For Anne.

I looked out the window to see the rain trickling down the glass. I fixed my gaze on an individual droplet, watching it run in a crooked vertical line. When it disappeared from my sight and melted into the pool of water on the exterior pane, I felt an acute pang of sadness, almost as if I’d lost something.

I’d been waiting all day – well, not so much waiting, but dreading – checking a DM from someone I’d recently gotten involved with. Five minutes ago, I’d worked up the courage to read it.

Now I really wished that I hadn’t.

So here’s the thing about me. I’m an alcoholic, but I also have bipolar disorder. Which means, I get a little crazy when I drink. It didn’t used to be as bad, but lately, it had been pretty . . . well, pretty bad. I was always ashamed the next day, but it wasn’t as if I could undo what I’d done. Essentially, I’m an irresponsible thirty-one-year-old child. Couldn’t tell you how many relationships I’ve ruined with my drinking.

Anyway, as to the DM I just read. I went wild n’ out last night, behaved quite reprehensibly. In all honesty, her reply to my bullshit was quite mild, but it still hurt to read it. I couldn’t even manage to read it word-for-word. It was the last line that got me. I couldn’t remember it exactly, but it was something about me being a selfish, entitled child. Which was completely accurate – but still not fun to read.

Now, I felt that I was at an impasse. I’d been so depressed all day, I hadn’t eaten anything. But it was almost time for a drink. I suspected I might end up falling down the stairs.

I fixed my drink, my thoughts racing. I’d sent a brief response to her DM, which consisted solely of the words, I deserved that. Noted. I was at the point where I sort of hoped she wouldn’t reply. I hadn’t wanted to say nothing and thereby appear more like the selfish woman-child I truly was, but I really didn’t want to extend the conversation.

I wasn’t angry with her, of course. I was angry with myself. I was always angry with myself.

Most of my friends were undyingly supportive, no matter how wild I got. But sometimes, with certain people, I pushed it too far and spoiled everything. People told me I did it on purpose to sabotage myself, which I’m sure was also true. I didn’t deny anything about who I was. I made no excuses. But at the same time, I neglected any opportunity to change. In all honesty, it would be much easier, and a great relief besides, to simply be dead. But I’d tried twice before and fucked it up, and I did not want to spend two weeks in a pysch unit. I was talking to my best friend earlier that morning, and she informed me that, of her five suicide attempts, she only “almost succeeded” once.

Lightning flashed, and thunder cracked the night. I felt lost and empty, but didn’t feel as if I were going to cry or anything like that. There was just . . . numbness. I tried to keep a hold of my thoughts and not allow them to spiral. I stood in front of the window and sipped my drink, staring at my reflection in the glass.

I didn’t even recognize the person I saw.

Two of my favorite music artists, Lil Peep and Juice WRLD, were like male replicas of myself. And really, they were the replicas, since I was thirty-one and they’d both died within the past few years at the age of twenty-one.

Their music resonated with me, because I was them. Or at least, I was who they’d been. Reckless. Addicted. Juvenile. In pain. No respect for anyone but myself when I got upset. You’d think I might have learned some kind of lesson from the fact that they’d both died a decade younger than my present age, but that didn’t seem to be the case. In fact, as time went on, I just seemed to degenerate. Worse and worse until there was hardly anything left of me. Nothing but the deepest, most primal feelings that lurked beneath my usual stiffness and wrought havoc when I was drunk. Which I was. Every night. Yet another example of my weakness and selfishness.

I was the type of person who was meant to be alone. I made a much better friend than partner.

I sipped my drink, listening to the thunder. It matched the discord that raged within my chest.

I wished more than anything that I could think of a way to end it. It was a curious circumstance, when I allowed myself to ponder it. There were people who suffered so badly. The girl who chewed me out through a DM had a best friend, she was terribly sick and she could barely persevere through her days. I ached for her. I’d had a strange thought in the back of my mind that wandered to the forefront tonight – wishing I could trade my life for hers. Hers meant something. To both herself and her friend. Mine meant nothing to me. I would gladly exchange it. I was told she was a beautiful, generous person – and that’s what is needed in this world. Not burned-out alcoholics like me.

