Hey there, bloggy buddies! It's that time of week again, the time in which I will bare pieces of my tawdry past and share some of the moments that have made me least proud of myself. As always if you'd like in on this action or if you crave more TMI goodness, head on over to LiLu's blog for more TMI Thursday fun.
Today I will tell you a story about my first time. No, not that first time, but if you're nice maybe I'll tell you that story someday too. No, I'm talking about the beginning of a very different love affair, one that remains a part of my life to this very day despite a rather rocky start. Yup, I'm talking about booze.
I was 15 and had been invited over to my friend Cath's* house for a sleep-over with another girl, Donna*. At this age I was firmly in my inexplicably angsty "I hate my mother" phase, so of course she and I had a big fight at dinner before I went to Cath's. My mom is not the easiest person to get along with, but at that age I'm sure I was no treat either. I don't remember what our fight was about that night, but I do remember her driving me to Cath's house in stony silence and me slamming the door hard behind me when I got out.
Once at Cath's place I was determined to move past the fight, so we went to her room and hung out. I remember watching Madonna's oh-so-scandalous Justify My Love video many times; Donna had confiscated a VHS copy of it from her older sister and we were sufficiently titillated by it.
Back in Cath's room Donna produced a pilfered bottle of gin from her backpack, and we proceeded to get smashed. I don't even recall if we mixed it with anything, but something tells me that we didn't. As is always the case with Young Bev I pushed past the revulsion I felt for the taste and downed a whole helluva lot of it.
The rest of the night is a blur; what remains in my memory is like a movie directed by Darren Aronofsky: repetitive flashes and blurry snippets of some rather horrifying images. I remember hearing The Doors playing somewhere in the background. Laughing. Flopping on the floor with the other girls, laughing. Not being able to get back up. The ceiling. A yellow plastic bucket. The return of that night's meatloaf dinner into said bucket. The concerned face of Cath's mother hovering. Me crying. Me saying I hate my mother, again and again and again. Me in the shower with my clothes on. And then nothing.
The next morning I awoke to my very first hangover. I was dressed in Cath's too-short sweatpants and shirt, my hair smelled horrible (cigarettes, gin, and puke, or Eau De Lohan as I've come to think of it), my head was splitting, and there was a stinky yellow bucket sitting next to me on the floor. I had never felt so sick or worried or embarrassed in my life, but it was about to get even worse.
Cath's parents had gotten divorced a few years earlier and her mother had a new live-in boyfriend named Ron. Ron had one of those lazy eyes that makes it difficult to tell which one to look at when you're speaking to him, and when we shuffled into the kitchen that morning he seemed to be looking at all three of us at once... but mostly at me.
The empty bottle of gin sat on the counter in front of us. He settled himself on a stool on the other side of the counter, leaned onto his elbows and peered at my puffy face before saying quietly, "Tell me about your mother."
I stammered and swallowed hard. Clearly they thought I was living in some sort of abusive home thanks to my drunken whining, and I suddenly had visions of Ron calling my mother and telling her about all of the horrid things I'd said about her in my drunken stupor. I mumbled something about just having had a fight the night before, she's not that bad, we just don't get along sometimes, and no... she doesn't hit me. Eeeeeeesh.
Thank goodness I was saved by the sound of my sister's car in the driveway. Grabbing my things and apologizing my way out the door, I dashed for the safety of her car. My sister is 6 years older than I am and had recently graduated from college and purchased her very first brand new car. She had to buy a new car because of yours truly, but that's another story for another day; suffice to say that her last car lead me to my first near-death experience and ended up a hunk of twisted metal in a junkyard. Because I'm awesome like that.
Come to think of it, it's really a miracle that she still speaks to me at all.
I confessed immediately, and true to form she was kind but took great delight in teasing me about it. "Oh, Pookie," (SHUT UP) she murmured, shifting her new car as we accelerated away from the house of shame. Her car was a blue Ford Probe and we were both a little bit in love with it.
She did what any good sister would do and coached me on what to say to mom: that I was sick, that I had thrown up, that I just needed to be left alone for a while. I was too inexperienced to know that alcohol has a way of making its presence known the next day - its acrid stench seeps from your pores and offends anyone who gets too close. I know that now. Debbie took me through the McDonald's drive-thru and bought me a small orange soda, which I sipped gratefully and gingerly.
Four minutes later I repaid her for her kindness by opening my mouth and spewing the orange soda all over the windshield and dashboard of her new car. It was thin vomit, pure orange soda, really, but it went everywhere and was a sticky drippy mess.
My darling sainted sister said nothing, but her mouth hung open in a wounded way that still haunts me, even though thankfully we laugh about this incident now. Mostly.
I started to cry and she took me home and escorted me past my suspicious mother to my room, where I stayed for the rest of the day. To this day, I can't even stand the smell of gin. Or orange soda. Thankfully my mother has never once mentioned this incident, but her face at dinner that night told me that she knew. Oh yes, she knew.
So that's that. Tell me about the first time you drank, won't you? Misery does love company!
*Names changed to hide their shame.