Tag Archives: detox

Last Note from a Wine-Stained Diary

Morale at the Meyer’s house became almost non-existent. Emmaline had received a settlement from the divorce and the kids stayed with Edward. Emmaline had shown no signs of unhappiness, gave no clues to her eventual departure leaving the kids blindsided, and shocked. Topped off with Edward’s new penchant for brandy.

The day I got my license, I drove straight over to the Meyer’s. I ran into the house excitedly only to find no one there. It was as if no one wanted to be in that house anymore, gas lines of hypocrisy seeping through the vents and floorboards, and memories of a dream overrun by a nightmare. I heard voices coming from the other room, lo-fi voices, from a television set.

I opened a door to find Craig sitting on the floor watching a tiny television. I had no idea the Meyer’s even owned a television set, but there it was, on the floor in front of my screen-fixated boyfriend. He was watching his parents’ wedding tape. ‘Poor baby,’ I thought, ‘he misses his family as a unit.’ I held off on telling him about my drivers license and sat beside him with my head on his shoulder. When I looked at his face, I realized it wasn’t a face of lore, sadness, or nostalgia. It was a face of anger. Without facing me he said, “I’m trying to find the black guy who ruined my family. My dad said he was at their wedding.”

Emmaline had always had an obsession for black men. African American, to be specific, because she had no interest in the black men back in her home country of England. She’d often follow them for a distance while driving her car, unbeknownst even to those, also, in the car with her. She even walked down grocery aisles, any aisle, that had a black man in it. After the divorce, she relocated to Alta Dena, a city highly populated by African Americans. She was infatuated with them and had been caught with black men on two occasions by Craig’s father himself, only to be kept quiet due to the embarrassment that would ensue. The main culprit, the Dracula of black men, was said to be in the Meyer’s wedding tape.

A few months after the divorce, Edward gathered the remaining family members for another announcement. This time, with a small Mexican woman next to him.

“This is Gabriella. She’s going to be your new mom. Gabriella, these are going to be your mihos. Except that one.” Edward pointed at me. I waved. I wasn’t offended by his outbursts anymore, nor was I shocked. Craig put his arm around me.

“Dad! What’re you talking about?! She is NOT moving in here!” Yelled Vincent.

“Yes she is. She’s my wife and your new mother.”

“She isn’t going to be my mother! Besides, mom is just the next town over, have you even talked about it with her?” Vincent said as Gabriella stood there with her hands clasped in front like a child being introduced to a new playmate by their parents.

“I don’t have to talk to your mother about squat. Look at this one,” he pointed at Gabriella with his glass, “she’s not pretty, and her English isn’t very good. She’s going to make a wonderful wife and mother. She cleans too! I’m not sure if she cooks, but hey, I don’t have anything against burritos.” the former-Furor said, then took a sip from his two thirds full glass of brandy. Vincent rolled his eyes.

“Hi Gabriella, I’m Diane.” said Diane.

“No! Stop right now Di.” Vincent yelled.

“Both of you guys, stop,” said Craig, “dad, are you really going through with this?”

“Show them the ring sweetheart,” Edward said to Gabriella as he gestured toward us. She stood there. “Ringo, El Ringo. Show.” She nodded and stuck out her left hand. She had it easy with a language barrier, it protected her.

“FUCK! I’m out of here if she’s moving in.” Shouted Vincent as he stormed off to his room.

“Vinnie, come back! Jeeze dad, when are you doing this.” asked Craig.

Ola, Diane.” Interrupted Gabriella. Diane smiled.

“I got an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at City Hall.” said Edward, taking another swig.

“FUCK!” echoed Vincent through the hall. Followed by the slam of his door.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Donnie said suddenly. He tuned out often.

“New mom, Donnie.” Edward said as he motioned his head toward Gabriella.

“Oh, okay. Ola, mi amo Donnie. Estas divirtiendote?” said Donnie. Everyone looked at him. Surprised.

“Ha ha. Eso es divertido. Yo quiero vino.” replied Gabriella.

Ah, esta bien. No te preocupes.” said Donnie. Then he walked off to the kitchen without a word. We looked at each other, then at Edward who shrugged his shoulders and mouthing the words, ‘I don’t know.’ Edward took another sip, as we all stood around until Donnie came back with a glass of wine in his hand. He handed it to Gabriella.

