March 29, 2021, party at charleys
Deborah walked back to her cabin in Snow Pines. She was sad, heartbroken they had just told her she was done working for the season. Bonnie Henry just closed the restaurants in BC. They had until midnight and that was it. She was ok with being done a couple of weeks early, but… she would miss the last paycheque and she would miss her friends.
Most of all she would miss saying goodbye.
Why did they do it? Why close restaurants? She really didn’t understand this whole covid BS. She tested positive back in December and she wasn’t even sick. Now the world was being torn out from under her again.
She walked into the chalet she shared with eight other twenty-somethings that worked at Big White. The smell greeted her as she walked in the door. A strong skunky smell wafted in the air and she smiled as the group standing in the kitchen turned and welcomed her home.
“Hey Deb, it’s a crikey piece of BS that Dr Bonnie threw at us eh!” Randy greeted her at the entrance to the kitchen and handed Deborah a beer. “Here’s a cold one, the mates and I are headed to Charleys, I hear there is gonna be a big piss up to celebrate the end of season.”
“Thanks. I don’t know… we aren’t supposed to party.” Deborah cracked open the cold Canadian beer. She would miss all her friends. Torn, she wanted to see everyone, but a party? “I might just hang here and pack up, they laid me off today.”
“Aww c’mon Deb it’s gonna be epic. What could go wrong? We’ve all either had the virus or the vaccine.” Karol said, took a deep haul on a joint and passed it to Deborah. “ Err, have a puff.”
The four friends stood in a circle. Deborah was the oldest in the group, at twenty-four it made her almost an adult. She took a pull on the skunky doobie in her hand and turned to Natalie beside her. “What do you think Nat? We could get in trouble for going to a party.”
Natalie grinned shyly back,” Like Karol said, none of us is going to get it and we don’t see anyone from the outside world. Let’s party, I am so sick of this season I just want to get shit-faced and have some fun.”
“No fun in covid,” cracked Randy as he opened the bottle of Tequila on the counter. “Shooters! One for the road girls, then let’s go meet the rest of the gang at the bar.”
The toke had eased her mind and the beer was relaxing her body. She felt upset that they let her go with no notice. She had heard they were selling drinks cheap and she wouldn’t see any of these friends very much after this. Everyone was going their own ways.
The shooter burned on the way down. “Ok, I will come for one, just to say goodbye.”
The gang of four roomies reached for their coats and bounced out the door. Natalie opened the fridge and grabbed another beer. “Here Deb, catch!”
Deb caught the flying beer before it bounced off Randy’s back. She laughed and relented. What could it hurt?
Deborah walked into her favourite bar and felt the emotions swirling. It was a mixture of passion, release and freedom. Why was no one wearing a mask? She stopped, unsure what to do. It felt so wrong, so forbidden, so fun… A feeling washed over her and she turned to leave.
That’s when the glass was shoved into her hand. “Here Deb, a vodka cran soda for you.” It was Karol’s voice, she sounded a little more than tipsy. Deborah accepted the drink with reluctance and pushed her way through the crowd out onto the patio. She took a sip and almost choked… a double? She definitely didn’t expect a double. The second sip tasted better and by the end of the drink, she was ready for another.
It was covid, they weren’t supposed to be so close. But his hand felt nice on her back, it had been so long since she felt this good, this bad. He spun her around and handed her another shot glass. She was starting to lose count of the shooters.
She was losing control.
And it felt good.
Music pounded, she jumped on top of the table and started dancing. The alcohol was coursing through her and the world began to spin.
Her head was spinning, she looked beside her and saw him lying there. What the fu… uh oh. She erupted from the bed and ran.
She barely made it in time. The next two hours were spent in the bathroom. Just when she thought she could go back to bed another round of heaves wracked her body. Why did she do this to herself? She knew the tequila was a bad idea, and yet she did it anyway. Just like the whole blurry night. She kinda remembered the walk back, she still wasn’t sure who was in her bed and what they had done.
She looked down and realized she still had her clothes on so she must have been too drunk. What happened? She remembered something about the police, something about having to leave the bar. It was coming into focus. They all came back to the chalet and drank until late.
Ooh, my head she thought to herself as she managed to make it to the couch. There she laid down and fell into a restless sleep. She placed her one foot on the floor to keep the world from spinning out of control.
Little did the young Canadian woman know how much more her world would be spinning the next day.
The vibration on her phone finally brought her back into the world of the living. It was her mom. She would call her later.
Deborah finally began to feel a little more human and picked up her phone. Five missed calls, three from her mom, one from her sister and one from her brother. What did they want?
She looked at the first message. “ I saw the video, what the hell were you doing? How could you?”
She pressed send and cradled the iPhone to her ear, “ Hi Mom.”
“Deborah, how could you? I just watched you dancing on tables at a bar! No one had masks on, everyone was partying, don’t you know it’s covid?” Her mom was almost screaming by the time she finished the last words.
“I, I, I um shit… it was fun mom but I think I had a couple of too many shooters… I’m sorry, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.” Deborah sat back down searching for words. What could she say that justified her reckless behaviour. “I’m sorry, I guess I got carried away.”
The young lady sank into herself dejected and hungover. Why indeed had they gotten so out of control? Was it the cheap drinks? Was it the fact everyone was so sick of covid and the control that they exploded? Whatever it was, it was stupid and irresponsible.
She lay in a ball willing it to go away, wishing she could change what she did the day before. Deborah knew she couldn’t go back and change things. Now she would have to face the consequences and accept the fallout of one night of reckless behaviour at Big White. She took small consolation from the fact it would be much worse for the owner of the bar.
*** This is an entirely fictional account of the events of March 29, 2021. Charley Victorias decided to forget all protocols and host a group of young people ready to let off steam. We don’t know the full repercussions of the careless disregard for the health orders. We do know that the fallout will reverberate through the community for weeks to come. I hope nothing serious comes of it for our mountain paradise.