Updated: Jan 29, 2020
I click yes to the facebook invite. An end of Year 2 Mums night out. I would have dreaded this two years ago when I was drinking. In those shit-faced days, I would have spiralled to nothing. Blackouts were my only drinking companion then. I would be in the dark hole when a burly bouncer peeled me off the dance floor and threw my slumped body into a cab.
I never used to remember getting home but someone was usually kind. I woke up with a bucket of foamy vomit next to my head and a glass of water sitting still on the bed side table. I was home. I was lucky.
Nowadays I look forward to going out. Well, sort of look forward and sort of hate. I don't have panic, which is great and I know I'm not going to make a tit out of myself, also a bonus, but socialising without pouring 6 glasses of wine down my throat is .... lets face it... a bit shit.
In fact it's painful...
It’s light in the pub. In the old days I would have pre-inebriated whilst getting glammed up. Slammed some shots and cracked a bottle. I was shaded by the time I got to any venue.
Wow, I never knew pubs were so fucking bright. My booze umbrella has been turned inside out and now I have no cover. I feel vulnerable to the elements. Nothing covers up my personality. The light shines on my skin exposing every broken part of me. I fear people can see through my pasted-on smile or notice my cheeks move with each jaw clench. I’m flushed. I swallow hard. I know I have to get through nights like this to maintain friendships, to salvage what is left of my social life.
‘You can do this’ I whisper under my breath.
I say hello to the other Mums. They’ve all dressed up. They are shiny with red lips and floaty dresses.
I love your hair…..look at you….. you look amazing.
My bullshit is unconvincing.
As are their over-excited responses.
Thanks….yes…. I got it at the plaza….great sales on at the moment……
A recognisable boozy stench washes over me as one of the mums kisses my cheek. I flinch at the unfamiliar closeness of this person. I hold back the green curry I had for dinner before it pops out and starts a breath war.
The red wine toothed woman talks at me, I don’t know her name. I’ve merely waved at her in the school carpark. But, We’re friends now, we're all best friends in this soggy booze soaked environment. Being out and away from the children - binds us. We are free from our mundane lives.We have a moment to be who we used to be. Let our tufty middle aged hair down.
Everyone apart from me.
I used to cherish that liberation. That freedom soaked in Prosecco. I made friends quickly that way. I was good at being out. Things have changed. I'm jealous of these women I hardly know. How come they can drink and I can't. how are they able to stop. It pisses me off that I can't drink sometimes, just a couple.... one for the road....shots? I wonder if these Mums are like me, diluting their drinking habits into everyones else's. Hiding a problem with facebook posts about 'time for wine'.
Tonight I will be home by ten, tucked up with a book and a peppermint tea. These mums will be linking arms, dancing and laughing. They will be holding each other’s ponytails as chicken schnitzels are regurgitated into pub toilets and giving each other very high fives.
Will ever bond with anyone again. Am I an outcast now? Can I still dance on a table when sober?
Worry fills my heart.
I head to the bar…