The impulse of an act
“What happened last night?” Vivienne rubbed her eyes as she awakened in a jail cell. Her best friend was sitting right next to her. She had clearly been awake much longer; perhaps she had not even slept at all.
“You don’t remember?” Charlotte stared at her wide-eyed. She seemed furious. A bit puzzled too. And quite stressed.
“Don’t you remember anything about last night? Nothing? At all?” the panic in her voice was now evident.
Vivienne was still trying to wake up. The litres of alcohol she had consumed the night before were now catching up with her, causing an invisible hammer to pound on her head. She held her head up and calmly responded, “not a thing”. “What did we do?” her curiosity was pure and naïve. It was as if she was asking why the neighbor was piling boxes in his yard. As this did not affect her. As though she did not just spend the night in prison.
Charlotte was furious. And the more angry she got, the more Vivienne wanted to know what exactly happened the night before. She felt as if she was watching her favourite TV series and it had been cut-off at a cliffhanger scene.
“The last thing I remember is drinking shots at that bar by the river. Everything is a blank after that. What happened? Did we do something bad?”
“No honey, we were brought to prison for our own safety”. Charlotte was a master in sarcasm. And she performed best at moments when her rage overwhelmed her.
“Sweetie, you got hammered last night. You literally drank a bottle of wine on your own at Spencer’s house, then when we went for Mexican you had half a pitcher of Margaritas, and it was you who insisted we go for more drinks after that. We conceded mainly because you were so upset after seeing Weston again after so long. So we went to that bar by the river that you remember. And we said we’d have one drink. But the waiter took a liking on us – probably you, that is – you were so… friendly and cheerful with everyone; it was bound to get misunderstood.”
“It’s not my fault I get overly excited when I drink!”
Charlotte raised her eyebrows at her. “So, what happened?” Vivienne felt she was listening to a story, not a recount of what she had done the previous night.
“We had three rounds of shots and you had another couple of glasses of vodka. You started to get dizzy so the guys suggested we leave and get you out to the fresh air. That is when we went to the bridge and you saw the wooden boat right under it…”
“Oh no…” Vivienne knew where this was going. She knew herself too well. And her drunk self was even worse. Or rather, more unpredictable and impulsive than her normal self could ever be.
“What did I make you guys do?” she questioned in full embarrassment.
“You ran down and literally stole the boat for a moonlight stroll. We had to get in too, to control you. But you started feeling woozy and rocked the boat, overturning us all in the freezing river. It was your screaming that brought the police.”
“And they arrested us for that?” Apparently, it was not a good enough reason.
“Oh no, sweetie. They arrested us because you threw up on one of the police officers and then slapped the face off the other one because you hallucinated into thinking it was Weston. That’s what we got arrested for.”
“But why are you here then?”
“Because I’m so stupid to care so much for you, I didn’t want to leave you alone in this state of yours. Who knows who else you would molest.”
“So, I wasn’t left alone at all after that?”
“Well, just for a couple of minutes when I went to call Justin. He’s bound to come bail us out any minute now. We’ve already been here for six hours.”
“OK. So in those few minutes, I didn’t…you know… do anything else, did I?” Vivienne was genuinely frightened. It is scary not remembering part of your life and the actions you may have taken during that time. Especially if they will affect your present or future.
“I sure hope not.” Charlotte knew her friend too well, but loved her the same nonetheless.
Their discussion was interrupted by a prison guard coming to let them out.
“Is Justin here?” asked Charlotte.
“No,” the guard replied. “I made some calls.”
“Why?” asked Vivienne surprised.
“You said you’d only go out with me if you weren’t in here, didn’t you? And I do think we would match. Don’t let my job fool you, I told you I am a trained lawyer. I just can’t get a decent job just yet”.
Vivienne gulped. Her face was heating up and her stomach was churning the previous night’s alcohol.
Charlotte laughed. At least the lawyer-turned-prison-guard was cute. He was young, tall, handsome and athletic. He couldn’t be that bad.
A few days later Vivienne did go on that date with the prison guard, whose name was Leo, by the way. She was blown away at how different he was outside the prison. And so was he. She was careful not to drink too much this time. But she was equally cheerful. It was the excitement of realising that sometimes it is on an impulse that your true desires are revealed and you are pushed into taking the actions that otherwise you would talk yourself out of.