Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Morning After

There's a striking resemblance between a hangover and the heaviness that coats the morning after an anxiety attack.

There are the physical ailments. The skin on your cheeks is dry and itchy. Your eyes hurt - you're not sure how, but they do. You're probably dehydrated, so your head aches. As you drag yourself out of bed, you start contemplating international sanctions against alarm clocks, especially alarm clocks positioned on the other side of the room. You stumble into the bathroom to start the shower and make the mistake of looking in the mirror. Your hair is a gnarled mess. Your fingernails are essentially gone. You're half-dressed in whatever you were wearing last night. Your breath tastes terrible and your glasses are smudged. A long hot shower is all you want right now, followed by a soothing cup of milky coffee and toast. But you haven't the time. There's a bus to catch, a job to do on the complete other end of the city.

There are the emotional ailments. Your recollection of the previous evening comes back in bursts. You move alternatively through embarrassment and faint fear. You feel not necessarily fragile, but raw. The covering over your organs seems thinner, more transparent than useful. You don't want to be nudged too hard or all of the black bile from last night will come tearing up your throat. You want to apologize to anyone who saw you or dealt with you, but that would be too much. While brushing your damp hair your steel yourself for the day. You're not going to think about it. You're going to move on and pretend it never happened. Yes.

Thus resolved, you drag yourself out the door. You turn a deaf ear to that voice in the back of your mind and walk out into the cold morning sun which, even behind the clouds, makes your head ache all the more on your lonely trek to the bus stop.

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