You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….
Everything looks different at night, doesn’t it? I turned to watch the back of Julia’s slim body walk away from me, in the snow one last time. For a second I thought I would run after her, tell her I would change. But, I had gone down this road too many times, that even I didn’t believe my own shit now.
I liked to drink, so what? We all drank, mostly vodka, sometimes beer, I did cocaine a couple of times. Julia and I lived together in our first floor apartment in Soho. Those were good times, we had just graduated from NYU, we both worked to pay the rent and we hung out with a bunch of friends. Sometimes our parents would write checks to help us out with the rent or just to be nice which was awesome for us.
We would have brunch on Sundays in the Village with our friends, mimosas were free and I knew the bartender, he and I were buddies, so he always gave me an extra shot or two of vodka in mine. It felt good to be with my girlfriend, out on Sundays in the summer sun. This was Julia’s idea of perfection, she looked forward to it every week, I loved that she looked so happy.
I don’t know if she suspected that I drank more than what she saw but she did give me a few curious looks now and then. Since she didn’t ask me about it, I chose not to tell her. I wasn’t lying really. Our fights were always about me drinking and getting high anyway, I didn’t want to start something else. No way.
We both drank, maybe me a little more, fine, a lot more and we got high once in a while, listened to music. I don’t even know when things started to change, I can’t remember although Julia could probably remember ever damn fucking situation that she seemed to bring up and throw in my face as often as she could. “Of course you can’t remember, she would scream at me you were totally doped up, drunk and passed out.”
She was right but I would never admit to it. I’m an angry drunk and I took my anger out on her, I threw things, broke things, I crashed her light green plates across the apartment but I never laid a hand on her. Almost came close, twice. Real close but I didn’t, she had gone but she had always come back after a couple of days. Always.
This time, was different. She gave me an ultimatum, choose a treatment program or her. I told her I would try, really try but this time but I saw golden sparks coming out of her deep brown eyes. She kept standing and wouldn’t sit down even when I tried to pull her close to me. When I tried to kiss her she moved away. “C’mon baby, I love you, don’t you know that?” I asked. She said she knew “but it wasn’t enough anymore.” I just kept shaking my head and mumbling “no, can’t do, no, no, no, not for you, no, no, no.” She turned around and abruptly left my apartment slamming the door. The noise hurt my ears.
Since when is love not enough? I knew she loved me too. For a second I thought I would run after her but instead I lit up a joint, poured myself a stiff drink, a tall vodka on ice. After a while, I didn’t care that she was gone, I was probably better off. She was just a nuisance anyway, always bugging me to get clean.
I didn’t need her anymore. I didn’t need anyone. I was happy just the way I was. Damn straight, I refilled my glass of vodka to the top.