I've only been drunk three times in my whole life;

Twice I've been stumbling, helium balloon flying-high drunk,

And once I lost at least an hour I'll never get back (not that I want it).

It was an experience, I'll say that much at least.

It was freeing in a way, like some part of me was floating off while my actual body

Turned to leaden octopus tentacles, flopping hopelessly.

I'm clumsy enough sober, even with daylight to guide me.

Grace may be my name, but I don't have it

On my best days or my worst.

The first time I got tipsy was with my mom, which in and of itself is weird.

Parents don't usually encourage this sort of behavior,

And it's not like we had any particular reason to celebrate that night.

I discovered my disdain for chocolate liqueur and straight vodka, and love for daquiris.

This wasn't my first time drinking at all…but I usually stop before I lose my grip.

I stopped that night because I had obligations at eight the next morning,

"I don't wanna end up with a hangover…" I reasoned as I clambered up the stairs

Hugging the bannister like a drowsy bear, wobbly even on all fours.

It was probably about 9:30 when I went to bed. I was still a genuine lightweight then.

Second time was with my dad while we were camping by the river.

He made a special trip to the liquor store to buy this; usually he just gets beer for himself,

But he knew I didn't drink that pee-colored, stagnant dishwater

(Bud Lite Peach-a-ritas and Smirnoff wine coolers don't count as beer).

One was Captain Morgan (my favorite), one was Crown Royal (overrated),

I think one was Johnny Walker Black Label. I didn't like it much, so I don't remember.

It was closer to 10 when I literally crawled into bed after downing the equivalent

Of three-point-five shots without a break in between.

Still managed to dodge the hangover. I stopped myself short before I went off the deep end.

Then came New Year's Eve…the night I loudly proclaimed, "To hell with it!" and didn't stop.

I had no reason to; the consequences were officially damned at sunset.

I had plenty of alcohol and just enough friends with the same idea.

I was four bitter months out of a three-year romantic tragedy,

And dammit I wanted to really fly this time, after all the crashing and burning I'd done.

I started at nine this time, sipping on firewater and watching the fireworks.

At t-minus eight to midnight, I was asked for a kiss at the stroke of the hour,

And there were no regrets, except that I wasn't asked sooner.

It's not like anything else happened between us. I know when to stop, when I want to.