“I tell myself it’s not blood, because it isn’t blood. It’s actually the two bottles of wine I drank that night in Belfast, which I was currently expelling from my mouth.“
I wrote that just over a year ago, in an article aptly titled I tell myself its not Blood, a lengthy piece which talks about the history of alcohol and my experiences with it, even had a wee observation on drinking culture.
The opening to that article is a morbidly familiar position for me. Time and again I find myself boking in the toilet, or out the window, or in a bin, or on the my bedroom floor- all cause I can’t keep down my drink. I talk alot on here about the drinking and the craic that comes along with it, but I don’t talk about the price that much.
In this entry I’m gonna rectify that. Like my previous article I’ll talk about a variety of stories instead of just one, I hope you enjoy what I have to say.
I don’t have to tell myself it’s not blood, because it’s not. It’s some concoction of Vodka, blackcurrant, Buckfast and…raspberries? I don’t remember eating raspberries, but the bile currently exuding from my mouth and onto the ground outside my kitchen window looked a lot like raspberries.
The sun was up. I’d just returned from a drinking session at a friends house and I was dead tired. But I knew that I couldn’t go to sleep until I boked so here I was, at six o’clock in the morning, on a beautiful summers day, choking on my own vomit.
I stumbled on into bed and slept for what felt like an hour but turned out to be ten.
There’s nothing worse than maxing out on sleep when you’re that hungover. Your entire body is in a stage of detoxing all the poison you gulped down the night before. You lay there in this sickly state, trying to escape into the realm of sleep but the gates are closed and the light is dragging you out of bed.
When I returned to the kitchen in that sunny afternoon, I saw the trail of vomit outside my window that had mostly dried up. It looked a little like Papier-mâché. It gave me flashbacks to GCSE Art which sent shivers down my spine. It’s bad enough at work with singers playing George Ezra songs that trigger this shit, but being reminded of the shitty pulp paper I made when I was sixteen by my own vomit?
That’s fucking grim.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning the flat. As I swept, mopped and bleached the shower, one scene was stuck in my mind. At the sesh the night before we were in the living room, passing around a phone, each of us selecting a different track to play. I put on some great bangers from Michael Kiwanuka to Kendrick Lamar. But my tunes only really became eventful when I put on one of my personal favourite tunes; Kanye West’s POWER.
This tune got me up and dancing, which everyone seemed ecstatic for because I’m usually so wound up and composed. One girl told me to “TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF” and I had a good bit in me so I was like “y’know what? Good idea!” so here I was, with my shirt off, dancing like a maniac.
Not my proudest moment, I’ll admit. But the group seemed to like it. One guy saying to his friend “that’s a man’s body” while another said “I’d be hard right now if I weren’t too drunk” which, I guess is a compliment.
This scene is seared into my brain. Power is like four minutes long and I’d taken my shirt off a minute in and after two minutes…the effect had worn off. I was just some muscly cunt with his shirt off, clapping his hands and yelling for the rest of them to get on up.
The guy who owned the flat we were in turned the tune off early. He was absolutely mortified that a straight boy beat him in a lip sync battle that he didn’t even know was going on. He looked around the room as I put my shirt back on and said “…How am I supposed to top that.”
This drunk memory haunted me the entire day. It distracted me while I was cleaning the bathroom sink and I accidentally bleached my flatmate’s toothbrush. I rinsed it out and for a solid twenty seconds wondered whether this would be enough. Could my flatmate survive brushing his teeth with a brush laced with bleach?
But realising that a strong wind could decapitate the poor bastard, I decided not to risk it. Threw out the brush and bought him a new one. Fucking pissed me off having to spend my own money just so I don’t find my flatmate foaming at the mouth on the bathroom floor.
I’ve experienced a lot of kind of pain in my life. Physical, mental, emotional. I once got an ingrown toenail ripped out with no painkillers. I once worked an eight hour shift at KFC with a case of haemorrhoids. I’ve gotten punched in the throat, had an apple thrown at my head and been kicked in the dick more times than I care to remember.
But there’s very few pains that possess that constant, dull agony of a hangover. That taste that lingers for the entire day. Throbbing head, gut that feels like a toilet, that sharp pierce from the back of your neck stabbing it’s way into your brain. It’s awful. There’s worse pains but in a state like that, it’s hard to remember.
A year or two ago I got back home from a night out in Belfast. I’d two bottles of red wine alongside some buckfast in me which I was hoping would be kept at bay by the KFC I had before going out. But as soon as I laid there in bed, I felt this red sea climbing up from inside me. I leaned over the side and let it all out.
After I’d coughed up the last of it, I turned on the light. It was damn near the worst sight I’d seen in my life. It was this bloody cocktail of meat and bone. I picked up the scraps with the Guns and Roses t-shirt I’d worn that night and went back and forth between the bathroom, dumping the remains in the toilet as quietly and drunkenly as possible.
I spent forty odd minutes going back and forth, trying to clean that carpet. I’d made a mess of the shirt in the process. Which saddened me, cause it was a gift from a friend…sort of.