Muchos gracias, Donnie.” said Gabriella who took a gulp out of the glass.

De nada.” Donnie then walked back to stand where he was next to Diane.

“Since when did you learn how to speak Spanish?” asked Diane. Donnie thought about it for a moment.

“I don’t know.” he said sincerely. Then he walked to his room.

The next morning, Donnie went to City Hall with Edward and Gabriella as a witness. That was also the morning Craig discovered his younger brother Vincent had run away in the middle of the night. The note he left on his bed read, ‘LIVING WITH MOM.’ Emmaline called the house and spoke to Craig. She wanted to let us know Vincent was safe with her, and that he refused to go back for the time being. I didn’t see Vincent for a couple of years.

Things weren’t actually as strange as we thought it would be with Gabriella in the house. She was just like a maid, and we had doubts Edward had even slept with her, seeing as how he considered half a fifth of brandy as his nightcap, every night. Any familial advantages Edward thought would be achieved by marrying Gabriella passed under the radar, and nothing was ever said about it. It was the equivalent of getting a tattoo of the Los Angeles Angels symbol on your foot after a night of ferocious drinking. Craig disliked the way his father now threw the act of marriage around whimsically, and was determined to do it correctly. So he signed himself up for the U.S. Army.

“Do you love me?” asked Craig one night sitting on the couch with me on the front porch.

“What the fuck are you talking about? You know I do.” I said.

“Katie, seriously, even if I had to leave for a long time, and you wouldn’t see me?” Craig said in a sterner tone.

“Why would you be gone? You’re tripping me out now. What the fuck is going on?” I turned towards him. Craig got up off the couch and reached into his pocket for a little white box and proceeded to his knee. ‘Holy shit,’ was my first thought. Then my eyes started to water.

“You had to know this was coming, but you might not have known that I had signed up for the army today. I know I should’ve said something, but you couldn’t have stopped me,” I covered my mouth my with hands, “Katie, I love you, and I don’t want us to end up like my parents, or your parents for that matter, and ever since you came into my life, with that mouth of yours, your eccentricities, your shortcomings, all of which makes you seem imperfect to the world, but to me, and my shortcomings, and my eccentricities, you make up for it all just by being… well, Katherine, the right shape of the puzzle piece that fits snugly next to me in my life. You’re the squeak in my bedroom door, the corner of the desk my big toe likes to hit, the line at the grocery store, the car keys I can never find, the pineapple on my pizza. These things are so normal in my life, and if any one of these things were to disappear, I’d be lost, but if you were to disappear, I’d crumble completely. I not only love you, but I know, for a fact, that I need you, Katherine. Will you marry …” I tackled him.

“Yes! Cheeseball! Fuck! Yes!” I shouted and cried, kissing him between every one of my words.

“And the army thing?” Craig said after he stopped me for a second.

“We’ll figure it out, I’m sure.” We kissed again, slow this time, for reassurance, and he placed the ring on my finger.

His father didn’t like the idea as expected, but everyone else was happy. I called to tell daddy.

“Are you sure sweetie?” said daddy over the phone. Craig was standing at the door as we exchanged smiles.

“Of course, it’s Craig!” I said in a reminding tone.

“Well, I know my little girl, and if Craig thinks he can handle you, and you do too, I’m one hundred percent behind you.”

“Dad! You’re making me sound like a basket case!”

“Ha-Ha, I’m not saying that, I’m saying I’ve always been proud of you, princess, that also means no matter what decision you make, I’ll always believe in you, I’ve been and always will be proud of you.”

“I love you, daddy.” I smiled warmly.

“I love you too. Tell Craig I said congratulations for me okay?”

“I will. Tell Jenifer I said Hi.” Jenifer was daddy’s new girlfriend. “Bye daddy.” I hung up the phone and smiled at Craig.

“So that looks like a go? We’ve got McClane’s blessing! May I?” Craig gestured for the phone. The kids had pointed out daddy’s resemblance to Bruce Willis’ character John McClane from the movie, Die Hard, more than once.

“Yup! Who’re you gonna call?”

