Category Archives: Alcoholism and other Assholes

Motherhood becomes me

For the first time in my life I feel content in my own skin. It’s as if my skin needed to be stretched to an uncomfortably pregnant degree then shrunk back down again, a little looser, a little wrinklier. I feel more me than ever before. Maybe I was always meant to be this woman, this Mother. I lived as a reckless, petulant child, a depressed and listless sleepwalker and an unpredictable addict. I never quite felt right, like I was put together sloppily; my limbs loose and awkward, toenails and hair follicles seeming too alive while my intestines contracted and died over and over again.
Today as I pull up my jeans I feel a sense of contentment. My ass might be a little flatter without an hour a day to devote to pilates. My tummy a bit loose and with the faintest of stretch marks. My engorged breats are almost always ridiculously lopsided. My eyes reddened and burdened with a months worth of luggage.
I turn briefly towards a mirror as I walk out of the room. I don’t stand, turn, squat and peek from odd angles obsessing over every square inch of my body the way I used to do every single day. I feel good and fuck it, they were after all my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans. I may fill them out a bit differently than before but I love the differences because they represent the Mother that I have become.

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Filed under Alcoholism and other Assholes, I am a Mother, I am Pregnant

Dressing room melt down

Dressing rooms have always been a place of misery and torment for me and often the beginning of yet another period of tortuous self-destruction. I don’t know how many times I have left a dressing room with mascara smeared across my reddened face and headed home in a silent rage, shaking and choking back sobs. A bottle of vodka helped wash away the shame, followed either by days of starvation or endless binge and purge sessions. Starvation felt too rewarding, light-headed and calm, my mind able to focus too clearly on the problems at hand; my fat ass, my huge thighs, my cheesy blue skin that glared at me almost fluorescently under the dressing room lighting. Bulimia felt more appropriately like punishment, my stomach uncomfortably distended with undesirable food cooked hastily, consumed furiously without tasting, no enjoyment what so ever. Because that isn’t the point and I certainly do not deserve to enjoy anything. Violently purging again and again, swallowing water from the bathroom sink only to purge again, making sure everything came out clear or at least red tinged, a little blood just means you are doing it right. As I sat huddled in the bathroom, heart skipping beats, lungs and esophagus burning with bile dripping from my nose, I stared at my bloodied knuckles and I knew that I deserved this.

For years, I have made a point of avoiding dressing rooms which was usually easy seeing as how I mostly shop at thrift stores that do not have dressing rooms. “Eyeballing” measurements have led to a closet full of clothes that don’t fit quite as expected and many trips to resale shops, trash bag over the shoulder disappointment and a five dollar store credit slip.

This thrift store vintage polyester clad closet of mine hasn’t been too generous with maternity wear but I thought I was making the best of the temporary situation with what I had. Well, boy was I fucking wrong. I was made very aware that I had worn out my welcome with two dresses that still fit quite well, especially paired with my fave Sam Kinison coat. Apparently I had crossed into crazy territory simply by wearing the same outfit one too many times and by donning a wool coat on an 80 degree day. Comments like, “You know you actually don’t look pregnant in that outfit, you kind of just looked like you put on weight” and “That coat on a thin girl says, ‘Downtown chic’ but on a fat girl it says, ‘I have 13 cats”, finally convinced me to go shopping for actual maternity clothes, the kind with stretchy stomach panels that go up to your tits and a little extra room in the hips.

