After the Party is before the Party

Balou_11

photos: Moritz Jekat

I’ve never been a fan of after parties – at least not the ones that involve pretending life isn’t going on outside and the best thing to do is to numb yourself into oblivion. Everybody gets annoying, nobody listens to each other and the music that is played is mostly inadequate.

What I’ve always liked, however, are the short, silly and often funny moments that happen right before hopping into bed. The unnecessary, hardly remembered trips to get a second dinner slash breakfast (which is the better, cooler version of brunch when you think about it). The endless trips home that always seem to involve more means of transportation than you thought existed. The drunken cab rides spent battling sleep and watching the city’s blurry lights go by.

A whole new adventure starts the minute you stumble out the club, one that somehow manages to be much less predictable than whatever happened before. Most of the time, you knew which DJ was going to play or which club you would eventually end up at, but knowing how and with whom you’d go home is a different story…

After the party is when the dust settles. You get to look back on your night, and sometimes existential thoughts take over. Should I call someone for one last drink? Are all of my friends asleep already? Are all these people really on their way to work? Am I terrible at being an adult? Suddenly you feel like the cold, harsh morning sun is mocking you for your bad decisions.

Other times however, you feel like you own the world. Or Berlin, at least. It’s all about you and your closest friends, merrily walking off into the dawn. Everything is a good idea. One last beer? Awesome! Stopping by the Späti to get the dirtiest snack or one more pack of unnecessary cigarettes? Count me in! Your make up is running down your face, your tights are ripped and you lost your jacket but none of this matters because you’re having fun.

You’re too loud. Your public displays of affection would make ‘sober you’ blush in shame and your friends’ joking comments wouldn’t even ignite a smile if it weren’t for the fact that it’s 7 am. This time, however, you laugh harder than you ever did as the alcohol makes you forget when you last saw your bed. You hardly remember which stop you need to get off at but it does not matter because ‘here and now’ is all you care about.

When you finally make it home, you play your favorite song and try to catch the last memories from the night, mentally taking notes about everything that’s happened thinking “oh, that will be a great story.” Little by little, the night’s events become nothing but flickering flashbacks, but more often than not that warm feeling remains. All that’s left, though, are new numbers saved on your phone, a couple of fuzzy pictures and promises to strangers waiting to be broken.

The one promise you’ll keep, you almost unknowingly make to yourself. As you get to your bedroom and trip on every object while you scatter your clothes on the floor, you cannot help but look forward to the next time you’ll wake up to unknown stickers in your pockets, two friends requests from strangers and last night’s cloakroom ticket in your wallet…

Text: Camille Darroux, Photos: Moritz Jekat

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This story is a collaboration of writer Camille Darroux and photographer Moritz Jekat. Camille writes about sex and life in the city for various magazines and blogs. You can follow her on her Twitter @BerlinDisaster. Also read her previous story about straight girls and gay party buddies on iHeartBerlin.

Moritz is a young photographer based in Berlin who captured the magical meantime between arriving home from a party and falling asleep in his new photo series Balou. An extract from the series is pictured above. Also check out his previous photo series Berlin Monday on iHeartBerlin.

Frank by Frank
on November 1st, 2015
updated on November 4th, 2015
in Party, Stories
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