I was having a perfectly lovely evening before it all went wrong.
My friend and I perched at the corner of the pub’s bar sipping glasses of single malt whiskey and discussing absurd topics like anal bleaching. Who does that, we pondered.
Two younger men came along and sat down next to us, one of them a budding history academic, and the other a professional something or another. I was very happy by this time, hugging the academic after he told me his life story in a nutshell.
My friend, who’d made some more mature man friends on the opposite direction of the bar, looked over at one point and saw me holding the hands of both boys simultaneously. We apparently also passed the time doodling indecipherable images in my notebook, several pages of which I discovered the next day.
The hours ticked on as we glowed with whisky and laughter, but there eventually came a turning point when my body gravely urged me to go home. Whiskey sipping had turned to whisky swigging, and I was about to enter dangerous territory. I said goodbye and walked steadily out into the fresh air.
I unlocked the two locks on my bike and rode down the bike path with surprising finesse. I was just fine. I focused with the remaining brainpower that hadn’t been zapped by the evening, slowly pushing the pedals and steering in a straight line while avoiding poles and people. My body knew this path like the back of its hand.
About two-thirds into the journey, though, my sense of balance betrayed me. Stopping to let a car pass, I completely lost my balance and hit the pavement with a dull thud. “Didn’t hurt, didn’t hurt,” I mocked to myself. Like an overcooked noodle, I was stuck to the pavement. Gravity had increased twofold. I struggled back up and pulled my bike up with me, swinging a leg over to get back onto the seat.
All was well. I rode onward into the stillness of the night.
I was nearly home when I slowed to turn onto my street, failing to remember that my right break was sticking and in bad need of fixing. This time, my body was hurled through the air and onto the sidewalk with a much harder sort of skid landing. I felt the impact of my entire body on the little fat pad of my right hand. I foggily remember that I began whimpering at that point, mascara running down my face (which I gathered by my not-so-hot mess reflection the next morning).
A man still out and about jogged over to assist me, and I managed to thank him as we worked together to get me upright again. I walked my bike the rest of the way home, fortunately only about 15 meters away.
I pushed my key into the front door, walked through the back door and pulled my bike in through the garden door.
That’s the last thing I remember of the evening.
And while I was not aware of my own existence after that, my husband was. He’d just got home from work, came down to the kitchen after his shower and noticed my bike out the back window. He opened the back door to find me, forehead pressed against the deck, hands neatly by my side with palms up, and breathing with a rhythm that can only signify deep sleep. I’m quite sure I could have won some planking record had he not found me. He picked up my limp body and carried it to my bed, waking me briefly to drink a glass of water and point out the empty bucket next to me.
I dry heaved for hours the next day, my body attempting to purge my wretched soul of the previous evening’s sin. I discovered a myriad of bruises on my legs and hand, presumably from either bouncing or rolling when I hit the ground. My bike also suffered. I lost my bike bell somewhere along the way, and the bike light is now dangling perilously from a single wire.
Someone was with me that night, protecting me and that little strip of world from my stupidity of drinking too much. I name him Gabriel, since he’s the one to call upon when you’re having trouble understanding the nature of your situation.
Note: I’m fully aware of how irresponsible this was. Biking while drunk is just a notch below driving drunk, and I won’t be doing this ever again.