I hesitantly walked into the maternity store at the mall and was greeted by a chirpy young girl and I immediately wanted to turn away and run but considering the fact that my red leather pumps had created a substantial blister on my heel I was actually yearning for the relief of a sitting down in a quiet dressing room. I quickly grabbed up a few options; a black skirt, black capri pants, bootcut stretchy jeans and a pair of skinny (fucking hilarious) jeans, all with said tit approaching stretchy panel. I wobbled back to the row of torture chambers, closing the door behind me with a sigh or maybe it was a grunt. I sat down, drank a bottle of water and attempted to prepare myself for this momentous event. Stalling, I applied lip gloss and checked my text messages. Before I had even begun the task at hand the chirpy young girl was asking me how I was doing. I replied cordially and sat a little longer, contemplating the “eyeball” method and just buying the clothes and going home. “Eyeballing” may have worked half of the time in the past but seeing as how I haven’t really given too much actual mirror time to this new body of mine I knew I had to do it. I had to strip naked in this tiny room under this awful disfiguring lighting that I swear only exists in dressing rooms. I remove my well-worn polyester dress with ease and as I bend over to remove my heels I am confronted with reality. I am plastered across the mirror covered wall like a billboard advertisement for albino dairy cows in drag (yet another wonderful premise for a children’s book).

Motherfucker, shit, oh my fucking god, this has to be a fucking joke, you fat fucking bitch whore. Okay, calm down you red-faced sweaty bitch. Don’t you start crying, not this time. You are a grown ass woman and you are fucking pregnant which is why you are in a fucking maternity store and buying fucking maternity clothes.

Calm down, breathe. Okay, skirt, not too terribly bad. Next, black capris, hmmm….the stretchy tummy to tit panel is kind of comfortable. Boot cut jeans, terrible. Skinny Jeans, don’t even make it off the hanger. Done. Quickly slip into my cool polyester dress noticing the holes under the arms and barely there stitches in the hems threatening complete detachment at any moment. I pull on my Kinison coat, careful not to further rip the lining as I slide my arms into the sleeves. I take my raggedy ass self up to the register and pay for my new clothes as the chirpy girl fills my bag with diaper coupons and nipple cream samples. I leave the store with a renewed sense of “I am pregnant motherfuckers” empowerment and “I am a fat fucking cow” self-hatred. That old bitch self-hatred is never too far away, she hides out for a bit, biding her time, especially in dressing rooms. She is like a yeasty mold and the dressing room is a moist fold of skin in the middle of summer. The stench is pretty much the same and the lingering itch an embarrassing reminder of your awful fucking human self.

Finally at home I take a hot bath to wash away the grime of public transportation and street traffic but more importantly to soak my bloody blistered feet. I’m still not giving up on my heels no matter how painful it may be. I reflect on my day, my mirrored image, my pasty white ass and thick thighs.

I want to drink, I want to be empty, I want to hurt and get lost in the numbness that proceeds the purge.

These thoughts come as instantly and easily as ever before, flashing red lights and sirens of demands. In the past I conceded quickly and without much of a struggle, giving in with arms outstretched in search of comfort and relief. Now, I have a choice, a choice I never knew was there. I can just sit with these feelings, let them linger and hang in the air around me. A staring contest of sorts, who will look away first? They lose and I am left staring at the mound in front of me, my stomach poking out from the peaks of bubbles and the rising of steam.

I haven’t thought much about the kid at all today, you know me being the selfish ass bitch that I am. I was too busy staring into a fucking mirror hating myself to realize that I was also staring at the body that is busy creating the brain of my child. How can I hate that? How can I feel these self-destructive urges while my kid is in there, sucking on his fingers and opening and closing his tiny little eyelids? I feel a rather adamant kick to the ribs and place my hands on my stomach in an effort to soothe him. In a hot bath, hands on my rounded abdomen holding my son safe I am at peace.

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The unexpected acceptance

I saw a picture of myself and I didn’t scream and look the other way. The picture was taken shortly before I got pregnant and I was wearing tight jeans and a tiny little cardigan. I was out hiking with my dogs and I didn’t have on my usual heels and my makeup was a little worn through, although I did have a nice healthy flush to my cheeks, a natural blush brought on by physical exertion.