Craig took a breath, “Mom.” and he started dialing. I walked around the door where he stood, almost hiding behind it, waiting for an answer.

“Hello?” asked Craig. “Who am I speaking with? …Well is Emmaline in? …She’s my mother. …Sure.” He looked at me briefly then back at the desk. “Mom, it’s Craig. …I’m fine, who was that? …Jef… with one f? …your fiance!?” Craig raised his voice. “Why didn’t you tell us anything?! …I don’t know, maybe because it is important! …I’m fine, look, I guess I called to tell you Katherine and I are engaged too. …He  hasn’t said anything but we can tell he’s not big on it. …Before I ship out to the military. …Yeah, that was the other thing I was going to tell you. …I’d say that makes us even. Love you, bye.” Craig hung up, then looked at me. I walked over without a word and put my arms around his neck.

A few weeks later, I went over to the Meyer’s to pick up Craig for a night out at the movies. Inside the house, I heard Craig talking in the kitchen with a man in a suit. Edward sat on the other side of the man, glass in hand. I walked in.


“Hey babe. Give me one second.” said Craig.

“And all she has to do is sign these pages, and everything will be set.” said the man.

“Okay then.” Craig picked up the papers.

“Is this the young woman now?” asked the man, looking at me.

“Yes this is Katherine Harvey. Katie, this is my dad’s attorney, Kenneth Silverstein.”

“Hello.” I said.

“Hello, and congratulations to you, young lady. Well, I better be on my way. Edward, always a pleasure. Craig, again, congratulations, and should you have any questions, you have my card.” With that, Mr. Silverstein shook our hands and left. Edward got up and did a mildly tipsy walk into the living room.

“Craig, what’s going on?”

“Um, my dad… well, he just gave you one of his stores.”


“Yeah, you gotta fill these out, and you get it as soon as the next day after our wedding.”

“Is this a joke?” I asked suspiciously.

“No, babe, it’s legit!” Craig said. I stood there, dumbfounded, by the fact Edward would even do such a thing. Especially for me.

“I don’t know what to say. I should thank him.” I started walking to the living room, but Craig stopped me.

“No no no no no, not yet, he was fighting his conscience when he decided, I think he needs some alone time right now. We can thank him later.”


“Stop babe, we’re gonna be late for the movie.”

The smoothness of the entire situation was a change from the usual hectic instability. It not only felt relaxing, but at the same time, made me feel even more suspicious. The way my life had been going in the last 4 years surrounding this family, didn’t exactly allow me to let terms like easy and simple waltz into my life, not without an X-Ray scan and cavity search. It felt like I was borrowing someone’s four-leaf clover, and it had to be returned sooner or later.

Craig called me one day to cancel on a date we had planned. I was fucking pissed whenever he cancelled on me, but he explained saying his mother had invited him over to meet Jef with one f. He and Emmaline were to get married before Craig and I were, and Emmaline thought it best if Jef with one f and Craig met.

Later that night, a rapid and terrified knock rapped at my window. I jumped out of bed, scared, and saw it was Craig. I opened the window and his 6’4 frame tumbled in. He laid flat on the ground breathing fast and heavy. I handed him a glass of water I kept on my nightstand, and he gulped it down.

“What the fuck happened?” I asked rubbing his chest. He waited for his breath to calm before told me what happened.

Craig had driven to his mother’s new place in Alta Dena earlier that night. Emmaline opened the door.

“Hello, Craig!” she opened her arms for a hug.

“Hi, mom.” they hugged awkwardly. But Emmaline pulled him closer anyway, not letting go until he hugged her back. He did after a moment.

“Nice place. It’s smaller than I thought.” Craig said as he looked around, taking a few steps in.

“It’s all the space I need, dear. Jef is in the loo, he’ll be out in a moment.”

“Okay. Is Vinnie here?”

“Oh no, he stays with his girlfriends these days.”

“Girl-friends? How many does he have?”

“I’m not sure, he’s quite the heartbreaker.” Emmaline said it as if it were normal. Craig didn’t respond. “Tea, dear?”

“No, thank you. I don’t think I’ll be here long, Katie and I are going to have a late dinner later.”

“You should have brought her along!”

“I don’t think that would have been appropriate.”

