It was one of those hangovers inside of which you hate everything: yourself of course, but also your wife and your kids (at the scariest level, especially your kids) and all the non-darkness all around you; one during which you make many vows (of chastity, of silence, of poverty, of love) that you will never keep. It was one of those hangovers for which none of your previous hangovers can prepare you, and one under which you also carry the useless weight of all those previous hangovers that haven't prepared you for even one fucking vomity second of this hangover. Put otherwise, it was the best hangover, because it taught you that you were a piece of shit. Being a piece of shit is easy; knowing that you're a piece of shit is quite a bit harder. It isn't "acknowledging" your "lack of self-esteem" (fucking kid stuff). It's using your bloodshot mind's eye to stare at what you know you'll look like as a corpse and seeing something so much more flattering than what even the most accurate camera operated by the most optimistic photographer might render of you now. That's what you call shit-angst, and there are uncounted trillions more pleasant sensations.
My head was lusting for a guillotine, my bladder was a reservoir of liquid despair, my body a lost soul -- at 6:25 a.m. Extreme sinner that I acknowledged myself to be, this just wasn't fair. Never mind how I was going to feed and dress and amuse and protect from danger for the next several hours the three young female primates who within the next few minutes would be demanding service from their food- and apparel-providing protector from danger. How was I not going to kill myself?
Funnily enough, my old friendship with suicide is what got me through. When Emily (who is three, and aggressive, and impossibly lovable, and confused by the fact that everyone else is bigger than her) smacked my forehead (suicide-command headquarters) at 6:47, she shoved my brain from ideation into what turned out to be a pretty entertaining mixture of plans (blood? rope? gaseous intervention? pills?). I don't know what the textbooks say, but most of us who want to die get stalled at the planning stage because it's so interesting. Just as interesting is the tone of our suicide letters (I had four to compose), which is what I was working on inside my head when, at 6:58, Joanie (five years in my life and endlessly curious and impossible to ignore or not be just as curious about) actually yelled at me to get up. When seven-year-old Dessie (my first miracle) pulled her sisters off me at 7:11, I was already going over the attendee list for the funeral. (Emily, Joanie, and Dessie would all be somewhere else, of course. We'd need a babysitter.)
But you can't ignore a trio of miniature, life-laden, female apes. You can fool them (kids are naive about the future, therefore still sweetly stupid), but you can't ignore them. And you can't ignore them because they don't give a shit about you and are thus your worst enemies when you have a hangover like the hangover I had in the early morning of the first day of my second life. I seemed to be remembering that at some very late point during the previous evening, my wife had made it clear to me that she no longer loved me.
How couldn't this be a suicide story?
"What do you mean you don't love me anymore?"
"Just what I said."
"That isn't an answer. Stop being a teenager."
"That. That's why I don't love you anymore. One of the reasons."
"One of the reasons? How many do you have?"
"A lot. Believe me."
"Okay, I'll believe you. How many?"
"I haven't counted."
"Haven't counted because there are too many? Why won't you look at me? Or haven't counted because you're just making this up as you go along?"
"Fuck you. I have plenty of reasons. If you get the fuck out of this room right now, I'll type up a list."
"Your printer's broken."
"How do you like this look?"
So I got the fuck out of the room right then. I wanted to know.
She never did type up that list before she left, and I never did kill myself (and never found out why).
So a happy ending for all.