It’s queerly odd how many times I’ve mentioned it in my fiction, the idea of alcoholism being contagious. It’s 12:24am and I think creativity has had its last laugh. You have me bent; knock kneed double at the waist. Like some old Latin poem.
You are thirty-one years old and moving out of your mother’s basement. I wish this was fiction. I have gained the peculiar habit of tearing away at my cuticles while hopped up on Adderall. You have assured me that my previous Concerta prescription would not go to waste.
But when does it all become fiction? Do I slap a metaphor onto your character’s soul? Do you merely become a representation of a “message” I mean to convey? Or rather, is fiction a masking for the portrayal of truth? Your name, your actions, my actions, our sins, all dressed under the enticing headline of “creative writing.”
They say you die twice: first, when your body lowers into its grave, and second, when someone utters your name for the last time. Baby I hope we become famous. You, and your blue-collar bullshit alcoholism – me, and my pretentious attempt at captivating it all through art. REMEMBER US. WE DRANK TOGETHER. We fucked together. Sometimes, too drunk. Your dick would get limp and I convinced myself I wasn’t thin enough. I suppose that is what it means to date an alcoholic: your dick is limp and maybe I should eat less. Your dick is limp and maybe I should’ve realized that no one gave a shit about us.
Remember when we dreamily discussed rehab? You had me convinced you would attend. That you would be active, retrospective, ready. It’s been two weeks and you haven’t hit the bottle but you also haven’t returned their calls. We both know you can’t do this alone. Perhaps my greatest strength is knowing that I can’t be the one to help you, either. But baby, it’s been two weeks and your dick is still limp.
So I help you pack. “Help” being the operative word. I drunkenly watch the news (if you can refer to John Oliver as such) while I repeatedly FaceTime you to no avail. And then you answer. And then we fight. I am all tight lip and downward expression. You are all passive aggression, “let-me-remind-you-how-much-my-life-sucks.” I cry, say fuck you. You hang up.
I write. I write about you being an alcoholic. Maybe this is what my junior English professor meant by “metafiction.”
Sometimes, I hear noises outside my window and pretend it’s you climbing out of your piece of shit 1996 dodge. I live in the middle of nowhere, after all. The sound of the heat turning back on, or the dishwasher turning cycles could be you – unlocking the side door, flicking your cigarette onto my side porch. Texting me, “I’m here,” even though you know I live alone and the door is always unlocked when I know you are near.
When you know I expect no one but you.
I think you started those texts because you didn’t want to surprise me. You know I hate surprises. I think of those goddamn millennials and their ghost vibration syndrome with their mobile phones – whatever the fuck they call it now. That’s why my phone is always silent. No vibration, no noise, no nothing. Just you, standing behind me on my rear porch while I go from first position to fifth to the sound of John Tavener: mocking me when you finally tap me on the shoulder to say hello.
But you never saw me dance.
It’s been two weeks. You invited me to couples’ counseling at rehabilitation. I only say that because it sounds better than the abbreviated “rehab.” I said no. Got drunk off my shitty wine and wrote a poem that will never see the light of day. Wrote an essay that’ll make you curse my name. Wrote about your limp dick, my bruised ego, our battered hearts. Dulce et Decorum – oh fuck it who cares.