Stomach grumbling brings the present into the forefront.
Beads of sweat cover a pasty face and hands become clammy.
Bologna and cheese and casserole and beans and carrots and bread and milk and juice
swirl around out of sync, sloshing and rising faster than the ability to get up and run.
Halfway to the bathroom chunky liquid fills cheeks, pieces of halfway digested food
on the tongue are met by another surge, the pressure causing fluid to spray out, but the solids
are kept in while racing through the main room in front of patients, dark strings of puke swaying
off the chin. Throwing the bathroom door open as another blast rises, mouth reaches maximum capacity
and the seams burst
as a medley of brown, yellow, orange, white and green covers the linoleum in front of the toilet.
With vomit everywhere, standing over the bowl, clenching a sore abdomen, hunched over, veins pop while heaving,
suffocating, sweating profusely, lurching forward and back, struggling to stay balanced as agonizing hurls force
everything out, burning throat and mouth, lunch shrapnel getting caught in teeth as the world becomes blurry and legs
become wobbly. Strong erratic convulsions take control and thick, sour bile comes up, sticks to the throat, tongue,
the roof of a cracked mouth, and coats lips. Aching, reaching out for the wall, barely able to stand as heaves of nothing but
yellow stomach acid mixed with black blood are spat out, watching them stick, stretch and dangle, too weak to detach them,
completely out of air, eyes bulging, pushing out nothing, over, and over, and over.
Dizzy, coughing, falling back against the wall, crumbling onto the wet floor, rolling away from puddles into the fetal position, arms wrapped around a stinging torso as if being attacked, rocking, soaked, shaking, feeling vindicated, deserving of such self-inflicted torment.
Standing is painful. Leaning on the sink and looking into the foggy plastic mirror is terrifying, aghast at the unrecognizable ghoul that used to be human, a skull with sunken red eyes above purple bags, hidden by dark, tangled, greasy hair, blue lips and pale skin moistened with sweat and vomit, tremors rippling throughout the bruised skeleton. Slurping water from the sink, gargling and rinsing cannot cleanse the palate of insides that have worked their way out, stripping enamel and searing taste buds.
Splashing cold water shocks life back into the departed, enough resuscitation for the corpse to drag itself out of the bathroom, bounce against a wall, and throw its loose parts toward the single-cot room. Everyone stares, whispering. Pushing into the door, unable to turn the knob, looking back at the carnage, burping, puffing up and exhaling, the smell of digestion stings the nostrils. Larry rushes out, glances at the mess, walks over calmly, says to get rest, he will clean up, and helps open the door. Falling down hard, still gagging, twitching, Larry places a trash can on the floor and wishes well before leaving. Shivering, eyes closed, praying for the first time in years,
God is asked to never open them again.
scanning the club
Her blue eyes and red lips stand out as if the only color in a gray, smoky club. Once she sees that she has been seen, we do not lose sight until we are dancing face to face. Hands begin lightly touching her hips, feeling for any softness, muffin-top, or any other physical imperfections. With such a captivating face, this is merely an exercise, totally content to fuck her in positions that emphasize eye contact. Once fingertips begin working their way to her ass, extra vanity weight is noted and ignored. She turns away, smiling, the kind of no that means yes.
It always means yes.
starting to understand... willing to change
Fully confident that feelings for Layna were not beyond those of a trusted friend, her advice is sought to make sense of recent emotional waves, the love, the hate, the cycling between those realities. Talking with Halle today was positive, but the conversation before that ended with her hanging up in frustration.
“What do you make of all this? I get that she’d be unstable after all that happened, but is this normal behavior?”
“I don’t know if I’d say it’s normal because the situation isn’t normal. When I was with my boyfriend and he beat me good a few times, I believed everything he said because I didn’t want to lose him. I know, it’s sick, right? But that’s how it was. So Halle has every right to be mad at you, but it sounds like she loves you a lot, too, so she wants to work things out.”
“Then why would she get mad about me trying to get better?”
“Because if you get better, maybe you won’t love her anymore.”
“I do not understand that. At all.”
“Don’t overthink it, stupid. How many times do I have to tell you that? Listen, you’ve been in treatment for a while, and while you’re learning all this stuff about yourself, she’s sitting all alone waiting for you to make her happy. None of the things you’ve learned, all that stuff about alcoholism and sex addiction and codependency, those things were new to you. That stuff changed the way you think but she hasn’t learned any of those things. Put yourself in her shoes. Get out of your own head, fool.”
“Oh, I’m trying. You know, you’ve been a really good friend throughout all this rehab stuff. I really appreciate everything you’ve done to help me figure these things out. I’m definitely way better off because of you. Who woulda thought you can like a chick without trying to fuck her?”
“You really know how to charm a lady.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Women aren’t all objects, you know. Some of us have real feelings. Think about all those women you’ve hurt. Imagine them sobbing because they thought you cared about them when all you wanted was sex. While you drink away your feelings, they’re doing that real ugly cry, ya know, that kind of crying where you’re heaving and almost hyperventilating. Snot bubbles, mucus running down your nose. Face all red and blotchy. Yeah, that’s because of you, pal.”
“Oh. Never thought about it like that.”
“You better start thinking about it like that, because that’s real.”
“I guess I haven’t come as far as I thought.”
“It’s not a race. You’re getting there. Remember, one day at a time.”
“One day at a time. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?”
“Well, I think this one day is over. I’m tired. All these emotions drain me.”
“Welcome to reality. I think you may recover that soul you’re always talking about. You’re a good person. Remember that.”
