I woke up and stared at the ceiling. I did not know where I was or what day it was. My head was light and felt like it had been spinning endlessly. I was extremely disoriented and felt very unsure of myself. I looked under the sheets of the bed and saw I only had on a pair of underwear. On my job, I sleep in many beds in many different cities, but I don't usually wake up feeling quite so strange or concerned. What happened last night?
Karen, my ex-girlfriend from high school days, came into the room. She was bustling around quickly, and did not appear to be in a good humor. "Good morning, beautiful," I said to her.
"Oh, really? Is that all you've got to say for yourself?"
I sat up quickly, and my head began to spin again. "Wait, what's the matter?"
She shook her head and continued hurrying around the room, picking things up and trying to make it tidy. The room was a huge mess. Something was obviously bothering her, because we normally get along great. "You need to get up and get ready."
"What is going on?" I asked. She simply kept on moving, as if doing so would avoid further questions or conversation. "Hello? Karen? You there?"
"Shut up, OK?"
"Do you even remember yesterday? Let me refresh your memory. It was Thanksgiving, and you came to spend it with me."
"Today is the day after Thanksgiving?"
"Wow, how did you figure that out? You had a bad headache, so I gave you one of my pain pills, and you got totally crazy."
"Prescription pain pills?"
"Yes," she replied.
"Was I drinking?"
"Just wine, don't you remember?"
I hung my head. "No, not a thing. Pills and wine are not a good mix for me. In fact, extremely bad. What did I do?"
"Not so much what you did as what you said." With that, she marched out of the room. I had to look around to find the various pieces of my clothes. I loved this girl more than any girl in the world, how could I have so alienated her? What was going on with me? A few minutes later, she came back in and laid down a plate with a sandwich on it. "You never ate your meal yesterday. There's a turkey sandwich, eat it while you're dressing."
"Why are we in such a hurry for me to leave?"
"WE are not, I am. I have to fly back to Indy. Cheryl is very sick and she needs me."
"Cheryl?" I sighed. Cheryl was Karen's ex-lover, and I had trouble dealing with the lesbian issue.
Karen pointed her finger at me and her bottom lip quivered. "Don't start this again. This is how it all began last night. You started getting all jealous, then announced how deeply in love with me you were, and how you want to marry me and spend the rest of your life with me."
I dressed slowly and listened to her, feeling sheepish that I had said so much and had no memory of it. "What else did I say?"
"That I was the love of your life, the stars in the night sky, all this poetic crap. You just really went way, way overboard."
She snorted, not happily. "Yeah, you did."
"Anything else worth mentioning?"
"You threw stuff all over the room. And you shared all your fantasies about me, in lurid detail."
"I went too far?" I asked.
"It was... it's just that... Bill, it was overwhelming. I expected to have a nice, quite little Thanksgiving, just the two of us. This was my first one alone without Cheryl, so..." She came and sat down on the bed next to me as I pulled on my socks. "You freaked me out a little bit."
"Just a little?"
"Maybe more than a little. Come on, get ready, I need to catch a flight in just under two hours."
"I can take you to the airport."
"No. I mean thank you, that's very sweet, but I need some time alone to process all of this." I had put on my shoes and was picking up my wallet and cell phone. She grabbed a few tissues from the night stand and wrapped the turkey sandwich in them. "For the road."
I accepted it gratefully. Then I walked to the front door with her close behind. As I was walking out, I turned and said, "Karen, I am so, so sorry about all of this. Whatever I said or did, it wasn't me. I should have warned you not to feed me pills and alcohol."
"I didn't shove them down your throat."
I nodded and smiled. "I wasn't swinging from the chandelier, was I?"
This made her laugh. "No, nothing like that. It was just stuff you said." She grabbed me and kissed me on the cheek. "Come back soon, we'll talk."
"I love you, kid."
A tear rolled down her cheek. "Me too you."