I am sitting in the back of my parents’ Hyundai eating potato salad with my bare hands. I am on day two of the worst hangover of all time and I am insatiable. I wanted a 99 but Circle K thwarted me again. Why is the world so against me indulging in some soft-serve sugar? I thought the smell of the petrol as I circled the car park would send me over the edge. I toyed with the idea of compromising with a Magnum but then remembered I’ve barely been able to stomach tea. I circle once more then sulk myself into horizontality into the back seat.
I feel five again.
Moving day. Moving on day. Moving up in the world day. Moving away from most of my favourite people and all of my favourite canals day.
I am smothered, ensconced by my worldly possessions – an assortment of eccentric belts, random kitchen ware, tote upon tote filled with razors, make up remover, five different lip balms. My handbag contains frozen croissants, a carton of oat milk, toiletry bag, razors, an apple, body moisturiser, and a stolen library book. I hate my past self responsible for this carnage – I do not want to meet the future self charged with sorting it all out.
Mattress protector is rolled into electric blanket is rolled into top sheet is rolled into duvet. Together, these abominable clothesmen obstruct my view of the tree-lined motorway. Just as well. If they could obstruct my consciousness from my current pain that would be equally ideal.
Cork bound. What I would give to click my fingers and be there. We are not. We could not be further from there. It’s possible I’ve been in this car for nine years. The hair growth on my legs suggests it. Every road sign chronicling the kilometres left ahead of us is a cruel jeer.
My pinafore is covered in toothpaste stains and soot. I haven’t been near a fire?
I’m leaving. This is it. Almost three years of big shmoke energy and now I’ve traded in my happiness box for a myriad collection of boxes containing the sentimental and ridiculous. Today, I left the key of number 12 on the hallway table. I checked and rechecked cupboards. I shoved still-drying knickers into a random paper bag. I swept a load of empty Lush containers into a ragged tote, amused at my stubborn certainty THAT I WILL RETURN THEM.
I absolutely won’t.
I ate a crisp sandwich standing up in the grim college house kitchen. Looked around. Are a half hash brown with vinegary ketchup. Gulp. Imagined I would feel emotional if my hangover wasn’t making feeling anything except abject fear and nausea impossible.
My mother is driving, father asleep. Both have their colourful fabric face masks still hanging, kerchief-like, around their necks. It’s very Oklahoma cowboy. Drivetime is on. Lads, this coronavirus craic is absolutely no joke. Two weeks in Dublin where everything felt perversely normal and now Mary Wilson is making me paranoid about the trips to Tesco taken sans face mask.
Thank God my bootycall to Mr Bootycaller Doctor with queried coronavirus was unsuccessful. I still wish he’d brought me icecream like he said he would, though.
Yesterday, a friend called over and I had to ask her to leave because I was puking up the self-hatred and migraine of my hangover. As in, I genuinely left her sitting in my living room while I lay on my bathroom floor in a cold sweat wondering how I was going to be vertical again. I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying because I was too focused on keeping my jaw clenched shut and absolutely not thinking about the chocolate she was able to eat with such ease. When I finally came out of the bathroom, shivering and wrapped in a fluffy purple throw like a very pale Michelin man, i wondered if it would be inappropriate to just lie down on the stairs. Forever. Instead, I managed to get enough air into my lungs to kindly ask my dear, sweet friend to please and expediently vacate the premises, all the while dreaming of the saucepan I could hug while groaning on my bed in approximately 180 seconds.
It was 5pm on a Monday and I’m too old for this.
I dropped my keys, my laptop, my swipe card into the office. I sent the final email, set up the automatic reply that kindly informs the sender I no longer work for Vita, signed out of the social media accounts and ShareDrive, disinfected the keyboard that has been the vehicle for the 100,000+ words of these diaries.
I skipped back to the car filled with the thing-ma-bobs that have defined and decorated my life. Hoped I remembered to put my vibrator at the BOTTOM of my luggage as various bags flashed their wares like floozies, the contents rolling around much like I was to ABBA on Sunday night. Finding my cigarettes was bad enough; my parents don’t need to meet Peter Rabbit.
Now I’m pissing myself laughing at the above sentence while my parents listen to Des Cahill’s Desert Island Discs. Ohhh, this day…we are still 158km from Cork city.
I am at the stage of lockdown where I am seriously considering cutting my own hair. I have been writing that sentence for the past thirteen weeks. But now, staring at my flushed reflection in the rear view mirror and the photos my mum took of me outside my house, I think this is an item that needs to be actioned.
I spend an inordinate amount of time fantasising about the cool blade of a scissors on my neck, the satisfying snip of feeling the wisps and tendrils finally fall away, the relief of feeling the weightlessness of the worlds most unflattering haircut that is my latest obsession.
I wonder if, after two years of feigning indifference, it’s finally time to give into my all-consuming desire for a fringe.
There’s a song about Louis Copeland suits playing – this is getting desperate. I’m going to end with this paragraph I found in my phone notes. Why did I feel the need to analyse my bedtime? Why do I feel the need to share it with you now?
SO MANY QUESTIONS WE WILL NEVER HAVE THE ANSWER TO.
If I don’t survive this car journey, please tell my dog I love her. And I forgive her for that time she ate my Tommy Hilfiger polka dot wedges.
No matter how hard I try, I keep going to bed at the exact same time. 23:31. I get up at 6.30am most mornings because I am a relentless overachiever and so I often tell myself I willl get a proper night’s sleep and turn in early. I will leave my evening completely free to enable this to happen and still, like clockwork, 23:30 will find me faffing around in my pastel pyjamas tidying away some item of outrageously patterned clothing or contemplating yet another superfluous feeling or pet project.
I WILL ABSOLUTELY BE ASLEEP BEFORE ELEVEN THIRTY TONIGHT. SWEAR.
I genuinely can’t think of anything making me happy right now. Life is bleak and grey and overcast and I am filled with the pervasive fear that I might just be worst person in the world.
LIES. Always things to make me happy.
- Iced coffee. Today’s saviour, particularly when drinking it kerb-side with my best friend who makes me belly laugh to the point of genuine pain.
- The lolling heads of people asleep in cars. My mum is now dozing and it has to be one of the most endearing and entertaining sights, the slack-jawed bobbing of exhausted parents. Awww.
- The final email. The exquisite, orgasmic joy of pressing “Send” then cartwheeling out your front door like an extra in The Greatest Showman.