“Why’s that?” just then toilet flushed. The sink wasn’t used, but the door opened. Out walked a six foot black man with a husky build. The famous Jef with one f. He was wearing a red t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, gray sweatpants, and brand new sneakers. Jef with one f breathed through his mouth, never through his nostrils, and Craig could hear it getting louder as Jef walked closer. This was the bloke that was shagging his mum, this was the man his mother was going to marry.

“Sweetheart, this is my son, Craig. Craig, Jef.”

“S’up?” Jef said as he reached his hand out. Craig remembered he didn’t wash, but didn’t want to seem rude. He reluctantly reached out and shook Jef with one f‘s hand.

“Hi, nice to finally meet you.” said Craig, in full composure. Jef shook his hand hard.

“Baby, did you offer him some tea yet?” Jef said to Emmaline.

“I did, he didn’t want any.” replied Emmaline.

“You don’t want no tea? Whatchu want then? We got everythang, you know wha’m sayin’?”

“Oh, it’s alright, I’m good.” Craig assured him.

“Nah y’ain’t. You want a beer? Whatchu drink?”

“I’m only 18…” Craig said informatively.

“Oh-Whaaaat?! You 18? You’s a big fella fo an 18 year old, shit,” he looked at Emmaline, “girl, whatchu been feedin’ him?” Emmaline smiled. “Okay, first order of bi’ness, you gonna have yo first beer wit me, you know wha’m sayin’? No buts. Baby, two beers.” Jef put his arm around Craig and walked to the couch with him. Emmaline went to refrigerator.

“I really don’t think I should drink. I have to drive later.” Craig reiterated.

“Boy, listen, just one beer is all I’m askin’, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to have anymore. But you gots to have that one beer, know wha’m sayin’?” Emmaline came back with two beers and handed them to Jef with one f and one to Craig. Craig looked at the can, then his mother, wondering why she allowed it. “Now, the thing is, if you gon’ drink just that one, you have to drink it fast, I mean chug that mu’fucka down, know wha’m sayin’? Like a race, you know what a shotgun is?”

“Uh… Besides the gun, I don’t think so.” Craig said almost nervously now.

“There it is. We gon’ do some shotguns. Gimme that.” He grabbed Craig’s beer and made a small incision to the side corner of the can with a key on the coffee table, then widened the hole to the size of a quarter. He handed it back to Craig and did the same to his can. “Okay, now, this is how you do a shotgun, son. You put yo’ mouf over the hole, then you turn the can upright while turnin’ yo’ head at he same time while poppin’ the top open, you know wha’m sayin’? The beer will shotgun in yo mouf and you swallow that sucka down. Got it?”

“Umm… I think so, but…” Craig said nervously.

“It’s quite simple, once you do it Craig.” said Emmaline from the kitchen.

“You’ve done this? But you don’t drink, mom.” Craig said with the can by his face, Jef with one f, doing the same.

“You kiddin’ boy, yo’ mom is the best at doin’ shotguns.” said Jef. Craig was flabbergasted but distracted by the cans to question. “A’ight, 1,2, and 3, go!” Jef with one f and Craig popped the top and tilted their heads. Craig didn’t like the taste of beer. What was worse was the coldness of the beer masking the taste and gliding icily and sharp down his throat. Craig finished first with three and a half gulps.

Craig belched. “Oh my god.” Craig belched again. Jef with one f did one long belch.

“Damn boy, you almost as fast as yo’ mama. It’s gotta be in the family, know wha’m sayin’? You play sports, Craig?”

“Yeah, Baseball and Football.” Craig said after a moment. He belched once more, his stomach finally settling.

“Damn, you prob’ly on the varsity team, right?”


“Whas the matter? You okay? You a big guy, one beer ain’t gon’ kill ya.” Just then, Craig felt the effects of a shotgun, he got a head-change, and grinned. A slight sense of euphoria came over him.

“…Can I have another one?” asked Craig.

“Ha-HA! Yo’ Baby, get me and your boy two mo’ cold ones!”

Craig and Jef with one f drank and talked with each other the rest of the night. Craig drank 3 beers and Jef was on his 6th, however, Jef with one f wasn’t tipsy at all while Craig’s eyes started to blink separately. They kept talking.

