Parts 1-4 were set to publish last week, while we're in China on vacation, so here's the finale...
I woke up the next morning, October 2003, in my hotel room, alone, feeling very foggy.
No immediate cause for concern. I had a headache, and I was thirsty. So I started to get out of bed. I'd gotten my pajamas on, I noticed, but my clothes were in a big pile (usually while traveling, I try to fold up what I wore in case I need to re-wear, but this was toward the end of my trip; next stop was a few more days back in Germany, then Paris, then home).
I got up to go to the bathroom and the first thing I noticed was that there were major red streaks along the white walls. What in the world....????
And then I realized that my hands were COVERED in blood.
Let the major panic set in. I've never been a violent drunk. Heck, I've never been a violent sober person. I don't think I've been in a physical fight in my entire life with anyone other than my brothers. And that was long ago and I totally love my brother who I'd been hanging out with the night before and I figured there was no way I would have hit him or he'd hit me. But at the same time, at that point in my life (let's call it big-law-head), I was quite impatient and had little tolerance for "fools." Easily irritated would be a better way of describing it.
That left me with essentially one thought.
I'd killed someone.
Presumably a stranger.
While in a drunken stupor.
OMG. I sat there, staring at the walls, and at my hands, trying desperately to see what I could remember about the night before.
Drawing blanks, except what I recounted in part 4.
I was feeling ill, not from alcohol. What in the world had happened? And what was I going to do?
I went to the bathroom to wash up. First things first.
There were blood smears on the sink, so maybe I'd tried to wash up the night before?
Finally, completely inadvertently actually, I saw myself in the mirror.
My face was also a bloody mess, but the answer was immediately apparent. I'd clearly gotten a bloody nose. As soon as I realized that, I had a flash of recollection. Walking into the room, alone, drunk, laughing. And there was a tiny half inch step up to get to the beds and the desk after you walked past the bathroom. I'd hit that tiny step and launched myself face-first into the bed frame.
A small miracle I hadn't ended up knocking out teeth or with a broken nose.
Floods of relief washed over me. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. To be continued...