I crawled out of bed on all fours, used a desk to drag myself to my feet and opened the bedroom door. Jacob had already taken off before dawn to work the Thanksgiving morning rush at a nearby vegan bakery, serving the throng of cool kids who insisted on pretending they weren’t gonna dive headfirst into Aunt Deb’s Venison Lard Velveeta Pie later that day. The roommate was probably home but it was early so he’d surely still be asleep. I leaned heavily in the doorframe, panting a little and debated whether to hit the refrigerator or bathroom first. Trying to shake off the brain damage from last night’s debauchery, I pushed back my matted hair, swept away some of the fake eyelashes that dotted my cheeks and took a few wobbly steps towards the kitchen with sweet, sweet visions of the moldy old Brita that lived somewhere behind all the take-out containers in their fridge.
I recognized her immediately, the little towheaded girl from the framed photos on the mantel. The roommate’s niece, about five years old. I stopped and stared down at her, blinking in confusion.
“Hi” she said.
I didn’t move. My gaze swept towards the living room, where the roommate’s entire family sat, donuts and coffee mugs in hand, staring. Like, fucking 15 of them.
Oh wait, I think I forgot to tell you guys that I was 100% sans clothing.
We’ve all seen it a million times in movies and on TV: That dream sequence where the dream-haver finds himself standing in front of a large crowd, completely naked. Do real people actually have that dream? Have you? I haven’t, but I really don’t need to. Because I lived it.
In the Midwestern cocoon from whence I emerged like a sparkly, self-loathing butterfly, the night before Thanksgiving is the biggest drinking event of the year. Everybody goes completely buck, cramming into bars as soon as the sun sets; gettin’ stupid with old high school friends, cousins they normally hate, exes, parents, coworkers, neighbors – basically any and every citizen of legal drinking age. It’s kind of like New Years Eve, except with an abundance of bulky, unflattering sweaters. A super gross, super fun tradition that I sorely miss. Thanksgiving without a crushing hangover just feels so wrong.
That year, the night of raucous drinking, carousing, dancing, yelling stuff, eating White Castle and fucking – not necessarily in that order – actually, exactly in that order – had been one for the books. I crashed at my main dude Jacob’s place, since he lived in the city and I was posted up on the outskirts. He wasn’t my boyfriend; in fact, he was kind of the town slut, but I didn’t give a shit. I mean, let’s be honest, I wasn’t exactly locking up my chastity belt every night, if you know what I’m sayin’. Despite our other activities, we managed to spend a lot of time together. He was vulgar, sometimes rude, emotionally bankrupt, seemed to lack anything resembling a conscience and somehow…that was his game. I can’t explain it but if you were to ask any attractive young woman who lived within a ten mile radius during that time, she’d probably concur and have a few Jacob stories of her own to share.
Even if I hadn’t been completely obliterated, I probably still would have invented an excuse to sleep there. I loved that cavernous flat – far more than I liked the guy – a severed limb of a classic Detroit mansion that had been divided up into multiple units. I adored its oddly shaped rooms, gleaming wood floors and antique light fixtures. Jacob and the roommate had scattered weird artwork all over the walls and records and books were stacked everywhere. The aroma of weed and incense permeated everything. It was quintessential Detroit pre-hipster heaven, when people actually read books and listened to records, as opposed to carefully displaying them and then spending an hour trying to choose the right Instagram filter to show their fake cyber friends that they own records and books.
The early 2000′s was a magical time to be young in Detroit, particularly for me. I was different then. I didn’t torture myself with minutia. I wasn’t painstakingly careful in every decision. I didn’t resist fun or fear letting my hair down. “Hair down” was my autopilot setting. There were dance parties every night – the whole damn city was having a serious Prince moment so that was an oft-used theme, much to my delight. I could go all night and make it into work the next morning, rinse repeat no problem. I could eat McDonalds every week and still fit into that one pair of Diesel jeans that made my ass look legendary. The music was better, the boys were cuter and the energy was boundless. Wait, hold on a sec, I need to stare dreamily into space for a few minutes and savor these memories.
OK, I’m back. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, Thanksgiving Eve.
So, there we were: the kid, the roommate, the roommate’s entire family and me. Naked me.
They’d come downtown to see the Thanksgiving Day parade.
After staying frozen to that spot for what felt like a lifetime, I slowly backed up into the bedroom, slammed the door, threw my rumpled clothes on and paced the room. A glance out the window let me know that jumping would result in certain death. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. But really, would the other choice – The Walk of Shame past the whole brood – even matter at this point? I mean, seeing as how they’d already met the chicken pox scars on my pelvis. What was the point of hiding, now that we were all on the same page about how my left boob is clearly the cuter one? OK, I was doing this! Now, should I run or act nonchalant? Should I introduce myself? Would they mind if I snagged a donut on my way out?
Finally, I opted to run – past the little girl and through the living room, packed with holiday-sweater-clad mom type ladies, kindly looking mustachioed men and one smiling teenaged boy who I’d rather not think about ever again. Remembering my manners, I paused at the threshold to freedom and with my back to the room, uttered an inexplicably cheerful “Happy Thanksgiving!”
“Happy Thanksgiving!” they echoed.
And then I never got naked again for the rest of my life.
Have a wonderful holiday, friendsies! I’m super thankful for you guys! xoxo