“Wait, hold up. If you lookin’ for speakers, I got ’em! Yeah, my son is tryin’ to sell his, and come to think of it, he’s gon’ yo’ brother too! Let’s go get you some speakers and meet yo’ brotha!”

“Really? Now?”

“Yeah, it’s only what, 10 o’clock? He’ll be home. You got a car right?”

“Uh, sure I do. I just don’t think I should drive right now.”

“It’s a’ight, I’ll drive, I’m a great driver. Baby! Ain’t I a great driver?” Jef yelled towards the kitchen.

“He’s a great driver, Craig.”

“See?” said Jef.

“Well… if my mama says so, I guess it’s true.” Craig gave Jef his keys and they both got up and walked out the door.

“Baby, we’ll be right back.” Jef said to Emmaline.

“Alright, you two be safe.” My mother said while going back to the newspaper.

Jef with one f was now driving his car north, further into Alta Dena. Craig was starting to sober up, becoming more aware of the situation. He was going to buy speakers from his brother-in-law-to-be, in Alta Dena, and was being driven there by a husky black man, who was his father-in-law-to-be.

When they arrived, they both got out of the car and started walking toward an apartment complex. Just before they entered the gate, Jef with one f stopped and turned to Craig.

“A’ight, we gon’ have to be quiet. Kids be sleeping, know wha’m sayin’? So just follow me.” Craig nodded his head in compliance, but was slightly confused because they were just standing at the front gate, the complex itself was 30 feet beyond that. Jef then wiggled the handle a certain way and propped the door open. He walked in and Craig followed. They turned a corner and went up a flight of stairs. Then Jef with one f stopped at a window and wiggled the screen off. Then started on the glass window itself.

“Whoa, what are you doing, Jef?”

“Oh, I always forget my key, so I have to get in this way. It’s a’ight, I do it all the time.” Craig didn’t understand why he couldn’t just remember the spare instead, because Jef wasn’t exactly a small guy. Jef was still breathing heavily with his mouth.

Jef finally wiggled the locking mechanism on the window loose, and slid it open. He climbed in and waved Craig to follow. Against all better judgement, he followed. The room they climbed into was tiny and had scraps of paper and candy wrappers everywhere. There was a mattress without covers in the corner on the floor. A moment later, the door opened and in walked a young black boy in his teens.

“What the fuck are you doing here dad!? You’re not supposed to be here!” Yelled the boy.

“It’s coo, look, aye, I got someone to buy those speakers from you. And he’s gon’ be yo’ new brotha!”

“Hi…” said Craig nervously.

“S’up.” said the boy.

“You still got the speakers, Junior? I told him you was sellin’ ’em for a hundred.”

“I’m not, they’re 250, and they’re my speakers.”

“Nah, I told Craig a hundred.”

“They’re my speakers.”

“Well, where they at? Can we, at least, see ’em?”

“They in Shawna’s room.”

“Oh shit, Craig, you gon’ meet yo’ new lil’ sista too!” He then walked over to another door while Craig followed. Jef pounded on the door. “Shawna, open the door, you gon’ meet yo’ new brotha!” a tiny voice came from the other side.

“I don’t have any clothes on yet.” It sounded like an 8 year old girl. Jef with one f suddenly kicked the door open. “Daddy, stop! I don’t have any clothes on!” Shawna screamed.

“You do what I tell you! Now come out and meet yo’ brotha!” Jef had Shawna lifted in mid-air, dangling by one arm. Craig froze in place, terrified and thinking, ‘Holy shit! What is happening!?’ Just then Junior ran into the room.

“Let my sister go!” He shouted then started flailing his fists at Jef with one f. “Let her GO!” Jef, then, dropped Shawna, grabbed Junior by the side of his head, and slammed it into the wall, making a crater twice its size. Shawna started crying, and Junior fell to the ground, unconscious. Craig’s mouth dropped, his eyes widened, now thinking, ‘Holy FUUUCK!’

“Aye, we gotta bounce, Craig. NOW!” Jef started running out the front door. Craig wasn’t sure what to do, he looked at Shawna crying, the hole in the wall, Junior’s lifeless body. He couldn’t say a word, and ran outside following Jef. They jumped into the car and sped off into the night.

