I woke up on the couch, still in my clothes from the night before with the menu music from “Elf” playing on repeat on the screen across from me. Undoubtedly my mother was the one who had thrown a blanket over me and removed my shoes, placing them neatly beside one another underneath the coffee table. There were dirty plates littering the floor beneath where my right hand dangled, limp off of the sofa cushion, exhibiting signs of the night before: crumbs and scraps and streaks of ivory and magenta across the diameter where my thumb had soaked up every lick of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. My head was throbbing, and the leftovers (or lack thereof) of last night’s poor decisions were knocking loud and ceaselessly just a short two feet away.
I’m never eating again, I thought.
The lingering aromas of turkey and casserole combatted the sweet smell of freshly-baked pie above me, as I collected enough energy to roll over and place both feet on the ground. After trying for what seemed like hours to remove my heavy head from my hands, I stood up to survey the rest of the house.
Bad idea, my body responded to my sudden interest in productive movement. I was immediately overwhelmed by a rush of blood to the head and a dizzy spell that forced me back onto the couch cushion. I took a few more deep breaths and tried again, this time at a much more approachable speed.
About two and a half minutes later, I was on my feet and moving. My ears were ringing, and I was so, so thirsty. Just get to the fridge, I coached myself. Our fridge was only in the next room, but if felt like I had begun to run an overzealous half marathon. The promise of a cold glass of water encouraged my steady shuffle through the hall; I just had to get there before the indefinite collapse of my quivering knees. Each step required more energy, attention, and perspiration than the last, and seemed to place me further and further away from the kitchen. I pressed on, shaking off the vivid flashbacks of yesterday’s turkey binges that sought to ruin my day.
Bracing myself against the wall as I rounded the final corner, I allowed my eyes to zoom in on the finish line. There she was: the refrigerator that had been at my side for as long as I could remember. She looked radiant, and more welcoming than ever with a hum that rang out to say, “You’ve made it. You are home.” She danced in and out of focus, beaconing for me to take the last three strides toward salvation.
With Olympian-like strength, I pried the door open. The light inside was so bright that I was momentarily distracted from my mission, but my crippling thirst reigned me back to the water pitcher that sat, waiting on the top shelf. My hands reached, pulled down the pitcher, and poured its entirety down my throat before another moment had passed. A great sigh of satisfied relief escaped me.
Before closing the door, I caught sight of the most bittersweet cascade of tupperwares. The rest of the shelves had been stocked with Thanksgiving leftovers: bowls of stuffing, heaps of white meat and dark meat, endless containers of festive cookies and half-eaten pies. My stomach jumped in objection at the thought of re-living last night’s meal for the next week, as I was certain that even the smallest new bite would render me immobile. Upon that realization, I closed the refrigerator door and commenced the daunting journey back to my spot on the living room couch. I had never been so happy to be so miserable.