When I close my eyes, I see a plastic cup filled with ice and a blue bag on the passenger seat. I hear a crazy woman screaming at him, holding on to the door handle on the driver’s side, “Give me the fucking bottle or I’ll call the police!” I can feel the pull as he puts the car into gear and drives away. It is my 48th birthday.
What are you afraid of? Why can’t you see it’s time to leave?
There is someone new pursuing me. He messages me several times a day to ask “What are you doing?” Or “How is your day?” I remind him I’m married and he says “Don’t worry. I just want to be friends.” Can they smell it on me? Desperation? Loneliness? Hopelessness? Fear?
I ask for the bottle when he returns. He says he threw it away. “Where? Where is it?”
“In a trash can by the Taco Bell.”
“Which one? Which can?” I ask. There are no trash cans by the Taco Bell. He hesitates. “The one by the fabric store.” Fucking liar.
I search his car the next morning while he’s in the shower. I dig through buckets and boxes in the garage too, before realizing there are too many places for a bottle to hide. I stand in the doorway in my bathrobe, my hair and eyes wild.
When he comes down, I search his lunch bag. I escort him to his car, and I stand there watching as he pulls away, waiting for the garage door to completely close. He tells me later that he’s ok with this. That I should stay on top of him. Never trust anything. He says it like this is normal.
Nope nope nope. Not a word of this is normal. Not a word is ok. I am standing on the brink, with one foot dangling over the edge.