79: “You know how I love drinking”

Sylvie woke up at 11:28 on Saturday morning feeling like absolute trash. She groaned into her pillow and willed the throbbing in her head to subside. She sat up. Her stomach revolted. She lied back down. Twelve minutes later, she tried again. This time, she managed to get her feet over the side of the bed. The floor beneath her feet was cool and unendingly soothing. Beyond her closed bedroom door, she could hear sounds of life from the apartment beyond. A toilet flushed and she heard the water running through the pipes that ran alongside her bedroom wall, the one her headboard pressed up against. Someone laughed. The cat, Josh Brolin, meowed in the hallway. Sylvie choked back the urge to vomit. Upstairs, Arnold the retiree, yawned loudly, like the cartoon version of an elderly gentleman. Sylvie imagined he was wearing blue and white striped pyjamas and slippers. She heard the sound of the bathroom door unlock and open. She braced herself and stood up, walked to her bedroom door, and opened it. As she made the tight left turn to enter the now vacant bathroom, Josh Brolin darted into her bedroom, meowing loudly, ever lured by the siren call of a closed door.

Once done in the washroom, Sylvie walked to the kitchen on unsteady feet. She entered the room through the open archway entrance to find her three roommates sitting at the white kitchen table they’d inherited from Sylvie’s Aunt Marie before she moved to Charlottetown. Sylvie slumped into the remaining available chair, also white and also from her Aunt Marie. Her three roommates, Astrid, Cam, and Nadia stared at her. Nadia looked faintly horrified. Sylvie had taken a good, long look at herself in the bathroom mirror so she understood why Nadia was horrified by the pure appearance of her. Her hair was a tangled mess, she had the remnants of last night’s lipstick smudged on her lips, but also partially her chin, and she could smell herself. She smelled like gin and the gyro she’d eaten after leaving the bar they’d gone to.

“I’ve never been this hungover in my life,” Sylvie announced to the table. Josh Brolin galloped into the room, skidding into the fridge on a tight turn before bounding over to his food dish. He ate a kibble and then stuck his whole paw in his water dish, flinging water onto the surrounding tile.

“I can’t believe you’re conscious right now,” Cam told her bluntly. Cam looked great. Her black hair was in two tight boxer braids and she wasn’t wearing make-up that she’d had on her face for longer than twenty-four hours.

“I threw up last night,” Sylvie continued. She couldn’t find the effort within herself to be ashamed of herself. She would be sometime later, whenever she could no longer feel every beat of her pulse in her fingertips and eyelids. Until then, she would simply be tired.

“Boy did you,” was Cam’s response.

“It was real excessive,” Astrid added. Sylvie was at least pleased to note that she didn’t look nearly as refreshed as Cam. She also wasn’t anywhere close to Sylvie’s level, but she definitely didn’t look her best and so Sylvie still found it vindictively satisfying.

“Good,” she said flatly. “Great. That’s what I was hoping for.”

Josh Brolin took one lone kibble out of his bowl and began kicking it around like a one-cat game of soccer. He gave it a particularly swift flick and it skittered under the stove, no doubt to rest with many of its kind.

“You also made out with a man who looked remarkably like a showgirl,” Astrid offered after a long time. Sylvie looked to her in horror. At this point, Cam had gone back to eating her avocado on toast and Nadia was still watching Sylvie in abject horror.

“I beg your pardon?” Sylvie demanded.

“You heard me,” Astrid returned. Sylvie had heard her, but she was hoping she’d heard incorrectly.

“Why didn’t you stop me?” She demanded. This she addressed to the entire table. Nadia didn’t respond, too caught up in Sylvie’s deconstructed appearance to pay proper attention. Cam’s mouth was full.

“I considered it,” Astrid answered. “But then I also thought about how funny I would find this specific moment and I decided not to. If you were wondering, this is as great as I thought it would be.”

