Aftermath

LAS Prompt: write about the aftermath of a wild, drunken party. Only most of the first two paragraphs were written in April 2009, the rest I wrote today at work. It is fiction but I used imagery and my knowledge of real events, places, and people. So if you are reading this and may have been around for the actual wild, drunken party or its aftermath then hopefully you are amused and not offended by any of it. Indeed, I have already used the Sharpie beach party as the backdrop for a creative essay for a class.

My face is sunken into a green pillow, lips just barely parted to breathe and allow a thin trickle of saliva to accumulate into a wet puddle that creates a dark spot on the pillowcase. I feel something against my back and realize it is a warm body shifting weight, breathing next to me. I am naked, my breasts exposed with the blanket down around my waist but I’m feeling the paralysis of waking up still and don’t fix anything. When I open my eyes I see the wall facing me is blank; my walls are covered in posters and, although I’m facing right, my roommate’s bed is not lofted into the air parallel to my own. I turn over to the other side and see the shape beside me. He hasn’t stirred yet and his mouth is gaping open, sucking in air. I get a good view of him but keep my position like I am still sleeping. He has dark hair that is long, but not in a lanky, uncared for way. His nose is shapely in profile and his eyelashes long and dark like his hair. Although his mouth is wide open in an unattractive manner, his lips look full and pretty, for a guy. I try to match the profile to the memories in my head but everything is fuzzy, even the more permanent memories. Last night barely makes it in but I can recall not vomiting and I take that as a victory. I look around the room a bit to get some clues as to whose bed I am laying in. Above the blank wall I was looking at is a giant black pirate flag, near the door I could see some posters, possibly with baseballs on them. Sports, someone who likes sports, that narrows it down. I look over, over Roger, that’s it. I look over him and see his roommate’s movie poster of Indiana Jones grinning at us with whip in hand. I do not see a figure in the bed below it. That’s a relief. His phone begins buzzing beneath the pillow. Roger shifts in his sleep, closes his mouth and stretches a little bit. I turn my face back into it; I’ll pretend to be sleeping, but I keep my eyes open to see if he is really waking. I don’t remember until I see his eyes flick open that I’m naked and that the blanket is not covering me. I quickly fling my arm over my chest and close my eyes.

My phone alarm buzzes beneath my pillow. I deftly dismiss it. I hear the sound of someone else’s soft snoring; it’s awfully close, but right now a thousand elephants are dancing in my head, weighing the back of my skull into the soft pillow. Rising from all sides around me is an aroma of sweat and booze, as though someone sprayed a perfume of Southern Comfort, Keystone, and cheap rum all around me. I glance, using my peripheral vision only. To my right, the vague outline of my desk. Beyond it, Kyle is not in his bed. A relief. Then I turn left and see the mound of dark tangled hair covering a face planted into the pillow. Good, at least it is a female snoring next to me. A few of the elephants have settled down. Head still heaving, I turn my neck completely to the left and notice the smudgy outline of what looks like tattoos on her exposed arms. She is lying on her side and her arm just covers her left breast, the other one hidden by her body pressing into the mattress, the blanket is pulled down to her waist. Not bad, I muse, but I can’t see her face. I can’t even figure out how I know her yet. Who has brown hair that I know? Everyone. I shake my head. Bad idea. I move aside the sheets, leaving her asleep, and pull on a pair of boxers over my naked body, noticing some interesting remains of temporary tattoos on my chest. I look at my off-white sheets. There is a mix of red, black, and purple smudges where my back rested most of the night, some smudges across the pillow, and other areas. Not too much if there was any bedroom activity last night. I close my eyes try to recall anything but my mind is a montage of moving photos: blurry, unrecognizable faces. There is nothing that makes a clear picture of what went on. I see her clothes by the bed, a pretty pink lace bra and matching panties over a dark pile of shirt and jeans. I notice the door is slightly ajar. One kitchen light is on but the rest of the house remains dark, ominous.

I open my eyes when he turns his back to me to pull on some clothes. I notice there is a detailed penis drawn on his back and I’m grateful it is smudged as it tells me it is a not a real tattoo. I watch him carefully get up from the bed in order not to wake me. Well, he’s polite or he doesn’t want to deal with this awkwardness yet. I see other colorful images on his arms as he reaches his door to go out into the common area. When I am certain he is out there I sit up and pull the sheets to my chest. I look around for where my clothes might be, where my phone might be, where a bottle of water might be so I can begin combatting this hangover that is apparent in the heaviness of my eyelids and the ache throughout my body. I find my bra and underwear atop my clothes. The bra clasp is oddly still intact so I have to unclasp it. I think maybe we were in a mad rush last night, maybe. That seems like the likely truth, even if I can’t remember anything to support it. I put it on and think it was a good choice to don the lacey getup, although, I’m not sure Roger was truly my intent last night. I mean, at the back of my head it may have been but really, I just wanted alcohol and perhaps a lay. I slip into my jeans and the flimsy shirt I wore that would look awfully silly as I walked back to my place with it just on the verge of snowing outside. My phone is beneath the pile of clothes. There are two texts and a missed call from my mother. It’s Sunday morning, just after 11, so hopefully she’ll understand my lack of response. One text is jumbled words from my housemate about how she can’t find her key and the other from my roommate who is coherently wondering where I am. I flip it open to begin my replies.

