I never imagined I’d find myself lost on the outskirts of Boston at 8 AM on a Saturday morning.
I had gotten lost because I’d tried to walk home and veered off into the wrong direction. I’d tried to walk home because I was too nauseous to get on the train. I was too nauseous to get on the train because I’d been puking since 6 AM. I’d been puking since 6 AM because the night before I’d ingested two rum and Cokes, one vodka mixer, several glasses of Kahlua and half a bottle of white wine. I’m feeling a little puke-y just thinking about it.
I’d arrived late to the party after an evening meeting with the designer I was interning for, who’d dragged me to an unfamiliar neighborhood for the best Southern comfort food I’d ever eaten north of the Mason-Dixon. My friend Maya, her brother Andrew, and their childhood friend Cara, were already far gone by the time I made it to Cara’s Fenway apartment. As a mature, educated human and frequent drinker I should know that playing catch-up is never a good idea. But I threw reason to the wind and drank until I was on the floor. And while I was on the floor. And after I managed to get up off the floor.
Technically Andrew puked first, but none of us knew it at the time. He tucked into the bathroom for less than three minutes and told no one. Maya on the other hand, was an absolute wreck. She slumped over the toilet like a weeping willow, mumbling tearful apologies between heaves. The rest of us crowded around her, still drunk as fish. I remember absentmindedly braiding Cara’s hair while she demanded to Maya,
“Don’t say you’re sorry. We’re all having a great time. Say you’re welcome!”
We still laugh about this all the time.
Maya’s predicament demanded we stay the night at Cara’s. Maya fell asleep on the couch, with Andrew nearby to ensure she kept breathing. I crashed in Cara’s bed, grateful for her hospitality and my body’s ability to hold its liquor.
But my gratefulness came too soon. My churning stomach woke me up around 6 AM. I dragged my still-drunk self to the bathroom, all too aware of what would come next.
I was not blessed with the ability to vomit once and instantly feel better. After two early-morning pukes at Cara’s, I decided to start the long trek home, thinking that cleaning myself up and lying down in my own bed may help matters.
Then I got lost.
I reached the Brookline city limits before I surrendering to my tired legs and catching the Green Line. But when the train lurched to a stop about a mile and a half from my building, I had to escape from the hemorrhaging car before the claustrophobia and motion sickness either killed me or made me lose what little food I had managed to hold down on the feet of some innocent tourist. So I pushed through the throngs of out-of-towners enjoying the rare sunny day until I found myself on my knees surrendering the contents of my stomach yet again. Maya showed up not long after, in a similar predicament. I remember calling my mom, half-amused and half-terrified, opening the conversation with, “I can’t stop puking!”
It subsided eventually, and both Maya and I pulled ourselves together enough to nibble on some plain toast and limp into the shower. We even ventured outside later that day. A church a few blocks over had imported a team of “Comfort Dogs” for the days preceding the Boston Marathon, so of course Maya and I ended up lounging on sun-drenched steps scratching the ears of two tranquil golden retrievers. It had been an undeniably weird twenty-four hours. But that just goes to show that the most bizarre (and gross) situations can become the best memories when you’re with the right company.