Stag Party: The Aftermath

Time: 8:09 p.m.

His stag party has been in full swing for two hours. Quite frankly, I'm excited for Geoff. I know that he doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, and he doesn't do strippers (literally, too), but I know for sure that he's having a good time, and I'm happy for it.

See, I'm not one of those brides-to-be that freaks out over her soon-to-be-husband's stag party. I don't care. My theory is that if you can't trust your fiancé out with a group of guy friends and a couple of strippers, then you don't trust him, period, and you shouldn't be getting married in the first place. If that sounds harsh, well, too bad. A couple of my girlfriends would have averted divorce if they had listened to my theory in the first place, but what do I know?

I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. I took my first sick day in two years yesterday, and I never call out sick. Never. My job is the best. I love what I do. It doesn't matter, though: when you're sick as hell, no job is enjoyable, period.

In any case, I'm alone in the house I share with Geoff. I have Chinese takeout in front of me, along with the a bottle of Cakebread Cellars sauvignon blanc (it's a bottle that cost me forty bucks, one that I have been waiting for a special occasion to uncork), a box of tissues for my runny nose, and the remote control. I turn on the TV. I'm so excited that the newest season of my favorite show, Project Runway, is on the air. I want to catch up on the reruns.

I can't find my TV show on the air, but I do find a movie that I haven't seen in years: Terminator 2. How cool is that? I use the chopsticks to pop pieces of General Tso chicken with broccoli into my mouth. Mmm, it's so good when you can't breathe and your taste buds are out of whack. You can actually taste what you're eating, much unlike everything else that I've swallowed today. I pour myself a glass of wine and begin to sip. Mmm, it's strong. Strong white wine is good when you feel like crap. It makes you care less about feeling miserable. I decide right away that this bottle is worth its price tag. I should definitely buy another bottle in the near future.

I continue to watch TV long after the food is gone. Once the movie is over and I cry like a moron at the end like I always do, I begin switching channels to find something new. I nearly jump up in sheer joy when I hit the start of the very first episode of this season's Project Runway. My favorite show is on! I can finally catch up on the episodes I've missed! I don't even notice that the bottle of wine is half empty.

Three hours later, at 11:00, I am exhausted but exhilarated. I ate all my Chinese takeout, I drank the entire bottle of wine, I owned the remote control for an entire evening, and the fact that I'm now up-to-date on my favorite reality series is an added and delightful bonus. Despite having finished an entire bottle of wine by myself over the course of three hours, I'm not drunk, merely pleasantly tipsy. I climb up the stairs to the master bedroom, where I change out of my clothes and into my comfy charcoal-grey yoga pants and a white tank top. I toss my jeans and T-shirt on the floor. Whatever. I'll get them tomorrow. Besides, it's not like Geoff's going to notice or anything.

I climb into the king-sized bed and pull the comforter over my head as I nestle my cheek into the pillow. I have truly enjoyed my evening by myself. Man, Geoff's got to do this more often.

Time: 1:26 a.m.

The doorbell is ringing maniacally. That's the first thing that my brain registers.

I look over at the clock and check the time, then I jump out of bed. My first thought is, Thank God I'm wearing something. I scurry down the staircase to check the doors. There's nobody at the main door, I see emptiness beyond the windows. So I hurry to the next door, which is right off the garage, but I'm too slow. I can hear a barrage of four-letter expletives rain down out of Geoff's mouth, followed by a heavy pounding on the garage door. I'm a little alarmed, to be honest. That's not my Geoff. My Geoff is sweet, kind, and thoughtful. He's not the kind of guy who would scream, "Hurry up and open the DAMN DOOR!" at the top of his lungs in the blackness and quiet of the early morning, like the way he's doing now. And damn it, there's a nun who lives next door, on the second floor of the neighboring two-family building. Good luck trying to explain this one to her.

I open the door off the garage and Geoff is there, sloshed out of his mind. Two of the groomsmen are holding him upright, like Geoff will topple over and smash face-first into the ground if they loosen their grip on him. Not good. "Hey Amy," one of the guys tells me, "Geoff's been puking his guts up for the last hour and a half. You should probably put him to bed and just let him sleep this one off."

Great.

Geoff breaks away from his two groomsmen and wobbles his way through the garage and into the house. Alarmed, I quickly and worriedly say good-night to the two guys, then chase after him. He's already mowed his way up the stairs, and I'm terrified that he's going to fall over backwards and smash his head, effectively disengaging our engagement, so to speak.

"Geoff?" I cry out, not bothering to hide my alarm. And terror, who's kidding who? I jump up the stairs two at a time, moving so quickly that I feel like I will either fall over backwards, or my quadriceps will snap and I'll go falling backwards. Either way, there's only one sure ending, and it involves me lying at the bottom of the staircase with a crushed-in skull while my ridiculously drunken fiancé mistakes the linen closet for the bathroom. It's not a pretty picture.

