Sunday Stories: “How to Deal With a Black Eye on Thanksgiving”

How to Deal With a Black Eye on Thanksgiving 
by xTx

1. When you wake up extremely hung over and fuzzy from the night before, do not audibly exclaim, “What the fuck?!” after you see your face in the bathroom mirror as you will wake the other family members sleeping in the den, adjacent.

2. Don’t sit on the toilet, head in your hands, for ten minutes trying to piece together how the hell it happened. Does it really matter? There it is.

3. Stop wondering about the two scabbed over cuts on the bridge of your nose. Stop feeling your face for soreness. Stop turning your mug hither and tither; it’s a black fucking eye. It’s Thanksgiving morning. You’ve got work to do.

4. Get upstairs to your mom’s “makeup bathroom.” Be sure to hold the handrails; you’re still kind of drunk.

5. Dig through the drawers until you find concealer. The kind they could use on dead people. Start dabbing it over the rose. Start dabbing it over the plum.

6. After your handiwork is through, and you feel the shame is adequately hidden, release the breath you’ve been holding. Let yourself think the day might go okay.

7. Before you leave, be sure to notice some small brownish-red splatters on the tile next to the toilet because it will lead to a flashback of you puking your guts out there last night. Feel sort of proud that somewhere in your wasted brain you knew this bathroom was the furthest from where anyone would hear you doing so.

8. Lift the toilet seat. See the dust-remnants of your stomach contents whirling lazy in the water like fat goldfish that have grown too large for their bowl.

9. See a dried ruby dot of blood pretty on the porcelain rim. Remember a sharp crushing-pain between your eyes. Feel a puzzle piece slide into place.

10. Wince. Clean the splatter. Flush.

11. Sock-stumble back to the den. Find your air mattress. Try to go back to sleep.

12. When everyone starts to wake, try to call the shower before everyone else does.

13. Whatever you do, don’t wash your face.

14. Put more make up on. Flesh-colored over the pasty concealer. Put on lots of eye makeup. Inappropriately dark for a family holiday. Remember, it’s better to be thought of as “whore-face” than the alternative.

15. Don’t put in your contacts. Instead, wear your eyeglasses. They will help to hide the bridge of your nose which is slightly fat and swollen. Concealer only does so much.

16. Before you leave the bathroom, give yourself the once over. Check all angles. See how now the inside corner of your eye is turning black. Put more corpse-be-gone on it. More mascara. Build a fence. Grow a hedge. Park a white van in front of it. Hope for the best.

17. Whatever you do, don’t wear sunglasses. Uncle Ray, a stellar drunk in his own right, will call you on it in a second.

18. Give thanks that you don’t have to be to work until Monday.

xTx is a writer living in Southern California. She has been published in places like The Collagist, PANK, Hobart, Puerto del Sol, Smokelong, Monkeybicycle and Wigleaf. Her story collection, “Normally Special,” is available from Tiny Hardcore Press. Her chapbook, “Billie the Bull” is now available from Mud Luscious press. She says nothing at

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