Listlessly, Almost Resigned

"You're fucking crazy," she said listlessly, almost resigned.

She knew it was no use even talking.

I was up and gone and out the door, pulling my jacket on as I waited for the lift.  The numbers lit up above the sliding doors and then the lift pinged open.  I pressed the close button as soon as I could reach it and let myself sink down to the ground floor.

Forty Five minutes.

Outside the street was busy but empty in that middle of the afternoon kind of way.  I strode along with my hands in my jacket pockets and weaved in between slower walkers.  It was just three blocks to the liquor store, and once inside I scooped up a bottle of wine and sat it on the counter as I counted out the notes from my wallet.  Eight bucks.  Quality, no doubt.

Back on the street again, it was as though I leapt to the corner in a single stride and sank right into the empty seat beside the bus stop.  No one waiting, and people moving past without paying me attention.  I cracked the seal on the wine and drank with the practiced elegance of a heron swallowing a frog.

"If you're not going to do anything about it - then I will" She said, looking blankly out the window.

More a promise to herself than a threat.

I heard what she was saying, but I was too far along my way - on a roll and the momentum of my drinking was not letting me just step off like that.  It would take some sort of crushing outside event to wake me up to do anything differently.  That much I knew.

In three long glug glugs, the bottle was empty.  Eight bucks gone.  Seven bucks left.  I lurched with the swirl of a headspin and redirected myself to the deli.  Smiling and waving and nodding and not opening my mouth to the people behind the counter.  Swallowing my saliva to suppress the alcohol smell.

"Six slices of Swiss," I pointed next to the cold cuts under the glass.  A long breadstick with little seeds, tucked under my arm where the wine had been.  Five dollars 10.

Back three blocks, and across the street, and into the lobby of the building.  Wash my hands, and rinse my mouth and gulp two mouthfuls of warm water in the bathroom, scrape my tongue with my top teeth.

The lift opens unhurried and I step inside and feel the up and before I exhale the doors reveal my floor.

Inside, she is still sitting in the same position I left her.  Hands limply clasped, an expression of resolve around her mouth, the unmade bed like swathes of alabaster marble unsculpted.

This time, she says it again, and she can tell I've been drinking, without smelling me or seeing me or anything - she just knows - it's what a drunk does - drink.

"You're fucking crazy," she says, listlessly, almost resigned.

She knew it was no use even talking.

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  1. All those years we fooled ourselves into thinking we were fooling everyone else. All gone with a snap of sober fingers. I now tell my hubby I can tell the moment he unscrews the cap on the bottle when he's a hundred miles away.

    1. Hi Kary May, I wrote this because the image is just so powerful don't you think? The silence and the grim determination? One time I was in the city on business and I told everyone I was going for a run and I went out with my running gear on and stopped off to chug a bottle of verdelho - then came back and had a shower and pretneded I wasn't buzzed.... Long gone.. Good to see you again!, Bren

  2. Is this some kind of joke? Hey, I'm still drinking so not judging but have been reading your blog for a long time. You've written a book and everything else WTF?!? Is this where all the work gets you? Take care my friend.

    1. No joke, it's called fiction - when I get stuck in the afternoon I sometimes write some fiction purely as a distraction - I'm a writer and artist now - can't you tell?


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