I looked closer and thought the strangest goddamn thing, I thought, “I was fucking thin, I really was.” I have gone through my entire life in a constant state of unease with my own physical appearance. Thoughts of, “I am fat”, “I am hideous”, “I am huge”, “I fucking hate myself”, have gone through my head on a continuous loop, over and over, ever louder and more demanding of my complete attention.

I never once felt content with my body, not one single part of it. I hated my thick thighs, my wrinkled knees and less than feminine calves. My strong shoulders and muscled back from too many years of lifting gallons of milk and bags of coffee beans. My skin, covered in freckles and other such bumps and spots, a mottled mixture of pinks, reds, yellows and even some blues. My stomach that even an hour of pilates a day never achieved anything close to toned or flat. My ass, oh god, my fucking ass, my giant dimpled ass. The more I worked out the bigger it got, more sturdy and shelf like, two distinct cheeks moving independently as I walked like they were trying to get away from each other, two separate entities seeking their own personalities. My small, child like breasts could not have been more out-of-place on my solid 5’9″ frame. I even hated my hands, my short bloated fingers and reddened knuckles.

The fucking battles that have gone on between my body and myself. I tried to starve it to death. It won. I tried to purge myself inside out, until my bowels floated in the toilet bowl along with undigested food speckled with blood. It won. I tried to drown it in vodka and cheap red wine. It won.

And now I am pregnant, a massive exaggeration of a woman, my stomach protruding further and further every day. My breasts now those of a woman, nipples swollen and waiting, anticipating. My hips and thighs growing larger, stronger, carrying both myself and child. My ass has successfully taken on the personalities of both Mother and whore. My arms eagerly await the weight of a baby. My body is no longer something to hate, to destroy. My body has created love, a love I never knew existed. A love I never thought I could deserve. A love I feel with every kick, with every wiggle between my ribs.

After I give birth and return to my “normal” size, I wonder if I can manage to be somewhat accepting of my body, to possibly be able to see the girl in the photograph instead of the girl in the mirror. Because those goddamn mirrors are tricky ass liars and they always will be. Will I still have a little bit of love for myself, for my body? The body that created something so beautifully alive and real? Or will I return to my old ways of self-hatred, name calling, restriction, purging and all the other destructive means I have construed to torture myself? I would like to think that all that shit is behind me or at least most of it; splattered on the wall behind a filthy toilet, scrawled into the door of a rest stop bathroom and spit into the sink like a mouthful of twenty-dollar cum.

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Selfish

My greatest desires are for solitude and anonymity. Neither of which are possible especially now that I am bringing a new life into this overwhelmingly intrusive world.

I am a selfish ass bitch, always have been, mostly with my self. I am an only child which automatically gives a person the right to be selfish but I have taken selfishness to an entirely new level. I am not talking about the kind of “no, you can’t have a cookie, they are mine” kind of selfishness but the much more destructive kind that causes a person to withdraw from reality without any consideration for those who still reside in a world where people say “hello”.

I am secretive and sneaky as shit when I need to be. I became an amazing liar, mostly to myself. I faked a life and almost succeeded at death before I realized I was so full of shit that I could barely breathe. Terrible way to die, suffocating on your own stinking shit.

Opening myself up, airing out my rotting cavities, hanging my bloody panties out on the fence, staring into my own asshole just to see what’s in there. Offending my senses, arousing my curiosities, I peered further and found that I am not just a selfish alcoholic on the verge of collapse, that I am flesh and blood, that I am real.

Now that I am pregnant and feeling more “real” than I ever could have imagined, I would hope that I would lose some of my selfish ways and see shit from some entirely new plane of Motherhood consciousness that I should somehow have gained access to. No such luck. I am feeling even more selfish, more reserved and less communicative than ever. But I am remaining positive that the destructive nature of these emotions are being put to good use and with all hopes of a positive outcome for the kid. I am positive because now the basis of my selfishness is founded solely on love. Love and a huge amount of “get the fuck away from my kid or I will kill you” sort of emotions.

