Funny how we never remember much about our drunkest night ever, but we always do remember it was our drunkest night ever.
The week our father died, my brothers and I met in D.C. to square away all his funeral arrangements. I decided to stay down there for the weekend, so I could spend time with a couple of my best friends from college. It was a Friday night, only four days after my father’s passing, so I was in the need for a good night of debauchery and from the minute I saw my friends, they had all the ingredients to cook such a night up.
They said the lounge was already picked out, packed, and there would be no cover.
They said drinks were on them.
They said, “Drink up,” and threw a bottle of something in my hand soon as I stepped foot into my friend’s apartment.
And of course, I also made plans to meet up with a girl I met two days prior.
I was drinking by myself, at the bar of a lounge located across the street from my hotel and she came from out of nowhere, or actually, she came from the ladies restroom. For the sake of this story, I will call her Panama because she was part Panamanian and that’s what my brothers called her. We struck up a good conversation, largely consisting of my mixed feelings regarding the death of a man who was my father but never acted like it. Any time a conversation like that happens and it’s mixed with alcohol, a bond, however temporary, is going to form.
So Panama was going to join me and my friends for this night of debauchery, but she was going to meet up with us later.
Already wet, my boys and I entered the lounge fully charged. I recall there being some Notorious B.I.G. blasting through the speakers and a round of Patron ordered and consumed before I could finish rapping along to the first Biggie couplet. We repeated that sequence – Patron order, consume – two or six more times before Panama came walking in. But her timing was all bad, or was it my timing? Because as she was walking in, I decided it was okay for me to start necking with a girl one of my boys introduced me to and when Panama saw this, she looked at me with eyes that said, Did you form a bond with her too?
I went over to Panama and spoke in drunk tongue about how I barely knew that girl and how happy I was she could join us. Then I ordered her some drinks. Then I drank some of the drinks I ordered for her. And then, then I could feel I had had enough to drink, which was a good thing, because in the lounge, the lights came on and it was time to head home. Time to bond some more, with Panama.
Panama grabbed my hand and led me outside where my boys were waiting for me.
“I’m going with her,” I told them. They were going with some other girls, probably with plans to bond with them as well. Peace signs were thrown, folks walked their separate ways.
Panama and I got into a cab, but it only took one sharp right turn for my stomach to get the feeling that it wasn’t getting along with the alcohol I consumed. I was going to throw up and I told her I was going to throw up.
Me: I’m going to throw up.
Panama: Don’t. We’re almost to my place.
She reached over and put my head in her lap.
Two more sharp rights and sure enough we were back at Panama’s place. I hopped out of the cab, ran to Panama’s door and as soon as she opened it, ran inside like I knew exactly where I was headed.
She grabbed my shoulders, steered me in the direction of the bathroom and I dropped down to my knees right in front of the toilet. Then, nothing.
Nothing was coming up at all, even as I attempted to gag myself. It’s as though the alcohol was staging a sit-in in my stomach and refused to leave. I gagged, I heaved, I made all kinds of sounds that sounded like death. Still, nothing and then, the second stage of too much liquor began to come over me.
The second stage of being drunk concerns the mind. My mind took over my body, which was aching from my efforts to throw up and for some reason my mind conjured up this theory that I was about to go the way of my father. I was convinced I was about to die and I needed an ambulance.
Me: Call the ambulance.
Panama: What? No.
Me: Call them, now. I need you to do that, I’m about to die here. I swear.
Panama: You don’t need an ambulance, you need to pass out. Come on. Get up, let’s go to bed.
Me: No! Please! Call the ambulance, or wait, call my boy.
One of my boys, who I was with that night, just graduated from medical school and about to begin his residency as an Emergency Medicine Physician. For the sake of this story, we will call him ER.
I told Panama my password, so she could unlock my phone and made her make the call, and I could hear her telling ER everything I was doing. “Give me the phone!” I yelled.
Me: ER, I’m about to die. I swear. I’m going the route my father. Tell me what I need to do. I don’t want to die, man.
ER: Hey, hey, Jozen. Do you know what it means when you say you’re about to die?
ER: It means you’re still alive! Now drink some fucking water and get your ass to bed. Pass out.
Me: You don’t even know what you’re talking about! You don’t know what’s going on over here!
I hung up the phone and turned to Panama. “He hasn’t even done his residency yet. He doesn’t know shit. Call the ambulance!”
By this time, I’m hyperventilating or at least I think I am. I continue to try and throw up, to the point where my stomach is cramping up. And my drunk mind has taken over my common sense entirely. I’m convinced I’m going to die and I tell Panama, beg her practically, to please call the ambulance.
Panama finally obliged and just as I heard her talking to the 911 Emergency operator, I blacked out right in the toilet bowl. I know I blacked out because I don’t remember being lifted up on the stretcher. I don’t remember anything except for the cold February air hitting my skin as I was being taken from Panama’s house to the ambulance truck. And I also remember being asked by one of the EMT workers, “Dude, are you sure you want to go with me? You’ll feel a lot better in the morning waking up to her.”
I would’ve given him the middle finger as my answer, but I passed out again and didn’t wake up until the next morning in a hospital, with an IV stuck to my arm. When I turned my head to the left, I saw Panama was there, asleep in a chair, hoodie covering her eyes.
A bond was formed.