"Amy, where's the bed?" Geoff shouts out questioningly, drunk out of his mind. "Who stole my bed?"

"What?" I rush into the bedroom, but he's not in there. "Geoff? Where are you?"

"I'M IN THE BEDROOM!"

Well obviously, he's not in the bedroom. I rush down the hallway, where I find him in his study. He has already kicked his shoes off, unbuckled his belt, and is lowering his pants to the floor. The pants are damp at the knees, like he's vomited on them and cleaned them up. "Geoff, what are you doing?"

He stares at me drunkenly, like it should be obvious. "I'm going to bed," he slurs, trying to keep his balance. It doesn't work, and I hurriedly rush forward to help steady him. He looks around the room, a confused look coming onto his face. "Amy, where's my bed? Who stole my bed?"

"Geoff, nobody stole your bed. We're not in the bedroom."

"Where are we now?"

"In the study."

"Oh." He looks at me pathetically. "Take me to the bed, would you?"

I nod worriedly. "Okay, Geoff. Follow me."

First I lift and button his jeans around his waist, then I place his hands on my shoulders, clasping my hands atop his, and walk him to the bedroom in a penguin-like fashion. Once in the bedroom, Geoff deliriously flings himself on top of the mattress, diving face-first into the pillow. Within seconds, he's snoring loudly. Okay, that's one problem under control. Maybe now I can relax.

While he snores, I pick up his cell phone to call his best man, Jay. I'm more than a little concerned about what I'm seeing, and I need to make sure that I don't need to take Geoff to the hospital. He doesn't normally drink. I drink more than Geoff, as evidenced by the entire bottle of wine that found its way down my throat this evening. I need to make sure that he's not going to die, that he doesn't have alcohol poisoning. Jay picks up after three rings.

"Yo, man!" he greets me drunkenly, most likely thinking that it's Geoff calling. "What, are you still in the mood to party?"

"Jay, it's Amy."

"Oh." He sounds a little disappointed. "Hey, Bridey. What's going on?"

I exhale. "Listen, you know I've got no problem with alcohol and strippers, right?"

He snorts. "Uh, yeah. You're cool like that."

God, he sounds so coked out. "So when I ask this question, I'm not asking it to be nosy or anything. How much did Geoff have to drink?"

"That's strictly confidential."

"Okay, then." Now I'm starting to get annoyed. "Next question: do I have to bring Geoff to the hospital to have his stomach pumped?"

"No, why?" Jay sounds confused and drunk. If I could go through the phone and hit him, I would.

"Why? Because he's trashed out of his mind, and he doesn't normally drink!" I hiss furiously. "So once again, DO I NEED TO TAKE HIM TO THE HOSPITAL?"

There's dead silence on the other end of the phone. "Amy, Geoff puked his guts up for the last hour and a half of the stag party," he finally admits sheepishly. "It was kinda pathetic. He threw up all over the men's room, in the toilet, on the floor, in the urinal, in the sink. Then he came to find me at the end of the night while I was paying the caterer in the VFW kitchen. He threw up again in the kitchen sink, and got embarrassed because he had witnesses this time, so he turned on the faucet. The drain got clogged with his vomit, see, and all the water mixed with vomit started pouring out of the sink and onto the floor." He pauses, obviously trying to contain himself. "I won't tell you how much he drank, but I will tell you this: if I hadn't seen him missing the end of his stag party to pray to the porcelain gods, then I would definitely tell you to take him to the ER."

Fantastic. "All right," I offer with finality. "Thanks for the help, Jay."

I can hear him nodding on the other end of the line. "No problem, Amy. Oh, and one more thing: just let him sleep this one off. The only thing that's gonna get him through this is lots of sleep, lots of water, and lots of time."

"I hear you. Good night, Jay. And thanks again."

I end the phone call and look over at Geoff, passed out face-down on his side of the bed. He looks pitiable. Sighing, I make my way over to the mattress and gingerly lower myself onto it. I don't want to disturb his sleeping. Or snoring. Or alcohol-induced coma. Whatever you want to call it.

Time: 2:13 a.m.

The dry heaving wakes me from my very light sleep. Geoff is dry heaving, but he's still unconscious. Now, there's a sight I don't wish on anybody. His dry heaving is so bad that his entire body shoots butt-first into the air, leaving nothing but his forehead and the tops of his feet on the mattress. He looks like he's making a pyramid with his body. An unconscious pyramid, at that.

