Sitting on this couch, half amused, half disgusted, a lot less hurt than I think I should feel, I survey the situation with incredulity. How the hell did I get to this point? I tell myself the answer is at the bottom of that bottle, but I’ve never been one to appreciate dark liquors so instead I hold shot after shot in my mouth and spit it back into my chaser. I watch my two other drinking partners become lit, their tanned cheeks tinged pink, their eyes slowly losing their focus. The woman is attempting to make her way to the bathroom and is walking in a slanted line. The man is absorbed in whatever is on the screen of his computer. Talking to yet another woman, I’m sure. I want to laugh aloud but I think they both think I am just as inebriated as they are so I hold it in. After all, it could be detrimental to my health to laugh when no one else is.
I cannot understand how I have ended up in this position. I used to be such a good person. I worked eight, nine, ten, twelve hours a day. I paid my taxes. I went to church. I helped out friends even when it probably wasn’t morally right to do so. I had a big heart.
Yet here I am, sitting cross-legged on this couch, praying that these two find themselves laying in a pool of bloody vomit after an irreversible case of alcohol poisoning. How did it ever come to this?
I used to love him. I used to write to him every day when he was in prison and before that I used to take care of him. When he lost his son, I would come over and do the pile of dishes that had steadily built up over the week. I would take his laundry back to my parent’s house and wash it to save him a trip to the laundry mat. I used to go and pay his bills for him, with his money, not mine.
I used to love nature. In my hometown there was a park less than five minutes from where I used to live. I would go down there and sit on top of a park table, writing, sometimes drawing, watching the ducks and geese searching for food. Sometimes I would bring bread to feed them. The water wasn’t all that clean. Barges used to dump oil into it, it’s a miracle the birds and ducks could skim that water, but they did. I can’t remember the last time I saw any type of nature other than the stupid Toyota that he has parked in the backyard because he’s too selfish to get the tags and insurance renewed. Instead, he’s bought himself a new computer monitor and custom made tower including six fans, complete with a new chair so he can message whomever has caught his attention this week.
I used to make ungodly amounts of money, ungodless amounts to me at least. I used to spend it on clothes and shoes and clubs and drinks. I used to spend it on my son and books and journals and pens. An endless amount of pens. Sitting on this couch next to this dumb, drunk broad I think of all the times that I’ve had to scrounge together some change leftover from grocery shopping just to buy necessities- things most people take for granted. And forget finding a pen, these days I’m too afraid to write anything too personal before I pay the consequences later.
Little do I know at the time, this woman and I, we will soon be family. In a sense. In this time period, I’ve had more bruises and broken bones than I have written words. I’ve had more nightmares than I have had dreams. I’ve had more warrants out for my arrest for unpaid moving violations than I have received recognition at my job- both over a five year time period.
I watch her for a moment and then stare down at this half-filled shotglass in my hand and tell myself that if I would just give in and swallow down the drink I could let go of all of the pain and self-loathing and confusion and hatred and worry and fear I have been allowing to control me for too long. I could be free for even a short period of time. I fill my mouth with the amber liquid and hold it for a moment before tipping the cup with the mix of chaser and whiskey shots and letting another shot mix in with it.