I waited for hours for them to come home. The full bottle of wine turned into an empty one before I had finally collapsed and fallen asleep, my mascara streaming down my face.
The first hour of waiting was only a little bit uneasy. I kept telling myself that they’d return, milking a glass of wine as I waited. I threw on a record, and listened to both sides the whole way through before finally feeling that unease become a reality. By the second hour I was desperately texting them, calling them, worried something tragic had happened to them and that tomorrow morning I’d see their face in the obituary. By the third hour I was drinking straight from the bottle and bawling my eyes out, screaming at the sky for letting them die. Or was I screaming because they had abandoned me? Either way, the fourth hour saw me scrawling in my journal furiously about how much I hated them and never wanted to see them again. I think at this point I blacked out, but I know I must have cut up my journal because I found myself stepping on slips of paper as I trudged into the bathroom to vomit. I wasn’t a pretty sight, and I no longer knew how many hours had passed. I do know I eventually had fallen asleep again, in an empty bed.
Yet, I woke up with a clean face. My mascara had been washed off, along with everything else. There was one blemish on my face, however: a bright red lipstick mark on my left cheek. My journal had been swept up and partially taped together, but some pages were too destroyed to piece together again. The bottle had been picked up and put into my recycling bin– or theirs, more likely– and instead a half-empty lukewarm cup of coffee and a glass of water sat on my bedside table.
I slowly made my way to the kitchen, my brain blistering and my pulse echoing through the hallway. They were in the kitchen, reading a book. They looked up at me and smiled before standing up, sliding their chair in, and helping me to the table. They kissed me on the forehead. “I appreciate the thought,” they whispered to me, “but I don’t think that’s something I could do for you.”