Don’t you dare come at night, pleading and clumsily offering apologies, the next time you get caught in a crossfire.
I had said that. Years ago. Without regret, not even an ounce. You disappeared for a good week after that, a week that soon turned into months and years and, finally, eternity.
The eternity which seemed to have come to a halt.
Maybe it was your foul smell, the kind that would only stick to your body only after you’re done stumbling in the pitch with the guys, swerving and jostling among yourselves with a ball thrown from one person to another. Maybe it was the way you knocked on the door and rang the bell, announcing your presence like it’s a grand celebration, or as if you were a neighbor asking for sugar.
We hadn’t communicated for years, yet here you were, showing up high as a kite (you’re using again, again, after the last overdose that almost cost your life, are you stupid? But then, when did you ever care about yourself?), stumbling and crashing to my couch, passing out before you even hit the surface. Some manners you had. I would have appreciated an early notice. A call. A text. Anything that indicated that you’re alive—although not well—and wanted to pay a visit. Not the one that I particularly like, but a visit from you meant more than a hug and a kiss from someone else. You could have informed me that you had no place to stay and called me for a favor. You’d never had any hesitance in doing so before. You’d always called me, with your old landline number, one I’d memorized off the top of my head.
But then, this, what we had, whatever it was, had always been volatile. We’ve never known it any other way. I pulled the duvet up to your chin and switched off the lamp.
Tomorrow, the tomorrows, when you’re done with the comedown and withdrawal, we might finally be able to have a conversation. We could start screaming at each other again, hurling insults and throwing furniture until the flat’s a broken mess; we could start fighting again until someone called the cops, but right now, I could content myself with watching over you as you’re fighting your demons in the throes of a nightmare. I could content myself with placing water on the table within your reach, wiping your damp forehead with a flannel, hoping and whispering that you’re going to be all right.
We could do this all day.