“Come on, wake up, we gotta go..” My dad said, in a brisk, slightly annoyed tone. The same tone he had used with me literally thousands of times before. In countless, seemingly futile, attempts to rouse me from a near comatose state.
I was notoriously difficult to wake up, and in this particular instance I was viscously hung over from the previous nights debauchery. Difficult as it may have been, getting me out of bed was one of my dads favorite past times, or at least it seemed that way considering how often he chose to do it.
“Come on we’ve got to go” he said again, louder and more enunciated, shaking me just a little bit this time.
I attempt to crack open my eyes, and look around. “Bad idea” i thought, and snapped them shut as quickly as I could. Suddenly aware that I was not where I was supposed to be. I must have passed out on the living room sofa, a bad habit of mine as a teenager. I routinely got too stoned and knocked out while watching some mindless comedy on one of my parents oversized televisions surrounded by the crumbs of half eaten snacks.
“Good you’re awake” he said confidently trying to convince both himself, and I, that his last statement were explicitly true.
Since his days in the military, my father gets up early, like really early. 5:30 am on the nose. Wether he needed to be awake or not. One could make an argument that getting up that early any morning is a little crazy, but every morning…!? The sun isn’t even up yet. Why are you? It’s as though he took my being asleep as a personal affront for some reason. Like I had the gaul to insult time itself by being asleep past 7AM. That being said, arguing with him was no small task, and certainly not a position I was willing to put myself in on a regular basis. Especially not today of all days.
Most mornings in which my father was greeted by the wonderful sight of his nearly adult man child of a son sweatily booze snoozing on one of his expensive leather couches he would just pat me on the head and cover me over with the nearest inexplicably too small decorative blanket, which knowing my mother was never very far away. Then he’d quietly slink into the kitchen to make his instant coffee before work. Doing his best impression of a smaller, quieter man. After all even though he thought I should probably be awake, he loved me more than anything and let me sleep, against his better judgement. Not the case today. It was this poor bastards unenviable duty to try and get me upright. Lucky him.
My Dad, however, is nothing if not persistent. Which one way or another tends to get him what he wants.
Anyway. Back to me. Hangover. TV. Snacks. Couch.
The next issue on the docket was my head.
Holy Ouch Batman. My head is killing me, or was at least trying to, it seemed. Every heart beat felt like a dull axe being swung slowly and incessantly into the top of my cranium. A nice little thank you note. Courtesy of last nights version of me. You know the one. That version of you that’s always pretty positive that early morning you, will be totally ok with whatever fuckery you’re taking part in at that moment. The proverbial devil on your shoulder that whispers “it’ll be fine! Tomorrow is so far away” which is of course exactly the kind of lies the gullible drunkard on the other proverbial shoulder wants to hear and predictably agrees to without question. Yet the moment the sun peaks over the horizon, in what should be a display of peaceful, joyous, serenity, not the boundless dread and crippling anxiety that now occupies the pit of your stomach, that asshole has disappeared leaving morning you to deal with the ensuing chaos of responsibility.
I make a feeble effort to peel my face off the aforementioned leather upholstery, prop myself up, and wipe the drool away. Looking remarkably like a baby giraffe trying to golf or maybe play the piano. In my defense most things tend be difficult when your hands are as asleep as you are hungover. Also had my father put rum in his coffee? I definitely smell rum, and while he definitely enjoyed his nightly alcoholic delight, it was never until the days tasks were well zipped up and handled. Nope this was not a Caribbean coffee, the stench was my saliva. “Great” I thought “even my drool smells like the floor of a shitty dive bar.”
As the events of last night slowly made their way back into my pounding skull I sincerely wish they hadnt. Even fuzzy and without definitive detail the images were not ones I needed with my affairs in their current state. I do my best to push them aside. The metaphorical, large, angry monster of my own making feverishly trying to escape from inside my head took immediate precedence. It would seem that I had gone a little bit hard at my going away party. Which, i suppose, is what going away parties were for anyway, right?
“How are you feeling?” my dad asked unaware of how cruel a question that truly was. Finally, kind of awake, I get a look at his face. Immediately my perception of the situation changes. What seemed like annoyance was, in actuality , sadness with a healthy side of stress. This was after all the day that his oldest son was moving 3000 miles away. “Not super great” I answered half-heartedly. “What a shmuck I was.” I thought to myself visibly shaking my head a bit in disgust.
“The U-Haul is almost packed, are you ready togo?” My dad asked even though he was positive of the answer. He has a habit of asking questions he knows the answer to hoping he would be wrong for his own sake and sanity.
Of course I wasn’t ready. I went and got shitfaced with my friends instead of doing what I was supposed to do, as is tradition at 19 years old, and can you blame me? I was leaving everything I had ever known behind. Which is scary if you are an adult with experience and a plan. I was none of that. One thing I did posses was confidence. Confidence in myself and my abilities. Confidant that things would work out. I was also pretty confident that today would be fine. So far so wrong. Little did I know that life is hard. Mine had not been up to that point. I wasn’t ready for any of this shit, but I was 19 and had the youthful ignorance and hubris to prove it.
“What time is it?” I mumbled doing my best impression of a not hungover person even though I was still obviously and brutally out of it. . “5:30” he said trying to hide his dread of leaving and immense relief that I was actually upright. Looking awake but not ready to kick the unsuspecting metaphorical ass of the day like he usually did.
“Here goes nothing I thought....”