Post Paddy’s Day

Dear Whatever,

How do I put this? I hate St Patrick’s Day. With a passion. It’s always been just another day of the year, one without school or pressure or anything like that. Then I was invited out, and my parents seemed to think it was a good idea.

I wish they were like other parents, erring on the side of overprotective caution. If they had been, I probably wouldn’t have spent the day in bed.

Let’s rewind: I was actually looking forward to it. I was going to have a social life of some definition, and I was going to have fun, and for a day I was just going to be myself and be happy and carefree, and nothing that happened to me would matter. Because, damn it, I really believed that people wanted to make up for being assholes.

I didn’t plan on drinking. I never have, before. But then, I also don’t really know what’s what, and when people started doing green shots, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was just a Paddy’s Day thing. They said I’d like it. They had girls tell me I’d like it. They said it was sour, but good, and they had me try it.

They all seemed glad that I was.

One of the girls, Kelsey, she told me all about it this morning. I must have given her my phone number, but she filled me in on what happened. I think she felt bad for me.

After a couple of shots, which I didn’t really taste the alcohol from, they started spiking my drinks. Just a little bit at a time, until I couldn’t really taste the difference. They kept it up, topping up drinks for me like they were doing me a favour. It was all in a house. It was fine. It was just a party, and they were respecting my boundaries.

And I was a fucking idiot to ever trust one of them.

Kelsey said that by five, I wasn’t looking too good. She tried to tell them to slow down, but they wouldn’t listen. One of the guys was her boyfriend. She made that point really clear earlier that day, I remember that much. But she emphasises the past tense this morning. She broke up with him because of what he did to me.

Specifically, she broke up with him because when I started getting sick, they laughed. And when I was still getting sick and they thought it would be a great idea for us all to go to town, they left me at a bus stop, alone.

My parents took turns filling in the rest of the story for me, since Kelsey was on the bus leaving me behind. I tried my best not to make her feel bad about that.

Anyway, it turns out someone saw me sitting at the bus stop, and they asked if I was okay. I was spared none of the horrible details: I was covered in my own vomit, and I was crying. They helped me clean off my hands so I could get my phone for them, and then they called home.

I was getting sick all night. My parents thought I might have alcohol poisoning, but I was getting it all out of my system. They managed to get me to eat a bit of toast when I woke up this morning, but I still felt ill, and I had to miss a day of school. They called in. My mam told them that she wants the school to really look at alcohol abuse more closely. I could hear her on the phone for over an hour today, giving out to the principal that the school hadn’t warned students about drinking too much.

Eventually, she started crying down the phone, telling them the sob story of her little baby Andrew at the bus stop. She had to hang up, but when I mentioned what Kelsey told me, that they were spiking my drinks, she got angry again. The school got another earful out of her, and she used the magic word that no one wants to hear uttered: bullying.

It all came out, then. She could see I was struggling. The counsellor had told her to be wary of things like this, that I might be bullied but they couldn’t prove anything.

Now, at the very least, they have an isolated incident of life-threatening abuse, and I have to go into school tomorrow knowing that some people might not be back for a few days. I thought it would be an easy few weeks. I thought I could finish up without any more trouble.

I was so wrong about this. I’m not allowed to be happy. That’s obvious now. I’m not allowed to have friends, or to go out and live a normal life. And I’m never going to celebrate Paddy’s Day just to try fit in. No way.

I just… I want this all to be over. I can’t do this anymore.



About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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