Fuck, all I do is contradict myself. In one afternoon I address and mail about 100 invitations to a baby shower that I am halfheartedly committed to and then suddenly and belligerently swear off all human contact simply because I couldn’t fit into my fluorescent Hawaiian gown.

As I resign myself to black stretchy yoga pants I realize what I am really feeling (besides the kids knees pounding into my ribs). I am afraid. Afraid of the moment when the kid is no longer just “mine”. He is going to come out and be a part of the world. He will be held by other people, cuddled by family and friends, stared and cooed at by strangers and licked by my dogs. His toes which once tickled my insides will soon be kissed by lips that are not mine. My selfish ass bitch self is fucking angry about this. I want to scream out, “He is mine motherfuckers, back the fuck off!”

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What’s left besides bones and hair?

What does a hopeless waste of a life look like? A 59 year old crystal meth addict wearing booty shorts and high top Chuck Taylor’s? Insanely red hair with two inches of white roots? Ninety pounds of gauntness on a 5’3″ frame that’s shrinking by the minute? A gesticulating mess of limbs with an oscillating jaw spraying saliva in every direction?

“What’s your address?”

“Umm…I don’t know, let me go see.”

“You have lived here for months!”

She wanders from room to room. Never ending organizational projects fill up spaces where a life should be. Collections of nothingness, picked through and stripped to the bone.

Days and nights are meaningless when your eyes have forgotten how to close.

She is gone, she was never actually there.

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The attentive fetus and Howard Stern

At six months pregnant the little guy has become familiar with noises like our dogs barking and my constant vacuuming, but he is also familiar with voices he hears often; mine of course, his Father’s and the most important voice of all, that of Howard Stern. I listen to the King all day, every day; as I sit at the computer, as I clean the house and as I commute on the bus, making a spectacle of myself, laughing like a lunatic.

I have been listening to the Howard Stern Show every single day for almost twenty years. Howard, Robin, Fred, Gary, Benjy, Sal, Richard, Beetlejuice, Wendy the retard, Jeff the drunk….they are all a part of my family. I mourned the death of Hank the Dwarf as if he were my own drunken misfit Brother. During the Artie years I felt especially entangled emotionally in the show, addiction spiraling out of control in a disaster of lies and chaos. Artie was one of the funniest motherfuckers ever and I hope with all my heart that he somehow finds some solace in his life.

The show and everyone who has ever been a part of it have all been such an important part of my life, the building of my personality and my sense of humor. I honestly don’t know what I will do with myself when the dreaded day comes when Howard retires. I hope he sticks it out for a few more years so the kid can get a good start in life with the King as his mentor.

I know what people think about Howard, people who have never actually listened to the show for any period of time, people who have opinions simply to have them with no actual foundation on which to base them on. Luckily, I don’t give a fuck about other people’s opinions about Howard Stern, the same way I don’t give a fuck about anyone’s opinion about anything, especially those pertaining to my life.

I wonder if when the kid is born he will look around and think, “Ok, so that’s the loud cackling laughing lady and that’s the big guy with all the stupid voices. Where the fuck is the other guy? The deep voiced neurotic guy who yells at Ba-Ba-Booey and gives such great ass wiping advice?”

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A kick in the face

Today I am reminded that I am an alcoholic, that I am a bulimic, that I am very fucking far from cured of any of the self-destructive behaviors that I am so undeniably addicted to. I can walk around with my rotundly pregnant belly and want a drink just as badly as the drunkard falling over in his seat on the bus. I can feel my baby squirming around inside of me and want to binge on junk food for hours just for the sake of purging, the wonderful empty high of bulimia. I can imagine holding my Son in a few months as vividly and yearningly as I can imagine smoking an entire pack of cigarettes in one afternoon.

Annoyance, simple everyday annoyance brings this shit on. Not life shattering events, not horrific news of some tragedy, not a fight amongst lovers or friends, not even slightly more complicated feelings like anger or stress, just plain old annoyance.