Sylvie racked her brain, trying to recall the particulars of their night out. They had gone to a club for their friend’s birthday. Sylvie had had far too many drinks. She blamed Astrid for this. Astrid had the hardened liver of a Viking. She claimed this was due to her Swedish ancestry, but Sylvie had seen Astrid’s Swedish mother get drunk off a singular white wine spritzer one night during a trip to their family cottage so she wasn’t so sure that was really the case.

“Also, he was incredibly magnetic,” Astrid added as an afterthought. “If you hadn’t done it, I might’ve.”

Josh Brolin, tired of trying to claw the escaped kibble out from the recesses of the stove, galloped over to the kitchen table. From a sitting position, he leapt onto Cam’s lap and began nosing around her arms in an effort to get to her avocado and toast. Cam batted his paws away. He purred like a freight train. It was his favourite game.

“He wasn’t that magnetic,” Cam interjected, uprooting Josh Brolin from her lap. He tumbled to the ground only to leap back up to the table, this time on Astrid’s lap. He reached for Cam’s breakfast from there instead.

“He had a certain dreamy quality about him,” Astrid argued mildly. She wrapped one arm around Josh Brolin and held him close to her chest. With her free hand, she held onto his paw, the one he was trying to grab Cam’s toast with, and pressed on the pads of his foot so that his claws would extend.

“Would you call that dreamy?” Cam retorted, head tilted to the side. “I thought he looked like Liza Minnelli.”

“You let me make-out with someone who looks like Liza Minnelli?!” Sylvie demanded, feeling just as horrified with herself as Nadia looked.

“Yes,” Astrid answered simply. “Yes, I did.”

Later that night, Sylvie received a text message from someone who’d been inputted into her phone unbeknownst to her. He was down as Noel Woolf, complete with wolf emoji. Sylvie was lying sideways across her bed, head hanging off one side, feet off the other. Josh Brolin was lying on her stomach, snoring loudly. She was wearing her pyjamas, having never changed out of them all day. Cam had gone to the gym and Astrid had gone to work. Nadia had swept the kitchen and cleaned the bathroom. Sylvie, meanwhile, had spent the entire day lying in her bed in her pyjamas, having moved only to use the washroom and make dinner. She’d had Kraft Dinner. Nadia, at that point, had also been making dinner, but she had cooked a casserole.

Sylvie looked Noel Woolf up on Facebook. His profile picture featured him in a magenta jumpsuit with a black jacket covered in feathers. She flicked through more of his profile pictures, a lot of the same, and then finally sat up. Josh Brolin squawked and tumbled to the ground. He bolted from her room. Sylvie followed after him, walking down the hall, past the bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room to Astrid’s room at the other end of the apartment. Astrid was sitting in her bed and Cam was sitting on her floor. The two of them were each reading, listening to softly playing music from Astrid’s incredible sound system. Sylvie sat down on Astrid’s bed and held out her phone.

“Someone named Noel texted me,” she announced, showing Astrid the photo she’d found of him on Facebook. Cam craned her neck so that she could see as well without having to leave her place on the floor.

“See?” She said, waving a hand in the direction of the phone. “Liza Minnelli.”

Sylvie was both relieved and horrified to learn her suspicions that this was the man she’d drunkenly made out with were correct.

“He invited me to his show on Friday,” Sylvie explained. “Apparently he’s in a band.”

“Good,” Astrid returned. “That genuinely makes me feel better about his leather pants.”

“I get that,” Cam nodded.

“Should I go?” Sylvie asked. Josh Brolin wandered into the room. He flung himself at Cam’s knees and began purring loudly, even though she had yet to even acknowledge him.

“Yeah,” Astrid shrugged. “We’ll all go. It’ll be nice. You know how I love drinking.”

Sylvie did know. She texted Noel back and told him she’d see him there. He sent back eleven winking emojis. She showed Cam and Astrid.

“Well, at least you know he’s keen,” Cam offered. “Regardless of how much he looks like Liza Minnelli.”

Sylvie wasn’t sure if it was meant to be reassuring or not. Likewise, she wasn’t sure if she was reassured or not. She supposed she’d find out soon enough.

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