He didn’t want to cry as he looked at his mother’s child-like, smiling face. He didn’t want to cry, but he wanted to drink, so after leaving the hospital on foot he walked to the nearest liquor store and bought a bottle of whiskey: Jack Daniels. It was ten o’clock in the morning. He knew that this would be the end of a long struggle and the beginning of failure. The alcohol touched his lips for the first time in months. The rage inside of him was coddled and his feelings began to fade away.
“Should I call her?” He wondered as he hopped on the El. He had been living in Chicago his whole life and had no car, the above ground train worked for everything. He knew he needed some sense as he hid the brown liquid in his jacket. He was on his way back to the sober house where he had been staying for almost a year on and off. Sobriety was good to him when he stayed on the wagon, and now, as he felt the linger of burn in his throat, he knew that this round of relapse would be devastating.
His father had found his mother on the floor of their family home a week ago. She had been drinking and fell. Her face was all busted up, so his dad took her to the hospital. They found a sub-dermal hematoma; her brain had been bleeding for a while. The surgeons drained it and his family took a breath as she was recovering in the hospital; then she had a massive stroke.
“Half of her brain is dead,” he heard himself say to her on the phone, his lost love, the one he left, the one who made him leave. She was silent.
“Are you O.K.?” she asked. Of course she would ask that. Why did I even call her, he thought as he lied. “Yea.”
“Danny, how are you handling this? I think you should stay level,” she said, and a shiver went up him as she said his name. I still love her, he thought.
“What do you mean?” he said. He took the phone away from his mouth and took a drink of the liquor. He was in an alley behind his house with the streetlight as his only friend and the girl, three thousand miles away, so far, tearing his heart apart. “Don’t relapse,” She said.
“I already did.”