A while before this whole ordeal I’d been filming my A-level short film. It required going up to Banagher dam, this ten mile trek up to this beautiful lake in the Sperrin mountains. My friend wasn’t the most reliable person. He’d miss shooting dates, he was hard to get into contact with- it was a real fucking bitch trying to get him somewhere. He’s one of those guy’s who you hate when he’s not around but love when he is, he’s got that effect on people.
One day he finally shows up for filming. It’s me and him, just marching up this pathway. By the time we get there he says we need to trade clothes. I gave him my turtleneck and he gave me his t-shirt. It was a while fucking site, us changing in this gorgeous mountain valley. It was damn near the gayest thing I’d ever done with him. Well, second gayest.
I fancied this girl back in school. I wasn’t in a good place and it was really apparent. I’ve tendencies to be obsessive, borderline creepy and I try to curb that as much as I can. But back then I just couldn’t. I nearly broke my hand drunkenly punching the ground cause I tried texting this girl but I’d no signal and I was angry about it so…I had to punch something.
I’d texted her asking if she wanted to go to the formal with me. She let me down gently, which was nice. Later on she’d end up going to the formal with another guy cause he’d already bought her a ticket so she had to go. It was funny, I took the piss out of her for it afterwards.
Some friends that I had at the time thought that I was a pure alcoholic, which wasn’t the case. I’d go months at a time without a sip but when I drink, I go all out. Same friend of mine had her birthday on Halloween, me and the girl I’d fancied were going.
For a month or two before hand I saved up for this black suit I’d be wearing. Well, suit jacket really. At this point in time I stole money from my parents. Just a few pound here and there to pay for food at school or bus tickets. The trick to stealing is never to steal anything that’d be missed. A few pound coins can be shrugged off. Twenty pound note? That brings questions.
I didn’t eat meals at school for a few weeks. All that money I stole I saved up for the suit. Starved myself for the hopes of curting some doll, that’s how fucking weird I was. I got that jacket. Looked decent enough. Went to the party. Didn’t get the girl, she ended up going with my friend- the t-shirt guy.
I didn’t take it too well. I’d suspected something like this would happen. She always seemed more eager to talk to him than me. I should have took the hint there and then but back then I hadn’t much sense and worse I was recovering from a state of emotional turmoil. I’d latch onto anything to prevent me from hurting myself or others so I latched onto this girl who just wasn’t that into me.
I’d a good few pints in me at the party. Heading back and forth between the toilet, cause I’ve only one kidney and honestly there’s only so many pints a kidney can hold at a time. In the toilets I ran into my friend again. He’d spent the night going back and forth between the main bar and the smoking area, where he’d been talking to this girl.
Most people start smoking because the person they fancied at the time were smokers and they wanted to impress them, so they smoke. But that person leaves and now you’re addicted, so you keep on smoking. Some people start smoking because they work stressful jobs and just need those breaks. This guy started smoking because he likes them old Film Noir movies. Everyone in them smokes so he smokes. Dude is giving himself lung cancer for the aesthetic. I always hated that about him.
I was in a bad state. I found myself fallen on the ground, head leaning against a urinal. Friend and I were just laughing. You laugh when you’re in that state, too drunk to be sad. He lifts me up, hugs me and whispers into my ear “here, I’m probably gonna go with her tonight” he knew I liked her and I guess he was- well, he wasn’t asking permission cause it’s not mine to give.
I think he just wanted me to know that it was happening, that he liked me and that he wanted things to be ok between us. I was really goddamn drunk so I said “well, I need to curt someone tonight” and then I kissed him.
That was straight up the gayest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The two of us burst into a fit of laughter. I fell back on the floor, he was hysterically saying “WHAT THE FUCK!” we could hardly breathe, we were laughing so hard. I got back up and we went to the bar. Things were different between us now. Like, at school a lot of people thought we were gay but we are damn near the straightest men alive- and neither of us had ever kissed a guy before so, it was a thing.
He bought us some shots of sambuca, I downed mine and ran back to the toilet to boke it all up. I think I boked two or three times that night. I got drunker, more unruly. At one point I went outside and saw the two of them going with eachother and I started pushing him away- trying to start some kind of scrap. A few other lads pulled me away, got me back to my senses. I went home soon after that.
When I saw him again we were at school, sitting beside one another in registration. I didn’t talk to him but he had some stuff to say. He smiled and said to me “you’re the better kisser” the look I had on my face made that smile fade away real fast. It was a stupid thing to say. It was something I would have said, and I hated myself so you better believe I hated him.
Soon after that they started going steady and I somehow managed to get worse. Before hand I was a raging asshole, now I was an insufferable cunt that just sucked the life out of everything. Alienated a lot of people during this time. Made a dick of myself on a few occasions.
I strained that friendship I had with this guy, a guy I’d thought of as a best friend. I was alone, with this black rot seeping inside of me. I’d failed an A-level and ended up spending a year going to tech in Derry, an absolute abortion of a city. I met some good people there of course but…it’s Derry.
