Movement causes my head to shriek protest but, with one hand on the rim of the bath and the other on the sink, I manage to haul myself up. The fluorescent light above the mirror, on all night, buzzes angrily at me. Makes me squint too.
The sink is clogged with drying vomit, a disconcerting deep red. It’s wine, I tell myself, just that wine. The smell of bile and Chilean red is overpowering and I think I am going to be sick again, retching over the sink like a broken drunkard. But I guess I am empty – the nausea passes. I fill a tumbler with cold water, gargle and spit, then tentatively use one hand to fumble whatever is blocking the plug hole clear. Turning both taps on, I watch as yesterday washes away.
Breakfast is unpleasant but necessary. It takes 25 minutes to eat two slices of dry toast, but they stay down, as does the glass of orange juice I make myself drink, even though the acidity burns all the way down. I swallow three co-codamol too.
For a while I can’t find my mobile phone. In the end, I resort to ringing it from my landline, and am able to track it down thanks to the incessant buzz of its vibration, on the coffee table, hidden under the freebie local newspaper. No messages. No missed calls. No voicemail. No surprise.
It’s still only half past seven, so I turn the phone off and go to bed in the hope of an hour’s proper rest. After the inevitable preliminary difficulty of getting comfortable – however I lay, the pillow induces a thumping headache – sleeps comes.
It is gone eleven when I wake again. I can’t say I feel good, but I feel better, able to function at least. After dressing quickly, I find that not only am I able to face a cup of tea, I actually enjoy it. And yes, I still need sunglasses when I leave the house, but I feel as good as can be expected on the drive to Saint Margaret’s.