The kitchen table is overturned on its side but there is not mess of beer cans or solo cups lying beside it, as though someone carefully cleared it before flipping it over. The red solo cups have been tossed in the sink that was already overflowing with dirty dishes. The counters are slick with beer and a roll of paper towels sits just beyond reach of the massive puddle, as though someone thought to clean it up and forgot quickly after setting the roll down. Some of the chairs look damp or shiny from stickiness. The floor is sticky too. Luckily I remembered my flip flops on the way out of my room, it was hard not to with that pale brown sheen covering the first foot into my room, a puddle of frozen sugary drink. Cushions are thrown onto the sticky floor where someone slept the night. A blanket, my blanket, was thrown over some of the cushions. In one of the chairs my housemate Ted is playing video games. The sound of combat hurts my head and I have to look away from the bright light and fast movement. He gives me a knowing nod. I ask what happened last night as I spot a bag of Sharpies spilling out onto the coffee table and then the red streaks on Ted’s arms that appear to be from scrubbing. A mess of green and purple is still visible even if what it was or what it said is not. Sharpies, man, Sharpies. I laugh. I look at my arms and see more clearly the obscenities and signatures decorating my chest and stomach. Just Sharpies? And Ryan made the Jungle Juice he adds. So most of the green liquid was consumed it seems. What covers the floor is beer and the adult ice tea Kyle tried making at 3 am in the morning and subsequently spilled near my doorway. A reply text from my roommates confirms he was out of the room last night, having followed his girlfriend home to calm her down after she had one too many beers. I ask Ted if he knows who might be in my room right now with dark hair. He shrugs, he left the madness early to get it on with his girlfriend and only saw Kyle making the ice tea when he came out to piss.

I rub beneath my eyes to remove any makeup that might have rubbed off there as I slept. I like Roger enough and am vain enough to want to look semi-pretty and not at all raccoon-like. I want to sneak into the bathroom which is right outside Roger’s door, feeling the beer that has made it down to my bladder, but I’m not sure how far he has moved from it. The common area is small enough where he might see me come out. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t figured out it’s me yet since I can hear him asking questions outside. How to approach this? I search for my sandals or heels or flats, I can’t remember which I wore over. All I see is that there is no female footwear in this room and not even a pair of sandals I could borrow. I stand up. The floor is cold, it makes me shiver, with the heater on high making the room itself near boiling. The curtain is open and I can see cars pulling in and I’m wondering is it really already 11 am? And what college students are driving this early on a Sunday? The ones who believe drinking under 21 is morally wrong or hate the taste of alcohol or actually felt they should get some sleep in order to have energy to finish their final project due for class on Monday. The ones that I sometimes wish I was, especially with a bladder fit to burst and a headache that requires ibuprofen and probably a hundred ounces of water and Gatorade. I tiptoe on the sticky floor, making far too much noise than I would like. But he already knows I’m here, he wouldn’t not know somebody shared his bed. I reach for the door and as I place my hand on the handle he pushes it in and comes face to face with me. I stop, wide-eyed, as though I snuck in there and this is all my fault. I know it partly is, I drank too much and I wore the lacey underwear; but he drank too much too and liked what he saw, even if with drunken eyes. He looks tired, he looks guilty, and I’m a match for that.

Blue eyes stare back at me as I nudge my door open, intending to wake her up, wake Sandra up. She is quite awake and looking hung-over although she has tried to rub away her eye makeup from last night that might have been heavily done, if her undergarments were any indication of her intentions. Or were they my intentions? I can’t even recall if I did see her unclothed, and that’s a disappointment. She is pretty when dressed and from what I could see of her body when I woke up this morning. Her arms are decorated with similar graffiti to mine. She blushes a bit and I’m not sure if I should speak first or she should. Or what to say anyway. I’m not even sure we had sex. For all I remember we got undressed and fell asleep, each in our own drunken stupor. My heart jumps up as I panic about the lack of condom wrapper evidence or used condom anywhere near my trash bin that I can recall seeing or can see now. I see her eyes follow mine. I see some panic there but then she looks me over. She grins absurdly at me and nods down toward my groin. I see I’m still wrapped up in red latex, hanging just out of my boxer shorts. Now I feel the awkwardness around my member. My cheeks had been blushing at first but they burn up when I realize it is unused, except as a decoration on me. I’m further embarrassed by the fact that she noticed this and I did not, even when pulling on my boxers. She pouts playfully— a combination of relief, disappointment, and reciprocated embarrassment—
and puts her hand on my shoulder, patting it gently, “Better luck next time.”

Creative Commons License
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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