Jessica Buddle


            I reach for the unfinished bottle of pinot on the floor beside my bed and pour it into last night’s glass.  I take a sip, reach for my laptop, and prepare to read a week’s worth of emails. Amazon orders, Newsletters, and the inevitable Monday morning message from my mother await me. Morning sunshine, she always starts. Another family member is sick. I drink. Ron, your dad’s friend, died. Remember him? Tall, loud, beard, they used to ride together. You should consider going to the funeral. I close my eyes, lean my head back, and drink.
            While I shower, I will fall. Whether I’ll crack my head open and be left for dead, or simply hurt my back will be determined by a quick stop at my roommate’s bedroom. I slip my head through the cracked door; he isn’t there, and the covers are undisturbed. He could be gone for days. I’ll slip while rinsing my hair, and hit my head on the faucet. I’ll lay there in agony. Maybe I’ll die, if I am rescued, surely I’ll be paralyzed.
            I walk to the kitchen to make coffee, and concentrate on not thinking.  Coffee will be there, I tell myself, coffee will be there.  Fear starts to win over, and I think bugs could have taken over the canister since last night. I fight it back. As long as it brews, I tell myself, coffee will be there.
            As I leave my apartment and walk to the ATM across the street, I’ll be hit by a car.  Not always the same car but always at the same place. I promise myself I’ll cross safely next time but never remember until I’m hit, and my mangled body is laying on the concrete.
            As I walk to a friend’s apartment, I stop to lite a joint under the same cluster of trees, listening to the same birds. As I inhale, I walk past the same people having the same Monday morning conversations. As I exhale, I wonder if they feel the same.
            It’s a long walk. So much time to run into people whose names I don’t know, and make enthusiastic small talk about how fun some bar was the night before. I wasn’t there, and doubt it was actually fun. So much time to run into people whose names I do know, and would give anything to forget. I give awkward replies to statements like, I had no idea you were in Michigan, and I heard you were in rehab. These are never questions, rather simple statements used for gossip. My facial responses will be fuel to their fire.
            I may get hit by a few more cars, and trip a few times, busting my knees open, or falling into construction holes. But Mondays are always the same, and I always end up in front of the same building, walking up the same stairs, entering the same apartment, and sitting on the same couch.
            But the couch is never the same, at least it doesn’t look it. There is always a different cover with flowing beaded vines, neon embroidered crucifixions, or painted poetry. I sit there and allow the drugs and drink to take me over. As I follow the cracks in the paint or the green thread with my finger my imagination runs wild. For a little while I’m in a place where nothing is ever the same.


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