The Beginning

8:43 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
My shaky fingers traverse the yellow pages. What county do I live in? What county? What? Why can't they just list the city? I can't REMEMBER what county I LIVE IN for God's sake! Gastonia. Gastonia. Gaston. Okay. Gaston. It's Gaston.

My stupid fingernails. I painted them last week, hoping I'd stop biting them if they looked pretty. They don't. They're just as jagged, chipped, and wrecked as ever, pointing to Gaston County Detox. That's it! Gaston County Detox. God, I hope it's free. The line rings and rings and rings. He said he wanted to go, please pick up, pick up, pick up! God, PICK UP!

"Gaston County Detox." Oh, he sounds nice. He sounds so calm. I can't be calm. I can't! I can't talk. I can't. "Gaston County Detox, this is Greg." Oh God. I can't.


"This is Kate."

"Yes, Kate. How can I help you?" No. No. NO. Why did I tell them my name? It's not me! It's NOT ME!"

"Um. My fiance?" God. Lame. Fuck.

"Yes, Kate. What about him?"

"He needs help. He NEEDS HELP! He wants help. Finally. I don't know what to do. He said he wanted to go somewhere. I can't help him anymore."

"What's going on?" WHAT? What the fuck do you THINK is going on?! This is fucking DETOX for God's sake!"

"He's drunk. He wants to get help. I don't know what to do. He's been drunk for a long, long time."

"Can you put him on the line?" What? I just told you he was drunk! He's delusional. He's disgusting. He wants to die. Please!Idon'twanthimtodie!


And then I listened. And he cried. And I cried. And it hurt my heart so much to hear his pain. I drove him to the ER, which is the only way they'd take him. And he cried. And cried. And cried. My rock. He cried. And the longer we waited, the shakier he got. He cried some more. And then demanded that we leave. I tried to tell him no. But he got up and walked out. He didn't want to wait anymore.

The hope. God, the hope I had that he would be saved this time was sinking. He sat in the passenger seat of the car and with dead in his voice said, "I have to have something to drink. I won't make it through the night without it."

So I silently drove to the liquor store. Thank God they were open, his shakes were getting worse by the minute. I told him no. I told him we'd go back. I told him I'd do anything to help him. And he looked at me with cold eyes and said, "If I can't drink tonight, I will die." So I went in and bought a traveler of rum.

Home. And he got drunk. And I held him. All night long. What do you do when the person you love with all your heart can't live life? You hold them. And you love them. With all you can muster. And you spill it all over them, hoping one pore will open up and absorb your love for just long enough to stay alive.


Anonymous said...

God, Kate. As I was reading that, my mind kept seeing the whole story unfolding through his eyes.

I was that guy. I was him. I almost didn't make it. How horrible that must have been for the people who loved me to watch.

I'm sorry he didn't make it, Kate. And I'm sorry you had to watch.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I am both fascinated and utterly horrified by what you've lived through ... what you've survived. Wow, Kate, wow.

Kate said...

Jeff, please don't forget that I did the exact same thing to someone else two years later. Maybe I write about him so I don't have to look at myself and the pain I caused the people who loved me.

And Nilsa? Ha! Me too.

Allie said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. And I'm sure writing about it wasn't easy either. But you wrote beautifully.

melissalion said...

That gave me the chills.

Malaise Inc said...

Having lived through a similar desperation and hopelessness recently, I see so much familiar in what you write.

And as far as putting your love ones through something similar, don't feel any shame over it. They love you and all the pain they have had to carry will be worth it to them as they watch you not only survive, but to thrive.

artemisia said...

Oh, God, Kate. I am so sorry.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Wow, Kate.

Writing it out is the only way to heal right, huh? I certainly get that.

Keep writing. I'll keep reading.


buffalodick said...

The people around us care for us more than we care for ourselves..

Sparkling Red said...

That is more pain than anyone should be required to go through.