I felt simply thoughtful, no longer numb or depressed. I felt that an invisible eye had been opened towards me, telepathically transferring an important signal.

I set down my empty glass and wandered into the kitchen. My conscious thoughts seemed to fade, and I only knew motor movements. I felt nothing. I couldn’t see where I walked.

I only registered the moment my eyes slipped shut. I offered the god I didn’t trust a quick prayer, and requested that whatever strength I retained be sent to Anne.

September 24, 2020

The past few days, I’ve been reading the books of an author who recently blocked me on Twitter. I transferred my obsession with her books over to her, so I don’t really blame her for blocking me. Of course, now I realize that my obsession didn’t have anything to do with her; it was the books themselves. The grammar and editing are C+ at best, but the stories themselves are undeniably amazing.

I started with the most recent book, which brought in characters from the previous books, and I fell in love with absolutely everyone. These books are my world right now. I no longer care that their author hates me. I started the series from the beginning, and I plan on reading all of it. Unless I’m homeless in November – in which case, I’ll read however many I can get around to.

I spent months fighting with myself over changing my ways, constantly plagued by an overwhelming sense of guilt. All that’s gone, now. I’m resigned to everything. In the same way I don’t care about the “favorite author blocked me” thing, neither do I care about anything else. I haven’t been working much. I drink just as much as ever. And I don’t care.

I spent weeks terrified of ending up out in the street. My mind is numb to it now. Just the same way that my heart’s been numb since Mattie died. It’s a relief not to bounce back and forth between bouts of drunkenness and wanting to change. I don’t want to change anymore.

I can’t honestly say that I’d rather be dead. Quite the opposite. I’d rather have the funds to sustain myself and a respectable writing career. But in the event that doesn’t happen – and I don’t even see how it possibly could at this point – I don’t care. I don’t care about anything or anyone. It’s a mountainous weight lifted.

June 20, 2020

It’s only twenty past noon. So far today, all I’ve done is eat breakfast, clean the toilet, take a shower, and fold laundry – but somehow, it feels like the day should be over. As if it will take forever to be done with.

Which merely leads you to the question – what will you do when this day is over? You go to bed and wake up and repeat the process all over again, unsure what to occupy yourself with at any given moment, and oftentimes staring into space when you should have been doing something else. Looking at the list of projects you’re supposed to be working on, but unable to settle on one. Reading the same line in a book half a dozen times before closing the book and giving up.

I feed the neighborhood squirrels and birds when the weather is good. Yesterday, I saw one of the squirrels lying dead in the road. I’m not saying I blame whoever hit him – I’d like to believe there are fewer people who would do that on purpose than otherwise – but it still ruined my day. I woke up today feeling almost buoyant, but have since deflated completely, like a balloon that someone let all the air out of. Grand resolutions now seem to be nothing more than chalk squiggles on the sidewalk that the rain will wash away.

But I suppose that’s what all resolutions really are, when you stop and think about it. They matter for a few brief moments – i.e., however long you’re alive – but the fact remains that we all end up like the squirrel in the road. Sooner or later.

The Radio Flyer (A Dream)

I was at a gathering of some sort, like a family gathering, only it wasn’t my family. There was a woman there that I called “Mom,” but she didn’t look like my mother, she looked like Sally Field with graying hair and spectacles.

The people in the living room and the kitchen were making a terrible mess, getting food all over the place, and I was the only one cleaning up after them. Every time a piece of food fell, I felt like I had to pick it up. I would talk to the people sometimes, but only in disagreeable exchanges.

There was a lot of other weirdness, including a baby in a bag of apples that could talk (the baby, not the apples), but I don’t think that stuff mattered much.

I finally saw this one woman in a black coat. She was tall, red-haired and athletic-looking. She grabbed me and pushed me halfway out of a nearby window. Apparently, she thought I was someone who had committed a horrible crime, I guess she was some kind of cop, and she was trying to prove my guilt.

