We had a very short love affair, Tequila and I. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a love affair. It was more of a one night stand. We flirted, sure. And when we were both at the same party we’d cast seductive glances at each other while hanging out with other people. I gravitated more toward vodka and wine, whereas Tequila saddled up to my sluttier friends that most definitely had HPV. Still, I wasn’t immune to the allure. Some nights you’d find us sharing a quick kiss in the corner or a sloppy make out in the middle of the party, but it never went much further than that. I always knew when to call it quits. When to get out before I got hurt.
And then, one day, I didn’t. It was the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college. The dangerous time when I had been binge drinking for a year, so I thought I knew what I could handle, mixed with the sheer fact that I was 19 and an idiot.
It’s still pretty hazy, that night Tequila and I went all the way. I know a group of friends and I had played chandeliers in the off-campus apartment we were partying in. Flip cup followed soon after, and I’m somewhat positive I partook in a beer bong competition. I know that when Tequila and I first got together that night, I did the whole salt and lime foreplay/afterplay. Round one was fine. We had been down that road before. But rounds two, three, four, and five? That was new territory. As I got bolder and drunker, I ignored the help of salt and fruit, and I shunned even using a shot glass. I puckered up my lipstick smeared face and deep throated the bottle, letting the lukewarm liquid burn my throat.
Tequila threw me around the apartment that night. I hooked up with the guy I pretended was my boyfriend in the bathroom. Twice, I think. I jumped up on the Ikea dining table and danced, even though no music was playing at the time. I broke the Ikea dining table later that night when I decided to try dancing on it again. I threw up in the sink. I threw up in the toilet. And I threw up in the car on the way back to my place.
That was the last night I flirted with Tequila. That was the last night I flirted with even the idea of Tequila.
For six whole years, I avoided the drink like it was poison. Because you know, it is, in fact, fucking poison. I couldn’t smell it. I couldn’t look at it. I couldn’t even be around it. As soon as Tequila arrived at the party, I Irish exited out of that bitch as quickly as possible. When people boasted about the best marg specials, I silently sipped on my sangria and avoided looking at the acid-green drink.
I didn’t care how they tried to dress the situation up, how great they said it tasted, or how much they swore I would like it if I just gave it another chance. I said no firmly, loudly, and conclusively each and every time.
And then, as it always happens in every story about a girl who swore off love, only to find it in the place she least expected it, I took Tequila back. I was 25-years-old (which is how old I am, currently. So, this is a recent story. Like, very recent. Like, I’m still hungover, recent). I had been day drinking in a hip area where people day drink, gossiping about enemies and gossiping even harder about friends. It was 5 p.m., and my best friend and I debated where to get food and drinks that would propel us into the night out that we swore we’d be able to accomplish.
Naturally, we settled upon Mexican food, because when you’re sloshed and in the mood for a meal that will absolutely destroy your colon, you go towards something cheesy and covered in sauce. We drunkenly ambled our way to the nice restaurant that was not in our price range and sat ourselves down right in the middle of the well-thought-out floor plan. Our waiter immediately set down a plate of chips and salsa because he obviously knew his audience. Just as we were coming up for air after inhaling the entire appetizer, he returned with two glasses of something pink, icy, and lethal-looking.
“Ladies, here’s a sample of our famous, frozen, strawberry margarita. Try it on the house!”
And with that, he plopped the cups down in front of each of us and walked away.
Now, this wasn’t the first time I had been reintroduced to Tequila in the six years since we broke things off. Shots had been passed off on me, margs had been offered to me, and tequila sunrises had been purchased for me — all that I turned down. But something about sitting across from my best friend, shoveling carbs down my throat, and looking at a free pink drink, made me lean forward and suck on the straw.
That shit. tasted. good.
Like, really good. Two hours later, we had both devoured wet burritos the size of a Schrute child and were polishing off our second pitcher of strawberry margaritas. And honestly, things never seemed better. I was officially over my aversion to Tequila and life was fucking good. I had found my one, true, alcohol love. I couldn’t wait to take my friends up on marg specials again, and I was envisioning the Instagrams I could take on Cinco De Mayo now that I wasn’t allergic to the required drink.
And honestly, if we would have left right then, things might have turned out differently. But that’s not how a night full of drinking usually ends. And so, we decided to have one last shot before leaving for the next bar. And that shot, that extra dose of pure Tequila, was my downfall.
I stalked my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s Instagram all the way back to the beginning that night. We broke up nine years ago. We broke up before I even flirted with Tequila. But still, I looked at every single one of her pictures. I even commented on one saying “you’re so beautiful.”
We’ve never even met each other. She doesn’t know who I am.
I managed to fall off of a curb or an invisible crack in the sidewalk and scratched my back so bad that my mom said I really should have gotten stitches. It still hasn’t fully healed.
I cried at the bar. Oh, how I cried at the bar. I cried about my childhood dogs that passed away. Four years ago. I cried about the fact that my parents are far away and that I don’t see them enough and that they’re started to grow gray. I cried because I hadn’t gotten mozzarella sticks yet, and I really, really wanted them.
And I ended the night, as one does, alternating between the toilet and the sink as I vomited up everything I had eaten within the past fourteen years of my life.
I didn’t wake up the next day. Not like, I woke up a few times and then went back to sleep. I just didn’t wake up. At 6 p.m. my vitals were checked to ensure I was still alive. I drank some water, threw it back up, and went back to sleep.
When I finally emerged a mere 36 hours after I consumed the alcohol, I was but a shell of my former self. It was like I went to battle and returned. I didn’t have the skip in my step that I used to. I had seen shit out there, and I couldn’t go back to the way things were before. Laughter seemed a long way off, and being around alcohol was no longer a possibility. Being around Tequila was even less of a possibility. It was now utterly impossible.
Now, I’m no longer jealous of friends who order the two for one margs. I don’t feel left out when a group of my slutty college friends get together and take turns rubbing necks with Tequila. I feel nothing when they make fun of me or attempt to peer pressure me into joining them. Once upon a time, I was weak. I was broken down. I was easily manipulated and would wallow in self-doubt over Tequila. Wondering if it was really that bad. Wondering if it deserved a second chance.
But now? Now, I know the truth. A truth you can only learn by time, experience, and living. A truth that takes some people years to understand. A truth some people *never* understand. Because no matter how seductive, taunting, or fun Tequila might seem, it’s not real. It’s not right. It doesn’t love you. What it all comes down to is this: Tequila is the goddamn devil, and it can burn in fucking hell..
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