Parker, the bridesmaid
I showed up to my friend Manuel’s wedding four days after returning from a four-year stint in South Korea. I was still jet-lagged and culture-shocked, but I had never approached life with a greater sense of clarity, having spent the last three years of my life completely sober. “I just don’t feel like being fucked up anymore,” I remarked to my sister, who was appropriately stunned. The ceremony and reception were at Manuel parents’ expansive house in San Diego, situated on a hill, overlooking a pristine golf course. It was a four-day affair filled with food and laughter and dancing.
By the second night, I’d found myself completely infatuated with Parker, a publisher from New York City, who I’d share cigarettes with out in the front of the cul-de-sac.
“So your sister leaked to me that you’ve written a couple of books, yourself,” she told me.
“Yeah, I mean, I kind of flamed out. Got both deals at the same time, but neither made back the advance. I guess I wasn’t the talent my agent was selling.”
Parker looked at me a little cockeyed and said, “No one is, Knox.”
Later that night, Parker pulled me off the wagon. Not to blame her or anything – she didn’t know I was in recovery – but if I hadn’t been so sprung for her, I never would have felt the pressure to smoke that joint with her out on the 17th green.
“This is my last fucking wedding,” she said. “I don’t even want to go to my own wedding.”
“I certainly wasn’t there for either of mine,” I said, stoned out of my mind.
We went back to her hotel room that night, but I was too messed up to do anything, I just passed out at the foot of her bed in all my clothes. The next day was the ceremony, and the entire time I contemplated my lapse in judgment and wondered what it was about Parker that made me so weak the night before, after I’d spent so much time being strong.
I realized that while I was attracted to Parker’s sarcastic sense of humor and her matter-of-fact gorgeousness, what really appealed to me was what she represented. The type of Manhattan literary glamour I had spent my late twenties chasing, which, when I couldn’t catch up to the lifestyle, had caused me to crash and burn.
That night, at the reception, I got loaded on champagne, puked into a potted palm tree and fell over into a table. My sister took me outside with a bottle of water and pack of cigarettes and tried to talk me down from my metaphorical ledge.
“Knox, it’s going to be ok. You’ll wake tomorrow, you’re going to feel like shit, but then you’re going to start over. Don’t they say that relapse is one of the steps of recovery?”
Just then, I saw Parker leaving with some chiseled looking typecast San Diegan, his hand comfortably resting on her ass as they walked.
“That was supposed to be my ass, cocksucker!” I yelled, but they didn’t turn around. I turned to my sister and slurred, “I don’t know if I have another recovery in me, love,” and then threw up one more time.
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