I called for my mother (or for Sally Field, at any rate), but she didn’t come. I asked the cop if she had done something to her, and the cop replied that she was dead.

The cop was looking at my recent self-made cuts, and she opened my shirt to see the scars on my chest. She said something like, “You do this to get high? You do this to forget about what you did? You cut and do drugs because you feel guilty?”

I tried to tell her I didn’t do drugs, I told her I’d only smoked marijuana once. (Which was true – I only smoked one joint in my life, the time I hooked up with that couple from FetLife at a local motel. But that’s not really part of this story.)

The cop started mentioning the names of all these other drugs, and I kept telling her that I didn’t know what any of them were, that I’d never taken them before. She didn’t mention my drinking, which I thought was odd, but since she wasn’t bringing it up, I didn’t, either. I kept trying to tell her that I didn’t feel guilty about anything, that I hadn’t done what she thought I did, but she wasn’t buying it.

That was when her partners appeared in the hallway. I think there were two of them, a woman and a big guy in a red hoodie.

The guy said something like, “If she’s a witch like her mother, she’ll burn in the sunlight.”

Then I realized – or maybe I’d already known it was there, I’m not sure – that the red-headed cop must have put something on top of my head when she pushed me out the window. She took it off now, and I felt sure that this would prove my innocence. But, much to my surprise, the top of my head began to smoke.

The cop let me fall out the window, I guess she thought that would kill me, but I fell to the ground slowly and hit with hardly any impact. This was the first time I was saved in the dream.

The cops appeared as if by magic. They had come to finish me off. The guy in the red hoodie lifted a scythe to cut off my head, but just at that moment, a huge red wagon (just like a Radio Flyer) appeared in the street, and a voice called for me to jump in. So I did. This was the second save.

The guy in the red hoodie chased the wagon with the scythe, trying to catch me. The wagon crashed into him and threw him off balance, but he got up again and followed after me. The wagon hit him a second time, knocking the scythe out of his hand. Third save.

I looked and saw that the wagon was headed for an opening between trees. It crashed through the trees and into a river. I knew that the cops were following, I think I could hear them yelling.

In the river, the wagon immediately began to sink, but before it did, I came to an overpass. A man who looked just like Christopher Lloyd from the movie Dennis the Menace held his hand out to me and pulled me up onto the overpass. Fourth save.

The man led me to a narrow street nearby. Suddenly I found myself walking a small dog on a leash. The river ran next to the street.

Now it was dark, and I looked at the closed doors on my right-hand side. An outdoor light came on, illuminating the back door of a dilapidated-looking place. The light was the last “sign” (the last save) in the dream. When the light came on, I knew the dream was almost over.

The most significant thing about it all was the rapidity with which the signs took place, like blinks of an eye, even though it takes longer to write them all down. It was like riding a rollercoaster. Well, I guess the Radio Flyer part really was like riding a rollercoaster.

Now, the door under the light opened, and a teenage boy appeared. He told me to come in.

There were plastic containers littering the steps that led down to the door, and the boy began moving them so the dog could get through. I handed the dog to the boy and asked, “Is my mother here?”

The boy said something like, “Yeah, I think so,” and I glanced into the place, trying to catch sight of the woman who looked like Sally Field.

Ever since the wagon appeared in the dream, there was a song playing in my head. It was a song that doesn’t actually exist, as sometimes happens when I’m dreaming. But it had a clear melody, and I can still remember it.

It only had two lines that kept replaying. I’m not sure about the last word of the first line, but I know that it rhymed with the last word of the second line. It was either of these:

This is my blood and this is my bone

This is my blood, I won’t let go.


This is my blood and this is my soul

This is my blood, I won’t let go.

I guess it doesn’t make much difference, either way.

I don’t usually get many signs from God, I sometimes envy my mother because she has occasional visions, so this was out-of-the-ordinary for me. But I did feel better when I woke up, like the dream had been a genuine message that I wasn’t alone.