My eyes pop open as I watch this event. Then Geoff's body collapses onto itself, back onto the mattress, and he begins his racket of dry heaving again. His dry heaving shakes the entire bed. I hate this mattress. Mental note: new mattress after the wedding, Amy. That is, if there is a wedding and Geoff doesn't die from alcohol poisoning.

His body finally calms down and he quiets himself on the mattress. Just as I'm starting to feel relieved, I hear him vomit.

Oh, God.

Turning on my bedside lamp, I jump out of bed and blindly rush over to his side. Geoff has thrown up all over his pillow in his unconscious state. It's blessedly not a lot of vomit, thank God, but his face is right in the puddle. I don't want him to choke on it, and I certainly don't want to have to smell it for the rest of the night. The thought of me gagging on the rank odor of his stupid vomit puts me into action. So with a quiet sigh, I pull the pillow out from under Geoff's face. His head clunks onto the top of the mattress like a bobble-head toy. He still doesn't wake up.

I take the pillow to the bathroom, where I peel off the pillowcase. The pillow is damp with vomit, but luckily, it doesn't smell. The pillowcase, however, isn't so lucky. I use my judgment and throw the pillowcase in the garbage, which is almost full anyway, and tie up the garbage bag. I place a new garbage bag in the can, and for good measure I place it next to Geoff's side of the bed, just in case he needs it. Then I run the pillow downstairs to the laundry room, where I throw it in the washing machine, add a ton of detergent, and turn it on. Geoff owes me big for this one.

Coming back upstairs, I notice he's still sleeping, and I consider myself lucky. At least he didn't puke on the sheets. I don't want to tempt fate, though, so I retrieve another garbage bag from the bathroom. It takes everything in me to lift Geoff's head, which is just dead weight at this point, enough to slide the garbage bag underneath him. At least now, if he throws up again, it will be on plastic and not on the sheets or mattress.

Everything is satisfactorily straightened up. Wearily, I crawl back into bed, the faint hum of the washing machine in the distant background proving to be my only comfort.

Time: 3:47 a.m.

I'm startled awake by Geoff bolting upright in bed. His eyes are wide open and his cheeks are puffed out. In my hazy, semi-comatose state, I realize that he's about to throw up again.

"Quick! Next to the bed! I put the garbage can next to your side of the bed!" I hiss. Geoff looks completely clueless. It's as though he has no idea where he is, how he spent the evening, or why he feels like he's going to vomit. This is why Geoff doesn't drink. Alcohol really messes him up.

"Geoff! Throw up in the garbage can next to the bed!"

This time, he gets it. He lunges to the side of the bed and sticks his head in the garbage can. The sound of him throwing up makes me feel sorry for him, and the odor wafting over from the can is unpleasant, to say the least. All I can see is the lower half of his body. Everything from the waist up is off the side of the bed.

"Geoff? You okay?"

He struggles to pull himself back onto the bed. For the first time this evening, he looks like he has an idea of what's going on. He looks semi-sober. "Oh, man," he garbles to me wearily. "Amy, what the hell happened to me tonight?"

I look at him incredulously, waiting for the punch line. He really, truly, seriously has no idea what happened tonight. Or why he's puking and feels like hell right now. So I guess that means it's my job to fill him in on the details that he can't remember. Seriously, we both need to remember this moment when we're saying our vows at the altar in eight weeks.

"You had your stag party tonight." I tell him slowly and carefully, like I'm trying to explain it to a child.

He raises his eyebrows. "How come I don't remember getting home?"

"A couple of your friends brought you home. You were unbelievably drunk."

He shakes his head. "I can't believe I don't remember any of this...uh-oh."

"Now what?"

"Now it's gonna come out the other end." He leaps out of bed, still in his formerly-damp-kneed jeans, and races to the bathroom, where he forcefully slams the door shut behind him. I hear all the motions of him dropping his body onto the toilet in a free-fall. I then hear the unmistakable gaseous sounds of a body plagued by diarrhea. Gross.

Since there's nothing more I can do, I lay my head back and try to sleep. Ha! Sleep. Now there's a foreign concept. It's like a light fog, a sleep where I feel like I'm still awake. Which makes sense. The noises coming from the bathroom are atrocious. Trust me, no one can sleep when there's noises like these in the background.

I drift between sleep and fog, waking every fifteen minutes to check on Geoff. Every time I wake up, I notice that he's not in the bed, and I shout out, "Geoff?"

And every time, he grumbles, "Yeah, I'm still on the toilet. Leave me alone."

Time: 4:45 a.m.

The crash is what wakes me up.

Startled and bleary-eyed, I look over at the clock and note the time. It's been almost an hour since Geoff's been on the toilet. But with the crash, I hear him groaning, making pitiful noises like a helpless sick animal. He's got to be on the floor by now. I push my body off the mattress and scurry over to the bathroom door.

