I dropped Rachel off at her house and practiced my "I'm-NOT-going-to-throw-up" breathing all the way home. Three Tylenol and a bottle of water later, I curled up under the covers and prayed for a quick trip to sleepydom.
"I'm not drinking tonight," I declared when I answered the phone at noon, still laying in bed.
"Oh," Rachel answered. "You're not? Not at all?"
A few days before, she'd suddenly "remembered" to tell me about a dinner she was throwing Saturday night. No specifics, no need to bring anything, just be there. Those were my instructions.
I arrived with a tired body after a long workout to work out the grogginess that was clinging to my system and a bottle of Vitamin Water.
"Are you dehydrated?" asked my friend Nicole.
"Yeah," I answered. "Don't think I'll be drinking tonight." I use that term with the same superstitious belief as Beetlejuice. Say it three times and it will be true. That was #2.
"What-the-hell ever," cried Nicole. "This is your birthday party, man."
I stared up at Rachel. Five months after I'd contracted a wicked flu on my birthday, shutting down any possibility for partying whatsoever, my friends had gathered up an array of food, a cake, guests and a few bottles of wine for some mock wine tasting and general birthday party fun.
We only got through two mini-bottles of wine before I hit the gin.