Elijah: A Very Short Story

Once upon a time, there was a young piglet whose parents had been sent to the slaughterhouse. He was all alone, and he had nothing but the desolate landscape of his thoughts to keep him company.

One day while he was walking through the enchanted forest, he happened upon a mighty panther, so long and sleek and powerful. The piglet was sure that the panther would devour him immediately. And, without doubt, that thought crossed the panther’s mind.

But then . . . a beautiful and delicate fairy drifted down from the White Tree of Magic, and she informed the panther that the piglet was in possession of the purest soul she had ever borne witness to. The panther was a hunter, a merciless killer; and yet, the fairy’s words touched his heart. He spared the piglet, slinking past it on his way to some alternate feast.

The beautiful fairy did three revolutions in the air, waving her ornate oaken wand and sprinkling the dust of her race over the piglet. In less than a moment, he had transformed into a tall and strapping man.

“You are human now,” the fairy said to him. “You shall protect this world from evil and greed. You will live many years, and you will do incredible things. Henceforth, your name shall be Elijah.”

With a flutter of her lace-like wings, she flew down to Elijah and kissed his cheek. Then she disappeared.

Elijah still lives to this day, just as strong and pure of heart as ever he was. He awaits the last battle with steady hands and a patient heart.

Faith Amidst the Cray-Cray

Life is a strange thing that I’ll never really understand. However, I take comfort in the fact that I don’t think we’re truly supposed to understand it.

I’ve often considered writing about certain things that have happened in my life, but I always end up deciding against it. For one thing, I have a terrible memory, and I really only remember the outlines of things. In some cases, I’ve forgotten the course of events entirely. I could blame the copious amounts of alcohol I’ve drunk as an adult, but that’s not really the culprit. Even as a kid, I had a bad memory. My mother used to say I had a “head like a spaghetti strainer.” The brain stays in the strainer, but thought and memory drains out. I’ve always been like that.

I already mentioned that I have a drinking problem. For the past ten years, I’ve had a passionate love/hate relationship with alcohol. It’s gotten me through a lot of hard nights, but also made for countless days of illness afterwards. Another big issue is that it’s strained my relationship with my mother. Due to the fact that we’re both single and not very wealthy, we live in the same house and share expenses. We recently lost our 17-year-old dog, which is definitely the hardest thing we’ve gone through as a family.

Last night, I found out that they’d halved the credit limit on my last credit card, I guess due to the pandemic. My largest card was maxed out with vet bills and home repairs. I drank a little too much and acted like an ass, which I didn’t even remember this morning and had to be reminded of. My mother’s not currently speaking to me, a little bit of an awkward situation given the fact that we’re stuck in the house together.

I’m ashamed of my behavior, of course. I’ve done this same thing more times than I can count. I’m not proud of it, and I’ll try not to do it again, but even when I promise myself I won’t, I still end up in the same cycle. At any rate, I will try my best not to even have one drink. Because when I have one, I have eight. I have no self-control. I admit this.

To say I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life is an understatement. But then, I’m sure a lot of people could say that. I try not to beat myself up about it, but at the same time, I wish I was a stronger person. You might not believe this, but when I was a kid, I was incredibly strong, emotionally and physically. I always had my fair share of mental health problems, of course, but I was still a lot different back then. I guess everyone’s different when they’re a kid. You have this implicit trust in everything, a complete and total lack of fear. If you need something, you ask Mom or Dad, you don’t have to figure it out yourself.

But then, you get older, and you can’t ask anyone to fix your problems. You have to do it yourself, and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you’re just not strong enough. So you drink, or do drugs, or make some other bad choices. And the situation just keeps getting worse, eventually spiraling out of control.

And yet, I understand why I was so strong when I was little. Like I said, I was never afraid, I trusted my mom and I knew she would take care of things. I had faith in that.

Throughout most of my life, I had faith in God. But these past few years, I’ve been in a sparring match with Him, demanding to know why He wouldn’t change my circumstances, ordering for Him to explain why I had to be born this messy and screwed-up individual. If He existed, I said to myself, I wouldn’t be this way. I wouldn’t have been born this way.