I open it, and Geoff's still seated on the toilet with his pants around his ankles. He's not on the floor, but the toilet-paper dispenser, once previously nailed to the wall, is. In pieces. I look from him to the wall, and back to him. Incredulously.

"Amy, get out of here."

"No. You're coming to bed with me." It's all clear. Geoff fell asleep on the toilet. He propped the length of his arm against the wall, letting it rest on top of the toilet paper dispenser. When he fell asleep, he placed the bulk of his weight against that arm, and the poor little dispenser couldn't hold up that amount of weight. Geoff is enormous, 6'2" and 270 pounds of muscle. No wonder everything's broken on the ground.

Geoff motions to his pants, which are covered in vomit. "But what about my clothes? I need to wash them."

"Take them off."

"But where should I put them?"

"Leave them on the floor. Next to the toilet. We'll worry about them tomorrow."

"But..."

I sigh dramatically. I'm aggravated and sleep-deprived. "Tomorrow, Geoff."

Like an obedient child, he strips off his clothing, one piece at a time, until he's standing in the bathroom in his underwear. His pants, button-down shirt, undershirt, and socks make a neat little pile by the toilet. He looks at me pathetically and says, "I'm a little dizzy. Could you help me to the bed, Amy?"

"Of course." I take his hand and lead him towards the bed, where I tuck him underneath the blanket on his pillow-less side. Then I walk around the bed to my side, where I get under the blanket and put my head on the pillow. My head throbs with the lack of sleep.

"Amy?"

"What is it, Geoff?"

"I have no pillow. What happened to my pillow?"

I close my eyes as I answer, "You threw up on your pillow, Geoff. It's in the wash."

"Oh." He remains quiet for a moment. "Amy, can I share your pillow?"

"No."

Time: 9:51 a.m.

When I wake up in the morning, I feel like I'm hungover, but I know I'm not. I'm just groggy from a grossly interrupted sleep and from having to defend my pillow from Geoff. Geoff who, blessedly, managed to sleep quietly and without any dry-heaving for the last five hours.

Geoff wakes up at roughly the same time I do. He looks at me momentarily, his eyes pink, his expression wan, his complexion corpse-like. "God, Amy," he croaks to me wearily, "I need some water to drink."

"Sure. I'll get it for you."

I get out of bed and go downstairs to the kitchen to get him a glass of cold water. I bring it back upstairs to him, and he sits gingerly on the side of the bed and gratefully takes the glass into his hand. He knocks back the water like it's a shot of vodka at his stag party. "Whoa, slow down," I warn him. "You might throw that back up."

Too late. Cheeks filling, Geoff puts his hand to his mouth and races to the bathroom. The glass tumbles to the floor with a clang, but mercifully doesn't break. I hear him throwing up again in the bathroom, this time even worse than it was last night.

I give him a few moments. When it's finally quiet in the bathroom, I approach the door. "Geoff? Are you all right in there?"

"I can't keep any liquid down." He sounds miserable. "Tell me, Amy, exactly how much did I drink last night?"

I crack open the door and hand him his cell phone, which I left on the night table next to his side of the bed. "You wanna call Jay and find out exactly what went down last night?"

"On second thought, no."

Time: 3:48 p.m.

Geoff has finally, finally, finally stopped puking.

He rests on the couch in the living room, looking pale and sweaty as hell, laying his head back against the wall. He's dressed in socks and his robe. His eyes are bloodshot and I can see his temples pulsating, visual proof to his pounding migraine. He looks like he's had the flu for the last three days, instead of one hell of a stag party less than twenty-four hours ago.

"How are you feeling?" I ask him wearily.

He closes his eyes. "Like hell."

"Not surprising."

Geoff's mother is here. Now, I don't have anything against her, but I'm a little disgusted that she's babying him the way she is. If he were really sick, that would be one thing. But he's not. He's got the hangover of the year and it's all due to his own stupidity, and she's acting like her poor baby needs his mommy. Pathetic.

"Mass is in ten minutes," I inform them, dressed in my Saturday-evening-church finest of khakis, a white T-shirt, and tan leather heels. "Geoff, do you think you'll be okay for an hour?"

He nods miserably, and his mom shoots me this dirty look, this why-wouldn't-he-be-okay-his-MOTHER-is-here look. Fine. "Well then, I'm going to church. I'll see you after." I pick up my purse and walk out to the garage. I listen as the garage door opens, and I back out slowly, watching for traffic, before closing the garage door again and driving to church.

I love Geoff, I really do. Which makes it so difficult for me to see him like this. Hopefully he'll never drink like this again. I can just hear him at the altar now, vowing never to drink that much ever again alongside his vows of undying love and "'til death do us part." And, despite the nightmare of an evening I've had, it makes me smile.