I had an appointment today, I contemplated not going, I always do, and I always go. I seem to have a busy calendar as of late with appointments at the Doctor, the Dentist, the Therapist (sort of, not really an actual therapist.) You see, when you go to the OB/GYN and are honest about your shit they will refer you to a counselor type person to assist you through your pregnancy. The woman I was assigned to happened to be an addiction and eating disorder specialist, so she will obviously know everything there is to know about me. It actually isn’t all that bad. I talk incessantly and answer questions before she can ask them and leave her pretty much speechless except to schedule our next appointment.

The annoyance began on my walk to the train station. The sun was absolutely blinding, the wind blowing my hair into my face, wisps sticking to my lip gloss slathered mouth. My feet already blistered, begin to throb within minutes. I don’t want to be outside today, the traffic too loud, the streets too crowded. Waiting for the train, I shift my increasing weight from foot to foot and try to avoid eye contact with some creepy asshole staring at me. Already I am done with this day. I want to escape, I want to scream, I want to fall down on the ground and throw a tantrum like a child.

Trudging my way up the long ass hill to the Hospital I almost take off my heels because who gives a fuck anymore, barefoot and pregnant, embrace it.

My annoyance turns me into an uppity ass bitch, click clacking in my heels down the hospital halls. What a scene I am, in my dress and coat, my bouffant and my eyebrows. I heave my bright red leather luggage I haul around as my purse, up and onto the reception desk, rummaging for my ID.

“Yes, I am her, can’t you tell? Are there others?”

Losing track of what’s real I want only to sit and write, to ignore the day that surrounds me, engulfs me.

The hour goes by in the usual fashion, my prattling on about healthy meal consumption and yes, of course I intend on attending meetings more regularly.

I leave and face the harsh assault of sunlight, traffic and obnoxious ass people crowding around me on the train.

Why did I leave the house today?

Hauling my ass home, completely aggravated with every living thing from the green grass and bright flowers to the singing birds in the trees. I don’t even wave back to the friendly neighbor who chirps hello from her porch, I just want to go home and crawl into bed. No, what I really want is to go home, open a bottle of wine and light a cigarette. My brain doesn’t give a shit that I am pregnant, it wants what it wants and it is screaming it loud and clear.

Well fuck you brain, fuck you Regina, you selfish goddamn brat. You don’t get what you want anymore.

Home. I write. I eat frozen yogurt. I watch my dogs play. I take a nap. I am ok.

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Sensory awakenings

Bullshit. I see it on everyone’s face, I hear it in everyone’s voice and I smell it, the rotting stench of deception and ulterior motives. I attribute my new-found sensory abilities to my sobriety.

When I was drinking, I could deal with absolutely anything with this one simple theory “where can I get a drink?” It made everything so simple, my goals were simple. And once my goal achieved, the problem itself was a distant obstacle, not worth dealing with. Situations were glazed over in an effort to simply “get by”. And I did, I got by for years. I didn’t accomplish much, but I survived and I fooled everyone (almost) into thinking I was fine.

Sobriety has given me  a new outlook on my surroundings and of course myself. I had no idea that I was even capable of feeling the emotions that now come up on an almost daily basis. I am hostile, I am appalled, I am fucking annoyed. An onslaught of sorts is occurring and I feel almost….violated, especially by those around me that I never paid much attention to in the past. I discovered that I don’t care much for most of the personal relationships that I once needed. And I have found that because most people never knew the actual me, the me beyond the girl having a good time with a drink in her hand, that I must either put in the time to introduce myself or forget about the relationship entirely.

I find myself constantly questioning people’s sincerity, and my own as well. I may have stopped consciously lying but I still find myself holding back my feelings and honest opinions when speaking to people. I don’t have to “get by” anymore, I don’t have to keep a calm exterior to avoid fucking up the balance between the reality I have created and the reality everyone else lives in.