The past few days, I’ve realized what a fool I was. Life isn’t perfect, and people aren’t perfect. God never said we were. In fact, He said that the only way to be perfect is through Him. There is no goodness in people, He admitted that. The only goodness we have, we get from Him. Which explains why, when I turn away from Him, I become an extremely crappy and fucked-up person. I mean, I’m always pretty fucked-up, but I think you catch my drift.

During the times in my life that I was happiest, I had complete faith in God. I trusted Him the way I trusted my mom when I was a kid. No matter what happened, I knew that He would take care of the things I couldn’t affect or change. When I stopped believing that, I started losing myself. Because the truth is, there’s no me without Him. There’s nothing good in me, at least. Without Him, I’m left with nothing but the vile, putrid bits. And trust me, those aren’t fun to swallow.

Last night, when I found out that my last cushion of credit had been taken away, I tried to maintain my faith, but once I started drinking everything went to shit. It’s about three o’clock now, my hangover is beginning to subside, and I feel really terrible about the way I acted. And yet, my faith is intact.

After my mom yelled at me this morning, I went for a walk, and though I spent the whole time thinking about my own regrettable behavior, I wasn’t really all that upset. I was rueful that my mom was (and still is) angry with me, I knew perfectly well that what I’d done was wrong, I was acutely aware of my poor financial situation, and my hangover was pretty bad. And yet, my faith was intact.

Seeing what’s going on in the world right now is unnerving and surreal, but it’s nothing that I didn’t expect. I always had a feeling I’d be around for the end of the world. This may not be the end, but I think it’s the beginning of the end. God’s timeline doesn’t work the way a human one does, and a certain number of years to us is just the blink of an eye to Him. Because of that, there’s never any way to predict when certain things will happen.

But it doesn’t take a Christian to see that things are bad. There’s no way to know just how bad they’re going to get. And yet, I’m not afraid. I’m like I was when I was a little kid. I have faith in the fact that God will see me through. That doesn’t mean things won’t be uncomfortable; that doesn’t mean things won’t hurt; that doesn’t even mean I won’t die.

But He’ll see me through. That’s all I need to know.

Red Cells

I got out of my car and started across the parking lot, making my way towards the hospital entrance. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist.

I saw a large woman walking in front of me, and I glanced at my reflection in the shiny black paint of an SUV beside me. I’d once been as large as that woman. I still wasn’t thin, but I prided myself on having lost as much weight as I had. And, though I was slightly ashamed to admit it (even if it was only to myself), I was proud that I looked better than the woman who was walking in front of me.

I went into the hospital and boarded the elevator, riding up to the third floor. I checked in with the secretary at Dr. Moreno’s office, offering my new insurance card. I smiled at the secretary. I’d always liked her.

The small waiting area was full, so I went out to wait in the corridor. After a short while, the people in the waiting area left, and I went to sit down. I turned on my Kindle to read, only to find that the battery was dead. Damn. I’d thought I’d charged it.

I shut off the Kindle and sighed, folding my hands in my lap. I’d always been good at sitting silently. I didn’t really even get bored. My mind turned in slow circles, perhaps pondering the events of recent days, or even incidents ten years passed.

A little more than twenty minutes went by in this way, and then I heard Dr. Moreno’s voice – tinged with a strong Latin accent – calling out my initials. I rose from my seat and went down the corridor, smiling at Dr. Moreno as she ushered me into her office.

“Hello,” Dr. Moreno said, crossing the room to sit down in her chair in front of her computer. “How are you?”

“I’m well, and yourself?” I replied.

“Very good, thank you. How have you been feeling overall?”

“Nothing to complain about, really,” I answered. “There’s just one thing, though. Last time I was in, we discussed discontinuing the Topiramate, but I’ve decided to stay on it.”

“Well, whatever works for you, of course,” Dr. Moreno said. “That particular drug has many benefits, including anxiety and craving reduction. It can help with lowering your alcohol intake, too, which I know is an issue for you.”

