How many bottles of wine were poured into our goblets, tokens for witnessing the wedding of M and M? Goblets, that never emptied as the waiters at the vineyard hovered to keep them full. Did I drink this much because I wasn’t paying attention? Or did I welcome the chance to submerge my self-loathing, upon seeing one of my better ex-girlfriends marry a Much Better Man? A future doctor, an outdoorsman, someone who was ready to settle down, ready to get married, have kids, eager to go to church. Perhaps I am helped by my tablemates of ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends and other random acquaintances, each of us drinking our acceptance of the situation and hoping to fuck someone here as a consolation prize. None of us have dates – we are the singles table – and we are a bitter crew, straddling our 30th birthdays; M and M’s bumps on the path to their happiness, pushed to the back of the lawn. By the end of the night we are sloppy drunks. But I am driven to a random screw; I crave my apathetic lover. Can she (this once?) give me the comfort I need? Stumbling across the parking lot, I can barely open the car door; the wine hitting me hard. Someone asks if I am OK; of course I am (why didn’t he stop me?). Once I negotiate my way onto the freeway, I can’t change my mind anyways.
I wake up parked in the driveway of the ohana she rents, two blocks from the bay. How did I get here? I don’t remember exiting the freeway, I don’t remember turning into the neighborhood. How long had I been sleeping here? The sky is moonless and dark, the lights of the neighborhood have been off for a while. It’s not yet morning. The swishing sounds of gentle waves are punctuated by seal barks and gull calls, but over this I can hear my heavy breathing. The air is salty and cold but I am burning up in my sports coat. I try to take it off, but I get tangled in the sleeves. I get out of the car; the world tips over. I hold onto the frame for balance. In the dark, I look for dents or scrapes, but the car seems fine, only my tire is up on the curb. I am still fucked up drunk. I try to throw up, but I can’t, and it doesn’t matter; the alcohol is already in my blood. My head is hammering. Wrestling off my coat, I shuffle over to the gate. She’s left it unlocked. I stop, to catch my breath, to rub my temple, to consider my options.
I pull the latch and walk through, pulling the gate behind me so hard that the sound echoes down the street.