Friday, March 10, 2006

The party was thronging and I was drunk. I was wandering about in a sea of familiar faces. Squeezing past people, under peoples arms, over their feet, round chairs and so on. The house was packed. Even the stairs, there was a person sitting on nearly every step. Everyone was talking and laughing and the music was pumping away not so quietly as to allow easy thought when you weren’t talking. It was my house and I knew most of the guests. Some better than others, but in my drunken state (which most of them probably shared) I said hello warmly to everyone. It wasn’t false warmth. It was my real burning cheeks, my hot stinging throat (fresh from the vodka), and my happy wobbling gait. I was warm inside. I shook everyone’s hands as I stumbled through. As I passed some people I engaged in fleeting conversations or joined in on ones that were already going. Sometimes I think I would just amble off in the middle of a sentence (theirs or mine) or answer the question a previous person had asked me in the face of the next person. If there was confusion it was laughed off or out. I was drunk and so was everyone else for all I knew.
I was making my way through the party to get to my room. It was on the top floor. There was no one in it. I had locked it. The party was only to be downstairs. As I finally reached the top of the stairs I heard someone calling my name. I could hear them downstairs, laughing and spluttering and calling my name. It didn’t sound like an emergency. It sounded like someone had said something funny, or someone had donned a silly hat, or perhaps there were a couple of girls snogging – and whoever was shouting wanted me to come and see, I don’t know. But I was in need of some quiet. It wasn’t that I was feeling ill or exhausted, or even slightly nervous as I sometimes get when surrounded by so much stimuli – no – I had had a thought and I wanted to solidify it. That needed quiet.
As I approached my door, leaving the stairs behind, I no longer heard my name being called. The bubbling noises downstairs rumbled under my feet as I unlocked my room and stole in. Shutting the door behind me I was plunged into a murky hush. The party was a background hum and my thoughts could be heard again. I turned the desk lamp on and fell into the chair. Pushing aside some university work I located a pen and grabbed an old envelope from the wastepaper bin. It would do, I thought, a drunkard can write on a surface befitting his bedraggled comportment. My tongue out to the side, with a shiny red nose (probably), and my cheap biro scratching at the old scrap of brown paper, in between the shrivelled stamp and the address, I wrote:

This house party is like an amorphous anemone. Tangled bright and varied colours, interconnected tentacles that sway in the moonstruck ebb of drunkenness. You can traverse the multitudes like a worm or a snake, or a wriggling child in a sleeping bag. You can zigzag through the lines of vision, the airwaves of communication; you can even burst through the sensuous touches of a couple in half-embrace, tracing your path in advance with your wielded sword fist so they know that’s the way you’re going and there’s nothing that will stop you. Except perhaps a punch in the face –
There are quiet ones on the periphery, sitting watching the surging swarm of the party nucleus. Some of these quiet ones are heavy drinkers, quietly concentrating on their large glass of gin (the bottle half hidden behind one of their legs), only speaking when spoken to – and monosyllabically. Some of the peripherals are nervous teetotal onlookers, eager to dive into the swarm, but hesitant and afraid. Wide eyes like a lonely child. I’m always glad when they find each other to talk to or pluck up the courage and swathe themselves in drunkards. Lonely eyes have no place in the lap of hedonism; an environment of great ease, comfort and blur. Still others seated round the edge of the party are just too drunk, they’ve had their fill of luxury. Perhaps their stomachs are cloying, or their heads are spinning like whirligigs of despair, like interminable eye-fatiguing Catherine wheels…
The nucleus is bursting and erupting like Jupiter. Splashes of Sangria, a spray of scrumpy from a mouth, brandished brandy, launched liquor, flung framboise, chucked chartreuse… Oh the trickles of tequila, the oozing ouzo… y’know?

But who am I to glamorise alcohol? It is a complex cycle, fast-paced and difficult to break out of. But before I want to leave, the cycle is thrilling. Like the child learning to ride a bike I stay on, not knowing how difficult it is to stop, not realising that I don’t know how – and then blamo! we ride into a wall…the childhood memory of a bike, the alcohol, and I. Now someone is carrying me up the stairs but it seems like it is happening to someone else. It is experienced from a distance, someone far away is shouting my words for me and I can’t quite hear them. I am shouting inanities, blasphemies, nonsense, proposals of love, I’m singing, I’m dancing and writhing inside but really – in truth – I’m vomiting in a toilet. On my knees on the urine-damp bathroom linoleum, hands clasped unknowingly (but out of necessity) on the equally piss splattered seat. My eyes have stopped sending signals to my brain. My only thought is a sore throat, I can’t yet comprehend regret or anything so advanced. I have regressed.

1 comment:

a lady said...

wow you took me seriously. now guess the bloody poet.