I said nothing. Dr. Moreno was aware that I was an alcoholic, but we didn’t always talk about it. She accepted state insurance, which meant that she had a ton of patients, and probably had a lot of difficulty remembering everything about them. I liked her, though. She was a good person.

“Let’s have a look at your most recent bloodwork,” she said, pulling up the file. It was the same bloodwork she’d looked at during my last two visits, but I didn’t want to be rude.

“Everything’s normal,” she said, “except your red blood cells.”

She turned the computer monitor towards me. “You see this number here? It’s a little high, which means your red cell count is a little more than it should be. If you keep drinking heavily, they’ll continue to increase – and we both know that the vessels they pass through can’t get any bigger. That’s what causes strokes and heart attacks.”

“I see,” I said politely. She’d never explained it so concisely before, and though I was mildly concerned, I wasn’t exactly terrified.

“I can help you with your drinking problem, if you’re ready to take that step,” she offered.

“I’m not,” I said simply.

“Can you explain why?” she asked. “What’s your reason for drinking? Do you have anxiety? Problems sleeping? Is it a form of self-medication?”

I smiled thinly. “I just drink,” I replied.

She nodded without comprehension. “And you’re not willing to seek treatment?”

“No,” I returned. “I’m not willing.”

She nodded again. “All right, then.”

“But thank you,” I added. “I appreciate you taking the time to ask.”

“Of course,” she said. “Now – have you had any thoughts of harming yourself or others? Any voices or visions?”

She asked this question every time. My answer was always “no.”

“All right,” she repeated. “I’ll see you in three months.”

“Thank you for your time, Dr. Moreno,” I said.

She smiled, and I got up to leave. I booked an appointment for January with the secretary, then walked out of the office.

I checked my watch. Nearly three o’clock. I had a few errands to run before I went home, and it was supposed to rain. But I had no umbrella.

Road Rage

She sat by the window with a cup of coffee, watching the rain swirl over the glass in inexplicable patterns. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to listen to music or not. She loved music, but sometimes it grated against the edges of her nerves. On quiet mornings she liked a little light classical, or maybe a film score, but sometimes she preferred the silence.

The apartment was empty. The apartment was always empty. She’d lived alone since she left home a few years ago. She didn’t even have any friends, really. The old man in the apartment next door was fond of her, and she chatted with people online, but all day, she sat alone in this room. At night, she slept alone in her bed. The thick darkness of her bedroom suffocated her. Her isolation mocked her. But she was comfortable with it.

She’d lost her temper yesterday while she was driving. She had to slow down for someone pulling into a parking lot, and a young man behind her threw up his hands in anger, shouting and swerving around her, only to pull right in front of her and veer into a restaurant lot.

Sometimes, things like that happened, and she didn’t even bat an eye. But this struck a chord. She laid on her horn and shouted obscenities the guy couldn’t even hear. She knew he heard the horn, but she also knew he didn’t care. He was probably amused that he’d irked her. People like that get a rush from irking you.

Even now, sitting in the stillness and the silence, watching the rain making its strange journey on the windowpane, she was mildly irritated. Mostly because she’d allowed herself to lose her temper. She was the type of person who had very little control over their outbursts (or lack thereof). She was aware of this, but usually it didn’t bother her. Today it did.

She took a sip of her coffee, trying to think of something to put on the stereo. With a sigh of resignation, she rose from her chair. She’d decided on the score from Fifty Shades of Grey.

TV Time

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle

Run, run, run

Hurry, hurry, hurry

As fast as you can

So many things to do

So many things left undone

By the dip of the sun.

Night settles

For the thousandth time

And as you sit

With your drink

Eyes on the

TV screen

Wondering where

The day went

Your mind slows

Peace for now

Until the morrow.


Electronic beats drop a line

Steady hum and drum on low, back of my mind

Words set out in a row

Black font on a grey background.

Birds singing in the trees outside

Nature mingling with technology.

Social media notifications fall like an IV drip

Click the tab to see what’s going on

Lost in the unreal world of the Internet

Brain disconnected from the body.