“Thanks. You’re a special lady, Layna.”
“I know. Thanks, though.”
“You’re welcome. Goodnight.”
Colbie is screaming. She and Lori are pushing and slapping in slow motion. There are few words, just a wailing noise demanding to get the fuck out.
Then all goes black.
Reality returns as trees whiz past, streaks of dark green beneath a black, overcast sky on shiny, wet roads. Unfounded feelings of guilt have crawled into the present, hurting inside without memory as to why. Raw emotion, the kind only felt when drinking because feelings have been phased out for years, are maddening as power is given up to this supreme Beast. There is no self, no past or future, nothing smarter or faster or stronger than this thing. And it will exist, always. If not able to beat it, then maybe understand it, let go, and pick up the pieces wherever they may fall.
Tick, tick, tick, tick.
Years of pointless endeavors, searching for peace via God or Satan, are damned.
Tick, tick, tick.
Shrieking, furious screams, demanding, ordering to get the fuck out.
Pushing on the accelerator, knowing it does not matter if this thing is good or bad, complicated or simple.
Acceptance. Seatbelt, click.
An hour or more without drugs would lead to more drinking, which would be held in check by using more cocaine later. Reeling from a generous dose of blow, control seemed within reach.
Cocaine. Always the right decision.
Live music provides the ambiance, warm and relaxing acoustics that make it easy to tolerate the time until getting Rachel into bed. Her friends ask questions, are given replies similar to those used to impress Laura and her friends. Wearing the same mask, Sebastian is able to handle their inquiries with smugness that for some reason can be charming. Results are the same, winning over the entourage, closing the deal, ensuring that the inevitable will happen.
Not if. When.
Rachel’s friends get drunk around midnight, the stupid kind of drunk that leads normal drinkers into the bathroom to puke because normal bodies are not equipped to handle gallons of liquor like real alcoholics. The girls all live together in a big house near the college. Her friends have a hard time with basic motors skills, knocking over an end table and a lamp. Laughter fills the house as more clumsiness ensues, but eventually everyone is escorted to their bedrooms.
“Let’s go downstairs to my room.”
There is no excitement, no anticipation, nothing to make this evening more special than any other. Kissing leads to fondling, which leads to shirt removal, then lying on the bed, more kissing, taking off her bra, sucking her tits, kissing down to her jeans, unbuttoning them, kissing back up her body, neck, cheek, ear, whispering vulgar ideas about what will be done to her, pulling her jeans off, kissing her thighs, oral sex, putting on a condom, missionary sex, she cums, gets fucked more, says to hurry up, eyes are closed, other women are thought about, the condom is filled, it gets pulled out, the condom snapped off and flung into a wastebasket, and an hour of tossing and turning before finally falling asleep.
when sex = drugs = nothing
More than just her name will be forgotten tomorrow.
.Raising a hand to knock, knuckles are bruised, swollen, and sting. With fingertips the window gets tapped until a lady with white hair and a blue cardigan smiles and motions to come inside.
“How are you feeling?”
“I don’t doubt it. Not too many people come to us feeling well.”
“So why ask?”
“Do you remember last night?”
“The police brought you here.”
“Well, apparently you were giving them a run for their money. They would’ve taken you to jail, but you were so drunk you couldn’t stand on your own two feet.”
“Oh. But why, what… what’d I do?”
“I believe it was a domestic situation and obstruction or disorderly, something along those lines. You were causing quite a raucous last evening, young man. You were fighting with the police but because you were so drunk they had to bring you here. Carry you in, actually. You were unable to walk, and that poor officer Jerry was having quite a time pulling you along. We gave you a breathalyzer and you couldn’t give a full breath, but it still showed up at a point three-three. As a matter of fact, would you be willing to give another breathalyzer now?”
“Sure. Fuck it.”
She has kind eyes with wrinkles of wisdom, a calm, understanding expression of the impending troubles an alcoholic habitually faces, years of experience that are empathetic but guarded, necessary when employed in a field of chronic tragedy. Placing a new plastic tube on the electronic device, holding it up, a breath is given until lungs are empty. It beeps so she pops the tube into the trash, sees the reading and turns it around. It reads “0.27.” Her gaze is real and she does not mask her emotions now.
“What happened? Why?”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Justin.”
“Why? What happened?”
“Maybe you should take a shower, eat something. It’s been a long night.”
“No. No. I want to know. Please. “
“All I know is what the police told me.”
“Then tell me that. Please. I have to know what happened. Why am I here?”
“Not now. Why don’t you go clean up and we’ll talk in a little bit, okay?”
“No. No, I’m not going anywhere until you tell me. Please. What happened last night?”
“The Motley police were dispatched to your home in response to a disturbance. When they arrived you and your wife? Girlfriend? You two were fighting, and it was violent, so they entered your home to stop you. You put up a struggle, so they detained you and brought you in.”
“Is she alright?”
“I don’t know.”
She returns my stare with equally watery eyes.
“So, now what?”
“You are going to be here for at least forty-eight hours. That’s our typical policy with admits. We’ll sober you up and get some food in you, we’ll talk more about things later. Let’s get you a towel and some fresh clothes and you can clean that blood off.”
Bloody speckles are noticed on purple knuckles and when the nurse indicates there is more, touching my face, blood chips flake off. She stands, leading the way out of the office to gather a towel and washcloth and new gray sweatpants and sweatshirt from a steel cabinet before opening the restroom door where sanctuary lies. Without a word the room is entered and the door gets locked, leaning back against a wall, sliding to the floor while holding head in hands, needing release, unwilling to feel.