This is Rehab Day 15:
And I’m sitting on the Renfrew community couch writing a letter when Lilly comes in and lays down beside me.
“I’m bored,” she mumbles – her limp hair falling in her face.
“Got a book?” I ask, barely looking over.
“Read them all.”
“Wanna play Bananagrams?”
“God no,” she makes a face. “But I do wanna get drunk.”
“Like stupid drunk,” she says. “Like blow some shit up drunk.”
I put down the letter. “Okay, well that escalated,” I pause. “But yes, I’d love a Pinot Noir.”
She scoffs. “You and your rich girl sorority shit.” She sticks out her pinky and pretends to hold a champagne flute. “Oh yes sir,” she mimics. “I’ll have a touch of the Rosé if you could ever be so kind.”
I smile. “It’s not really like that, you know. I drink the same way you do, Lil.”
“Out of a bag?”
I snort. “Not anymore. But it’s happened.”
I think back to college frat parties, slapping Franzia bags.
“It’s all the same,” I say. “Everyone just trying to reach some place they can forget.”
She waves her hand at this. “You just don’t really strike me as the type to get all that drunk.”
“You’d be surprised,” I admit. “Got myself a DWI a few years ago. Bet ya didn’t know that?”
Her eyebrows raise. “That’s actually pretty shocking, yeah.”
“Was for my parents too.”
“So you’re a drunk then?”
“No,” I pause. “Not conventionally anyway.”
“Ah – more like a desperate housewife?”
“Something like that.”
“One too many glasses of wine a night?”
“A medicinal drunk, I’d call it. I don’t really need it; just prefer it.”
“A medicinal drunk. Nice,” she grins lazily. “I’ll use that in our next AA.”
“Go for it,” I say. “I’m taking a break from it once I’m out anyway.”
“From AA,” she asks. “Or alcohol?”
“Both, I think,” I say as I scratch my head, readily confirming my suspicions that this couch has lice.
“I need to anyway,” I continue – trying to forget about the lice. “I often drink to not eat so it’s not really something I should keep doing.”
She rolls her eyes. “Yeah – alright then,” she says- plopping her hairy legs in my lap.
I look down. “Have they literally not let you shave since you got here?”
“Three months,” she says. “But yeah, we’ll see about that no alcohol thing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m just saying it’s hard,” she pauses. “I’ve been in and out of treatment more times than I can count and it’s hard to give up all your vices. You’re already dealing with your eating shit,” she says. “And you’re doing a good job with that- so just go with it.”
“And I’m not smoking,” I add smugly.
“Yeah well,” she pauses. “Don’t get pentecostal.” She lays her head back on a pillow- her tangled headphones on her chest. “I just think it’s harder than you know, to be back in the world and sober.” She nestles one of the earbuds in her ear. “Even if you are some yuppy bitch from Texas, you’ll want to go out with your friends.”
I smile. “Thanks for the advice.”
But she’s already lost in her world of Wu Tang Clan.
Leaning my head against the wall that day, I wonder if she’s right.
I wonder if I even mean what I’ve said:
It takes me 2 years to realize, I didn’t.
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