I used to be so in love with You.
What? Are you kidding? On a day like today? I would’ve been all over You. Cold. Sharp. Crisp. Glug. Glug. Glug. Beer. Wine. Vodka. Rubbing Alcohol. Name Your Poison.
Suddenly empowered. No longer the short, chronically-in-pain, unpublished, loser of a wife. No. Tall, healthy and successful. All legs and no regrets.
I saw You yesterday. Up close and personal. Retched at the puddles of warm white wine. The clink-clank pained my ears as I stuffed 15 of You into garbage bags. My nostrils twitched at the vomit-stained towels. I flinched as the lies landed upon me, branding my already burning skin. Lies I recognized as my own, a pattern slipped into as easily as a worn pair of jeans.
I admit it. I still think about You. Once in a while, my heart flips when I hear the pharmacist confirm an order for: Hydrocodone. Oxycodone. Dilaudid. Adderall. Name Your Poison.
Sometimes, my pupils dilate as I witness a gymnastic pour at the bar. My empty stomach twists. I imagine the sharp stream coursing down my throat into the welcoming waters below. Splish. Splash. Toss down a couple of opiates. Then a couple more. My pulse quickens. My flesh swells in anticipation. And for 20 minutes I am coming harder than I ever have in my life.
Relapse is awesome. You are magic.
Relapse is awful. You are a magic trick.
You dazzle in your cunningness. The infinite and glorious light of You, beams of euphoria I had just been riding, fade away. I am falling. One by one, the lights go out. Like a gigantic light switch, or, many hundreds all at once. Click. I am cut off. From my husband, friends, and family. From my God. From myself. I am alone, and it is darker than it has ever been in my life.
I am crawling toward a light I can no longer see.
I wish I could take you outside and beat You up. Taste blood on my lips as I pummel You into the ground. Kick dirt into Your eyes, and spit upon the quivering lump of You.
I used to beat up little girls because of You. When I was 7, I would march across the playground. Scan. Point. Announce. “I’m gonna beat you up.” Justified anger vibrated through my curled fingers as I knocked those wide-eyes gals off their innocent feet.
“Daddy just needs to go on vacation.”
I knew everyone was lying. Kids aren’t stupid, you know. I knew You had my dad.
You took my dad.
I will not be angry. Because that’s what You want.
I didn’t understand You before. I do now.
Every morning You show up, bright-eyed and full-of-tales. You remind me how other people aren’t in constant pain. They have their health. More money. A new house. A big career. And they get to have a glass of wine at night to take the edge off!
[Yeah! How come!]
Well, I have something stronger. And I’m not afraid to say it. I hope the light of my God burns You into a permanent crisp so I never have to deal with the noise of You again.
But I know You are not going anywhere.
You’re not a demon or the devil. You’re just a disease. And for today, I know how to treat You.
I thought You lived inside my heart, but—ha, ha—there’s no space in there for You. I am not in love with You today.
You live inside my head. I will not listen to You as I walk away from my friend until she is ready. I feel my heart crack. I taste salt on my lips from the tears. But I will not listen to You.
[Don’t You fucking take my friend.]
You no longer empower me.
I don’t believe You anymore.
I am kind. I try. I have a God.
I’m not the loser.