As I mentioned before I am not in the habit of going out on the weekends. My days of getting drunk are long over, actually have been before I attended university. So it was a particularily bad idea to go out with the Dragon and some ex-students of mine on the evening before an important conference at the capital, where I was to present two posters.
The Dragon always knows how to push me to my limits and of course it was fun. The students bought rows over rows of shots, and despite not liking alcoholic beverages, I did appreciate the pub’s creativity in creating and naming so many different flavors, so I had a bit of them all. When we left to get something to eat, I was already heavily drunk. The Dragon suggested calling the Witcher, because “I am sure he will come, just to spend time with you”. So I texted him, warning him that I was already totally wasted and would understand if he didn’t want to see me like that.
I don’t remember when he turned up. Someone had gotten hold of a bottle of whine and I had dropped what little reason I normally possess long ago, so I took a deep draft, which was what tipped me over the edge.
I only noticed when one of my students greeted the Witcher, saying: “Hey, how are you? I was told that you have a girlfriend!”* “No, I don’t”, he replied, thus ending the matter of the girlfriend once and for all.**
Through the haze of dizziness I recall going to the lady’s room, where I threw up for the first time this evening. I don’t know how much time I spent there, leaning against the tiled walls. Maybe I even passed out briefly. Eventually I managed to find the determination to stand up and walk back to the table, where I told the Witcher: “We are leaving”, in a tone that made him rise from his seat instantly. The Dragon and my students protested, but I just repeated myself: “We are leaving. I just puked. Good night.”
I think they had a lot of fun at my expense afterwards, and I deserved it. I was led out of the restaurant by the Witcher who held on to my arm and directed me towards the metro, where I threw up once again, while he stood beside me, patiently waiting for me to be able to walk again
When we finally arrived in his flat I was still disoriented, though I felt a lot less drunk and all the more sick. I was still far away from sober, so I decided that I needed to have a shower immediately. I think I even undressed beneath the running water. Of course I realized soon that it had been a bad idea because I was unable to stand upright for long, so I crawled out of the shower, wrapped myself in some towels and lay down on the floor.
“You can’t sleep here.”
“Well, first of all, it’s the bathroom floor. And I don’t want you to lie down at all. You might choke. I will definitely not let you sleep now. Come, sit on the couch.”
“I will not.”
“Oh yes, you will.”
Next thing I remember was me sitting on the couch, though the term sitting is heavily stretched. I was still wrapped in towels and tried to sleep, breathing heavily to distract myself from that horrible feeling in my stomach. Being drunk is so very ugly. The Witcher was annoying as hell, poking me every few minutes, making sure I was still responding. After what I didn’t realize was two hours time he finally allowed me to go to bed.
Don’t ask me how I made it up the ladder, because I can’t explain it either. I slept uneasily for some hours, woke up at 4 am and asked him to get me a bucket. Until noon not an hour passed where I didn’t throw up. In between I finally managed to get dressed, as I had up till then been stark naked and wrapped in a towel. He never remarked on that. Instead he got me tissues and emptied the bucket without complaining. There are a lot of people who avoid seeing others throwing up, because it makes them sick themselves. The Knight always hands me a box of tissues, pats me on the back and then vanishes inconspicuously.*** The Witcher didn’t seem to mind at all, or if he did he concealed it perfectly.
In the morning we texted the White Queen, telling her I had fallen ill. I was so embarrassed! There was still the problem of me being in charge of the posters of my whole department arriving at the conference. We managed to contact Snow White and the Witcher volunteered to bring them to her. “It’s no big deal. She lives just down the street.”
It was the third time in my life that I got seriously drunk, as always on a most inappropriate occasion. Never again do I want it to happen, and still I am glad it happened this one time. Sometimes, total loss of control can be liberating.
* I would ascribe his boldness to his equally drunk state if I could, but in fact he is always like that, making him one of my favorite ex-students.
** Two weeks later I would confront him on his answer and he would tell me that they did not meet anymore and hardly wrote to each other.
*** However, when he returns after having made sure it’s “safe” again, he has usually prepared a get well meal.