The path is now clear, the wine bottles hauled away with the garbage. I can see all the bullshit, it’s as close as the end of my driveway. But I’m not letting it in the front door quite yet. I still need a little more time to think this through, plan a strategy that requires more tools than a cork screw.

 

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I never want to feel that way again

“When was your last drink?”

“October 13, 2011, about 3pm”

“What was it?”

“Champagne, I was at work and I drank that shit all day”

I was a fucking mess. But goddamnit if the ED part of me doesn’t love how thin I was at the time. I had quit eating regular meals and had dropped to well below my average adult weight. I was also shitting blood every day and was covered in bruises. But I was thin, my stomach flat and my clavicle nicely exaggerated.

I realized today that both my first and last drinks were champagne (excluding the wine I got drunk on at two years old). I don’t even particularly like champagne, I was always privy to vodka, from Stoli to Popov, I wasn’t picky. I never once bought a bottle of champagne. It was a work thing, an availability issue, it was free and there for the drinking.

My last drunk week was a chaotic disaster of lies. I had promised to quit drinking a week earlier. A promise I knew I would not keep, one of thousands I had made to others and to myself. Fuck promises, they mean nothing. I was sneaking and lying, two things I am ridiculously talented at. But this time was different, I felt bad about it. I felt…..guilty, at the time an extremely rare emotion for me.

It was near the end of my shift and I was sipping on my travel coffee mug (filled with champagne) while I was scrubbing a mountain of dishes. The heaping mound of trash behind me filled the small back room of the kitchen with the foul odors of a busy morning. I was covered in grease, coffee grounds and questionable slime. My back ached and sweat dripped between my breasts, it was a normal afternoon. I patted my apron pocket to make sure I had my smokes handy, a compulsive movement I did numerous times a day out of comfort and security.

Suddenly, I was completely disgusted, with myself, my situation, with every fucking aspect of my life. I threw up into the sink, hot liquid spraying out of my mouth and nose, choking spasms of revulsion let loose all over plates of egg matter and bowls crusted with tomato soup. I screamed and spit violently, wanting to be rid of everything inside me, my burning esophagus, my rotting stomach, my fucked up brain, my worthless soul.

And that was it, I was done. I didn’t feel like a liar, I didn’t question why I felt the way that I did. I felt primal, my survival instinct kicked me in the head and I woke the fuck up.

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I want to feel like this forever

“When was your first drink?”

“God, two years old I guess”

“Two?! Ok, I will rephrase. When was the first time you got good and drunk?”

“Yeah, two. But I know what you mean. I was 13 the first time I willingly got drunk”

Ok, here are explanations of both….

Booze was never taboo in my family, it flowed freely at parties and my parents never kept track of what was in the house. In fact my first official drunk was when I was just a toddler. I obviously don’t remember this but I have heard my Mom tell the story over and over, laughing every time. I apparently stumbled over to the coffee table, grabbed a glass of red wine and downed the entire thing, a professional drinker at two! She told me that I screamed all night long, eyes rolling around in my head (I must have hated the spins as badly then as I did years later). She was too afraid to take me to the hospital for fear of persecution from Child Protective Services. I toughed it out that night, I survived to drink again one day. There is no stopping a determined toddler with DNA mapped out perfectly for addiction and substance abuse.

My next good drunk, New Years Eve, 1993. I swallowed my first glass quickly, my mood as sour as the champagne. I was struggling with bulimia, and by struggling I mean not having enough time to vomit between meals or enough hours in the day to obsessively run mile after mile. I hated school and everyone there. The only solace in my life was my new-found love affair with smoking.

My second glass, enjoyed a little more than the first but still gulped with purposeful intent. I feel the bubbles in my nose and this makes me gag a little as I am reminded of the sensation of vomit spraying out of my nostrils which unfortunately is a daily occurrence.

