I have been looking forward to this gig since October and for the longest time I didn’t think I would ever be able to afford the flights to go. As the time drew nearer I got more and more excited. I bought new sandals and a new backpack. I charged up my camera too.
The day before it was sunny and warm and I was in holiday mode. I planned to have a nice lunch with my kids before they went to their Grans, so I went to the shop and bought some nice food. I also bought a bottle of wine and – as a back up – four cans of cider. I had wine with lunch and enjoyed it. Being warm and now thirsty I started on the cans of cider. My plan was to have lunch, do some work and pack my bag before having an early night. It was a 7am flight meaning I had to be awake at 4am.
Somewhere along the day, holiday mode changed to party mode. I text my ex boyfriend (and reliable drinking partner) and suggested we have a few drinks when the kids left for their Grans. He agreed as he is always up for a drink. He had an early start in the morning too so it seemed a safe thing to do. I went round to his house for a beer. I thought we were just staying there as he always has a separate stocked beer fridge so I didn’t take a purse or bag with me. He decided we would go out for a while and went to a local pub.
The next thing I remember is going to another pub that he frequents. The rest is hazy. Apparently, he suggested going home because we had to get up early. I said no. I last saw him standing outside the pub talking to someone. I don’t know if we argued or not. I met a girl who I knew called Jean. Her boyfriend is a functioning alcoholic and I’d never met him before but I seemed to think he was treating her like shit so I took a dislike to him.
I went outside with Jean to have a cigarette (I don’t smoke) and I felt funny. I remember saying I didn’t feel well and then my legs buckled but two people caught me. Jean said “Right, no more fags for you” She bought me a beer, but by that point I had lost count of how many I had drunk. I remember there was dancing. I remember Jean dancing with her boyfriend and me trying to butt in. I don’t know what my problem was. I’m sure the scary landlady said to me “Right, I think its time you left”. I don’t know if I was falling asleep, arguing, fighting with someone…no idea. Next thing I remember is walking alone, I think, heading home. I fell more than once. I remember a patch of grass coming toward me in slow motion and thinking it would be a better option to land on my face than stay standing upright. I remember nothing else.
I woke up in bed. It was 7.15am. The flight I had scrimped and saved for had left. I jumped up in a panic and threw on my jeans, phoned a taxi, stuck my trainers on, didn’t bother with hair or makeup and headed out of the door. I forgot the camera. My tickets and passport were packed already thankfully. My chest was hurting where I believe I had fallen and I had a few cuts and scratches. I felt like shit.
I headed to the airport and asked where to get a flight to London. I paid £60 for a new ticket. I went to buy some makeup and some mints. I went to the toilet and when I looked in the mirror I realised I had cut or scratched my nose. I assume when I fell. I went back and spent more money on makeup to try and cover the scratch. I text my friend Pete who I was meeting for the first time to tell him I’d missed the flight. He was already waiting to get me from the airport in London so he had to kill some hours somewhere despite getting up so early to pick me up. I went for a sleep on the seats before my flight came.
I got on the flight and bought a beer to ‘cure’ me before I got to London. It didn’t obviously. I met Pete at the airport. I must have looked and smelled like shit. Not the lady he’s known online for six years. We went to his car and drove to a park and ride. Then we got the tube into Harrow. I felt rotten but we got to Harrow and went for a walk. I didn’t take tourist photos cause I looked a mess. When he asked me what I wanted to do I said go for a beer as I was trying so hard to numb the pain both mentally and physically. We didn’t do very much except go to a museum and a few pubs. It was then time to go to the O2. We wandered around and I had another beer and we had overpriced hotdogs. I met a girl I hadn’t seen in a year and she said I looked well. Not sure how that was possible!
We took our seats at the Buble gig. The seats were brilliant. The gig was brilliant. I sang, I danced, I cried and I facebooked. Buble brought on Bryan Adams as a special guest and I nearly died. I love Bryan Adams. Pete took lots of pictures and I took a few clips on my phone. It was great gig despite everything I’d been through to get there. After the gig, we got the blasted tube again, back to Petes car then headed to a pre-booked Premier Inn. We shared a room although twin beds. We watched the news then I fell asleep. I woke up after not too bad a sleep but I was still hung-over though.
We went for a walk then headed for the airport where I waited for my plane. Had two beers while I waited. Got the plane home then a taxi. Met my kids at the shopping centre who wanted to know how good the gig was and why I had a scratch on my nose.
Back home reality bit and paranoia, shame and the ‘what ifs’ kicked in.
Paranoia – What did I do in the pub? What if I got into a fight? What if I hit someone? What if the scratch wasn’t because I fell, what if it was because someone hit me? Did I break a law? Are the police looking for me?
Shame – Did I really get thrown out of a pub? Is this really the mother of my two gorgeous, amazing, funny intelligent kids? Could I really not walk home without falling? Who was in the pub? Who saw me? Who would they tell?
What if – What if I got raped on the way home? Did I? What if I had fallen and broke a bone or my nose? What if a car had killed me?
I’ve spent the whole week feeling like shit. I have lost nearly one stone in weight over the past two weeks because sickness and guilt are eating me up. My kids were so excited about me going to see my favourite singer. I keep thinking what if I had missed the gig completely? Their little faces would have crumbled if they had found out. I feel guilty that they don’t know what happened the night before but why should I tell them. What good would it do? My mum and my sister are both so pleased that I got to go. I feel like a fraud, that I had a double life that weekend. I’m really writing this because I have to tell someone the whole story and get it off my chest. Also, by actually putting it into words it hits me very hard what damage my choice to drink actually did that weekend. I did have an amazing time at the gig but my memory of what songs he sang and his dialogue etc. is a bit more vague than I would have liked.
My children love me so very much and I feel the same about them. It would break their heart if they knew what had happened the night before the gig and that I almost didn’t get to see Buble. I feel like a fraud but I’m just a woman with a problem that needs to be fixed. I need to forgive myself and move on but I don’t know how.
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Photo courtesy of Eva Rinaldi cc @ flickr.com