Nov/08

3

Skipping Out

Skipping out from work to check my bank account. The deadly numbers scared me sideways. Slipping below pink zone. I end up shaking in an alley in early morning. Watching pigeons flip their wings diligently above church spires and telephone wires. The station looms next to the smell of the Hostess Cupcake factory. Should I return to work? Can I return? Or should I follow that man down the alley and make my own twenty bucks this hour? Hop on the number 28 towards downtown and slink back to bed where my neighbors sit screaming in their kitchen chairs above my roof.

I stop and call for coaching. Slap cold rainwater on my cheeks. Sip a coffee. Swear to go buy breakfast from the vending machine. Get up off the alley floor, drag my feet along Harrison, clenching my pepper spray. I burp up smoke. My pants sag. My urge to use has skyrocketed. When will I string together a few clean days? Days when my emotions are stable. A good one, a bad one, things seems so fractured. Meghan is gone this weekend, with Erin, mom, dad, bleeding. I’m here. Along by Slices Deli, along next to empty warehouses and the new shells of condos. What if I’m addicted to shame?

Man set his apartment on fire then shot himself in the head because he was slated to be evicted for condos. Kid shot to death for trick-or-treating. Hit the gym, hit the wall. Palin prank-called. We can never talk again Travis. Don’t call the mother police on Jill. Dinner with Maurice and Lewis. Stew and beans. Smelled Lewis’s feet from wearing heels, blistered. Would have gone to work with smeared make-up on if Jen hadn’t washed his face for him. This is today. Things will be different come four am tomorrow.

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Gina B. Lalonde

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