My third glass marks the end of the first bottle. I sneak out the back door for a smoke. I hold my glass of champagne in one hand and my Marlboro Light in the other. I feel like a fucking supermodel for about half a second. I am in love with that fleeting sensation of power, sex and maturity. I am no longer a child, if I ever was one at all. I stare at the night sky inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, luxuriantly.

The second bottle of champagne disappears in no time at all. My Mom is asleep in front of the television, Dick Clark counting the year down like pennies thrown in a fountain, meaningless wishes and a waste of time. I stumble into my room and collapse onto my bed. I have one loud continuous thought reverberating through my head, “I want to feel like this forever, I want to feel like this forever….”

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This fire needs some vodka

I used to fantasize about walking down the street naked while the world burned down around me. This idea began during the Summer of 2003 while wildfires spread across Southern California.

Day and night the sound of sirens penetrated every thought and non stop news coverage dominated television. Most people rushed home from work, if they still had a home to rush to. Normal activity ceased and everyone switched into survival mode; securing their belongings in vehicles ready to leave the second they were given the command from the police and fireman that seemed to be securing and patrolling every square foot of San Diego. Every square foot that is except for anywhere near my neighborhood and I could see the fucking flames from my front door!

Where were the firetrucks? Where were the emergency broadcast warnings alerting my neighborhood to evacuate? And why was I the only one concerned about the situation? My neighbors were acting as if it were a normal Wednesday afternoon, one neighbor was even mowing his lawn. Burning leaves were blowing down the street and Bob was sitting atop his riding lawnmower with a bandanna wrapped around his face to keep out the hot ash that thickened the air to a sickening degree. Bob was a cranky WWII veteran and a silly fire was not going to interfere with his plans, Wednesday was lawn mowing day motherfuckers and that was that.

I however was not nearly as calm. I was simply too confused to take any action at all. I had no car to pack and I was at a total loss of what was important enough to pack anyways. So I sat in my living room with my dogs and stared at the house full of belongings I had accumulated over my 23 years. Shit, it was all shit. I didn’t care about any of it, not enough to save from a fire. I began to think how it might be nice actually, to be rid of it all. I had my dogs, fuck the rest.

So, I made a drink, a tumbler full of vodka and black cherry soda. I wandered around outside, the thick smoke filling my lungs and burning my eyes. Ash fell like snow, decorating my hair and clothes. I raised my face to the sky and stuck out my tongue, tasting the burnt remains of a tree, a home or maybe even a dog left tied to a tree, abandoned in the haste of retreat.

I watched the flames lick the murky blackening sky, the sun setting somewhere in the muted horizon. My mood relaxed with the approach of evening and the start of my second tumbler of cheap vodka. It was then that I realized that Bob and I were not so different after all, he had his rituals which kept him secure and so did I. Everything seemed fine once I was comfortably intoxicated, nighttime was vodka drinking time and that was that motherfuckers.

The night turned silent, firetrucks never came, the police now only patrolling the richer neighborhoods to the north. Those within the highest tax brackets received the most attention. We were left to fend for ourselves, garden hoses and water pails if you were determined to save what little you had.

I waited in silence for the onslaught of flames, for the wind to bring the fire down upon my head like a rainstorm. I wanted to strip naked, arms outstretched in acceptance, welcoming the destruction.

The fire stopped short of my street by about half a mile.

Within a week things seemed to have returned to normal except for the endless sweeping and cleaning of ash that covered every comprehensible surface, not just outside but inside the house as well. More than a year later I was still sweeping ash out from behind my washing machine.

Everyone had returned to work, the terrifying sleepless vacation was over. I was at one of the many Cafes I have worked at over the years and I was telling my co-worker Suzanne about my revelation that I had during my drunken night watching the fire approach my home. I described the scenario in detail, the end of the world fire storm surrounding me as I walked naked down the street. “Completely naked?” she asked. “Well, I was on my period so I guess I would have been wearing a tampon string.”

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