle of vodka, then passing it along to the next person. Such debauchery! When did this become part of my regular weekend escapades? Iím surely paying for it now. My head spins as I stumble back to my house, recounting this dreadful event of the night before. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
When I walk in the door, I realise that itís futile to even think about doing anything constructive today. This is the one thing I hate most about a big night- it never finishes with just the night. The whole next day is always spent doing absolutely nothing. I watch movies, surf the Net and generally try to stay away from bright lights as much as possible. Today, I decide to watch a movie, something with the simplest possible story line, guns and explosions. Arnold Schwarzzenegger movies, I have found, are the best for this. I choose ĎCommandoí from my extensive selection of movies. As Arnie begins flexing his muscles on screen, I remember more about the night. Straining to remove a sign. As often happens when my friends and I are drunk, we tried to steal a sign from the gate of construction site. However, it was wired to the gate and no matter how hard we tried, it would not budge. All of us attempted to remove it from its wire prison, but to no avail. I vaguely remember pulling on the sign until my fingers slid off and I landed with a thud on the pavement. That explains more of my mysterious scratches and bruises.
All of the conversations of the night have been lost. Try as I might, I cannot remember a single thing that was discussed. For all I know we could have discovered the secret of world peace, or safer nuclear fusion, or the secret herbs and spices in KFCís chicken. But they are all lost now. Trapped in the night that was. Perhaps if I one day discover how to read lips I can decipher the words coming from the mouths of my memories. However, that would depend on me having a photographic memory which seems quite unlikely at this point.
I doze off again to the sounds of Arnie shooting at an armyís worth of Columbian soldiers.