When my mom was visiting, a colleague from NY came over to our office here in London for work in January. It was piercing cold out, and that day had been rough. I hadn’t had more than a salad the whole day and was ready to go home when said colleague popped by my desk and asked if I wanted to hang out after work since she was heading back to the States that weekend.
“Sure,” I said, not knowing that I was about to make the mistake of the new year.
That evening, a couple of us headed to a bar nearby – we soon retreated indoors and had our first round of lychee martinis. It went down my throat with a nice soothing buzz. It couldn’t have been later than 7, but the sky was pitch black outside. We had a couple more and started to swap stories. I felt my head spin, possibly because I was drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. I knew I had to bail, but it was just 8pm at that point. I had told Mom that I would be back “no later than 7.30”, so, being the good Asian daughter I thought I was, I texted her explaining I was going to be late and asked her to have dinner first without waiting for me. A half hour and more drinks later, another colleague of mine bailed and I went back out with him, completely intoxicated.
I wasn’t walking straight, and I didn’t feel right.
Ever since I met the boyfriend, we have been progressively drinking less. We don’t drink much alcohol – maybe two glasses of wine each a week, or even less. I just didn’t grow up with alcohol, and my body has long given up to process that properly.
But that night, I threw caution to the wind.
I made it back to my apartment in one piece, which was a miracle in itself. My head was throbbing. I wanted to vomit, but Mom was there, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of her, even though:
a) She could see that I was completely wasted
b) She could smell the alcohol off my breath from a meter away.
She had my dinner out on the table, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I wasn’t hungry, but I wasn’t full either. My head felt like it was close to dying, and all I wanted was to throw up and go to bed to sleep off the headache. But I knew that I had to finish my dinner semi-convincingly.
Three spoons in, I gave up. The need to throw up and get everything out was more important than saving any face I have left. And as bad as I looked in front of my mom, I couldn’t lie to myself. I went to the bathroom, did what I had to do, took a shower, and then plopped onto bed.
“Your hair’s completely wet,” Mom complained. I know and I don’t like that, but I was too tired, too giddy, and I had learned my lesson.
Mom knew at that point that I was not to be reprimanded. I had learned. She just reminded me “not to do this again”, and I felt like a teenager, a miscreant and an erratic daughter all at once. She then helped me dry my hair and made sure I was OK before I lulled off to dreamland.
The next morning, I felt better. But I also resolved to stay away from alcohol unless necessary – and even then, I will make sure I’m not drinking on an empty stomach and I will not have more than two glasses. It’s just not worth my trouble.