I got better, over time. Became more composed. Things got better after a house party at another friends. Me and him went outside to talk some real shit, I told him that I was in some kind of severe depression. He told me that he’s been on anti-depressants, that a lot of the people we know are in the same shit. “This fucking generation, man” he said “there’s something wrong with us.”
I often think about that formal at school. How drunk I got. Drunk enough to unwind and dance with my friends. After we left the place all of us went to this pub out in the middle of buck fuck nowhere. I’d had a few drinks there, might have boked there as well. Tried avoiding some cunts at school who liked to take the piss out of me.
Some people think they’re better than me cause they think they’re smarter or more sociable or I don’t fucking know. I’m not wise. I’m not pretty or handsome. I might be clumsy, might talk weird and walk weird and be weird but I know one thing for certain. I am better man than those cunts ever were, are or will be.
I’d got dropped off at the Flyover in Maghera. This concrete monstrosity carved into the countryside, right next to the Glenshane road. You want a bus to Derry or Belfast- you go to the Flyover.
It was three o’clock in the morning in October. I’d missed the last bus out by at least forty five minutes. I took a piss under the highway bridge. As I stumbled across the pathway but soon found myself collapsing against the wall. I sat there in the cold, in my cousins suit, with a stream of piss heading downhill towards me. I was cold and alone, hovering above the Rainbow road.
I wondered if I’d die there. I didn’t even care. Back in GCSE I’d often stay behind after school to work on my Artwork. I wasn’t as skilled as the other students but I tried my best. Ended up with a C overall. In the Autumn I’d march on down to this concrete monstrosity in the dark, the only lights being that of passing cars. I’ve climbed up this hill a hundred odd times for poker nights with my friends and a few nights out to the pub. I skipped two classes one day for an interview for tech, took a nice stroll round Craigadick route in my best suit.
This concrete monstrosity is a part of me. If I were to have died, I would happily die here. But I didn’t. My Ma came and picked me up forty five minutes after I called her. Car ride home was quiet, as it always was. I was in such a state that my Ma had to help me into the house- I boked right there in the hallway.
My Ma ended up cleaning that up. I’m proud to say that’s the last time she’s had to do that. Des Lynch cleans up his own vomit. A month or two after I’d boked up that chicken and red wine cocktail on my bedroom carpet, my Da ended up having to remove the whole thing. Stain wouldn’t go away and the boke had soaked through, leaving this nasty moulded bit of carpet in its wake.
I spent one morning scraping that off the floor, hungover.
In those kind of states I reflect on myself. My fears and regrets mostly. I have this fear that one day some girl I used to talk to will show up at work. The real nightmare scenario is that she’ll start working there and will tell everyone how much of a cunt I used to be.
There’s this look people give me when my friends tell them about me. They tell them about all the crazy shit I did, the things I’ve said- and the way they look at me changes. They look at me like I’m a freak, like I’m dangerous or some shit. I hate that look. This vast oversimplification of my character by a person who doesn’t even know me. They judge me before I even have time to open my mouth. I’m always that guy to them from then on out and I resent it so much.
It’s that look I’m hoping to prevent by writing these articles, reveal the real me- warts and all. But granted, some of the shit I have done- when written down- does seem a bit dodgy.
A lot of the women I’ve been interested in have told me the same thing, that I’m prone to self pity. I disagree, I’m prone to self loathing. But it’s not much of an upgrade. At the end of the day you ought to look at all the shit you’ve done, the way you’ve treated people and you need to make peace with it. It’s like drink- if you can’t keep it down it’ll only come back up to make a mess. If you make a mess, you need to clean it up, you need to learn from it- make it count for something.
So there I was in my friends flat, reflecting on my life and trying to keep that vodka and blackcurrant down. My friend’s flatmate had returned from a night out. He got himself a wee McDonalds. Their repertoire reminded me of the way I get on with my flatmate, except both of us obviously got laid a hell of a lot less compared to these two.
His flat mate is looking at me, eating a McNugget. “You gay?” he asks. “Naw lad,” I say “I’m straight to a fault“. He finishes the McNugget and says “You’re in a flat with three gay boys at five o’clock in the morning. What exactly does that say about you?” All three of them are looking at me now. “Well,” I say “it just goes to show my taste in women.”
The last tune I put on was Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan. Their TV couldn’t understand my accent so one of the other boys were kind enough to say it for me. It was dawn now. I remember staying over at a friends house after a sesh in Maghera. I wake at noon and head on up to the town to get some money or some food. The walk up is blistering. Its summer and the sun is mowing you down, feels like the eyes of God have condemned you to Hell.
I’ve walked home at night and at noon, never at dawn. So when the song ends, I leave. It’s six degrees outside, not a cloud in the sky. I’ve bruises on my knees from that stupid dancing. I’ve bruises on my hands from clapping too hard. The streets are dead, the city is mine alone and I stumble home in the early hours of the morning like a whore.
The fact that I boked outside means that I don’t have to clean up my mess. The rain will wash it away, along with the mold on the dirty mop and the flies swarming around the bins that haven’t been emptied since 2002.
The rain will come, someday. In the meantime I’ll try not to boke so much.