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The mirror that stared back at her revealed creases from her pillowcase and one cheek with more blush than the other. She shuffled through a small shoebox of meds in hopes of finding Advil or Tylenol, only to resort to texting Todd when neither showed up.
“Toddddddddddddd,” she sent in her first text. “Did you take the last aspirin?” she followed up immediately.
The night before had spiraled quickly. A Halloween party that began in a loft in a different part of town spiraled when John and Todd pitched going to a dive bar nearby. Her Stranger Things costume as Nancy didn’t land as hard as Todd’s costume as Steve. Todd, after all, had the hair for it which gave him the natural advantage. Katie, dressed as some non-descript version of Ariana Grande, asked her, “Wait, what are you?” before looking at Todd and saying, “Ohhhhhhhhh, I get it.” It was not her ideal start to the night.
Todd and John had skipped out of the party early. Halloween falling on a Tuesday did not lend itself to going out as hard as they would’ve liked.
“Wait, did they already go?” Caroline asked while sipping punch from a clear plastic cup.
She turned her head over her shoulder only to drunkenly respond, “Oh… yeah, I guess they did.”
“Well isn’t that nice of them,” Caroline responded with a snarky tone. “That’s the second time Todd’s ghosted on me this week.” She was, of course, referring to Todd’s last-minute decline of her invitation to take her ring shopping. He claimed he had a last minute client lunch, but Caroline knew that was complete and utter bullshit.
They each looked down at their drinks and mentally weighed whether they should leave the Halloween party or head to the bar a couple blocks away. “I mean,” Caroline paused, “I think they’re watching the end of the baseball game so…”
“We don’t need them to have fun,” she interrupted. “Let’s go get some more drinks.”
This was one of the last, if not the last memories she had from the night before. As she lingered in her bathroom hoping aspirin would appear out of thin air, she could taste the cheap vodka that had clearly been dumped from a handle into the punch bowl. The only remnants that remained from the night were her punch-stained white blouse and Todd’s Members Only jacket that he’d purchased from a thrift store hours before the party.
Her phone buzzed. “I’m sorry, babe, I took the last ones this morning.” He finished the iMessage with the grimacing face emoji in hopes of not being in the dog house. Without responding, she opened her Postmates app and went to Walgreens where she entered information for a bottle of Advil, a large Pedialyte, and some eyeliner she’d run out of over the weekend.
“Caroliiiiiiiiiiine,” was her next text, meant to be written in the same vein as her original text to Todd. “HOW ARE YOU AT WORK RIGHT NOW.”
“…” immediately showed up.
“Um,” Caroline fired back. “Fun Fact: I’m not.”
“OMG,” she responded. “Please tell me you called in sick.”
“Mama took a sick day,” Caroline told her. “AND I canceled my after-work spin.”
It was the shot of life she needed, albeit a small one considering how bad her headache was. “Can we please please please do something?” she asked. She didn’t want to leave the apartment and clean the makeup off of her face, but misery loves company and she knew she needed to motivate somehow.
After a brief stint of silence, Caroline finally responded positively. “Well, I just threw up in the shower.” This wasn’t the first time Caroline had done so. In fact, it was standard protocol for her in college so this amazed no one. Following up after a series of “hahahahaha” texts, Caroline pitched an idea – “What if I pick up to-go salads from Leaf and come over and watch Netflix all day?”
She hadn’t thrown up yet, but the idea of shoveling dry spinach into her mouth made her want to physically die. “Can we do burrito bowls instead? There’s a Chipotle LITERALLY across the street from me.”
“I’m getting an Ubes now,” Caroline responded.
The thirty minutes between their text conversation and when Caroline actually arrived at her door seemed like an eternity. In the time between, she had not only showered but made her bed and thrown all the dirty costume clothes from the night before in a pile that you couldn’t see from the kitchen and living room area. Her Postmates order still had yet to arrive, so she had no choice but to fix herself a tall ice water and drink the rest of a half-full bottled espresso drink she’d gotten from Whole Foods last week.
“Ugh,” she grunted while opening the door. “I never thought you’d fucking get here.”
Cutting to the chase, Caroline immediately asked, “So how much do you remember from last night?”
You couldn’t tell if it was the lingering blush from her costume or if she was actually blushing, but she noted that she simply remembered, “Four or five of the bootleg jungle juice they were serving and pretty much nothing else.”
“I meannnnnnnn,” Caroline drew out. “I remember meeting Todd and John at that stupid bar but then I had some IPA John bought for me and I went straight to Blackout Town.”
“We’re the woooooorst,” she struggled to get out. “Like, I don’t even remember what you were last night, tbh.”
“I was Pretty Woman,” she reluctantly admitted, “but I’m pretty sure everyone who saw me just thought I was common street trash which is officially what I feel like at this very moment.”
After a knock at her door and an awkward exchange with a hipster named Dale who came in tow with her bag of goodies from Walgreens, Caroline laughed and asked, “Did you really just Postmates Pedialyte and eyeliner? I can’t tell if I should congratulate you or have an intervention.”
They sat on the couch and turned on an episode of Friends. “The One With Joey’s Porsche,” to be specific.
“Is 10:45 too early to get Chipotle?” she asked Caroline. “Like, are they even open yet?”
In the most half-ass way possible, she attempted to look out their balcony window and see if there was a sign signaling whether they were open or closed. Unable to see either way, she pitched that they wait until at least 11:30 so they don’t embarrass themselves in public. “Nothing screams ‘struggle shuttle’ like sitting outside Chipotle while the workers unlock the door,” Caroline mumbled.
With silence filling the room outside of the Friends banter and canned laughter from the live studio audience, she finally broke it 17 minutes into the episode by asking, “Should we, like, do something today?”
It was an uncomfortable question considering both of them 1.) wanted to do absolutely nothing, but 2.) felt like they needed to be productive humans on a Wednesday.
“Why don’t we, like, go walk around the square and pop into some shops later this afternoon and reward ourselves for being productive by getting a glass of wine at Cork during happy hour?” Caroline proposed. I bet Todd and John could meet us and they could tell us some stories we’d rather not hear about last night.”
She weighed the options in her head. Was putting more alcohol into her system the smartest idea? No. Would it make her feel better? Yes. Had she been eying a pair of shoes at a boutique in the square and hoping to justify buying them with a little hungover retail therapy? Absolutely.
“I mean,” she hesitated. “Can we get some spinach and artichoke dip too?”
“Uhhhhhh DUH,” Caroline affirmed. “But, like, first can you show me the ring that Todd hid in your room?” .