“What the FUCK was that!?” Craig shouted.

“It’s a’ight, I’m gon’ call the cops later.”

“What?! On yourself?! Is Junior even alive?! Are you listening!?” Jef didn’t answer.

“Listen to me,” said Jef in a calm tone, “something’s wrong. Fuck. FUCK! Somethings wrong.” Craig just looked at him, infuriated, and at a loss for words. Jef sped around the corner Emmaline’s street was on and came to a screeching halt. “I’m sorry about yo’ speakers, we’ll get ’em next time, a’ight?” He then popped out of the car, ran into the apartment and shut off the lights, leaving Craig’s car door open and running.

“I can’t fucking believe this is happening. This is the guy my mom is going to marry.” Craig said under his breath as he switched into the driver seat. He started driving, when suddenly, he heard police sirens in the distance. He then sped off to my grandparents house in Pasadena, where I was staying. He left his car in a store parking lot, and ran the rest of the way, and eventually through my window. Craig did not attend his mother’s wedding to Jef with one f.

Graduation finally came along, which meant Craig and I were about to be married soon. He was finalizing his paperwork with the U.S. Army and had just finished the paperwork for my ownership of the grocery store. I was working out a deal with Edward to by a Mustang GT from him. It was a fucking amazing car, and I’d worked on it with Craig a few times. Growing up with two boys, I held my own in terms of mechanics. Edward kept raising the price, then lowering it slightly, so it was sure to be a long negotiation.

By that time, daddy had also remarried to a sweet woman named Jenifer. She was quiet, but not in a shy way, she understood daddy’s sense of humor, and basically dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. She was simple. As long as daddy was happy with her, I would be too.

Craig stressed often over the wedding. He tried to get his mother, Emmaline to go to our wedding, but she kept saying how she’d have to ask Jef with one f. Then remind Craig of his absence to her wedding. In which, Craig’s retort would be because he did not condone her marriage to Jef with one f and declined to further state what had happened that one evening he went over. After a conversation with her, he often started drinking alcohol. I started drinking with him soon after. There was plenty in the house, and when Edward was out and about, Gabriella would join us, teaching us a bit of Spanish. Donnie never noticed, Diane, was never home, and Vinnie had moved back in. Vinnie couldn’t stand Jef with one f just as much as Craig couldn’t, but he didn’t drink. Vincent took to marijuana instead, and was stoned much of the time.

At our wedding, Emmaline surprised us all by attending. Then surprised us all again when she left after only half an hour. During the father and bride, mother and groom dance, daddy and I were the only ones on the floor, while Craig sat and watched. The guests didn’t say anything, but everyone knew. Then Jenifer grabbed Craig and forced him to dance with her. My brother Jack came up to me later in the day and said to me, ‘good job, Katie,’ and walked back to the table where daddy was. Daddy gave him a pat on the back, and Jenifer smiled. My husband, Craig, shipped out two days later for basic training.

The Meyer’s kids switched off manning a camcorder that day. Watching the tape, I discovered my father-in-law, Edward had already sold the Mustang, for much cheaper than what I had offered. I can hear Vincent arguing with Edward about it. Then towards the end of the tape, Craig and I were holding each other on the front porch while the kids filmed from the inside, through the window blinds. We were both crying because he and I knew we were going to miss the fuck out of each other.

“Craig and Katie are shiny, a majestic translucence.” said Donnie.

“Yeah, they deserve each other.” agreed Vincent.

“Oh my god, look how in love they are.” said Diane.

“Oh yeah? Just wait twenty-five years when she divorces your brother and runs off with a black guy, we’ll see how in love they are.” slurred Edward.

“Dad, shut up.” said Diane and Vincent.

A few years later, I was living on the base with Craig. We threw parties, I got myself a military I.D., and the drinking continued. Most nights filled with belligerence accompanied by hoots and hollers. I often made out with other girls, at the encouragement of Craig. He in turn, slept with some of them, without my encouragement, or knowledge for that matter. We had become alcoholics by then. Hangovers 5 days out of the week. I’d often hide whiskey inside coffee cups and watch movies at the local theater alone, and when I’d wake up, I wouldn’t be able to remember what movie I had seen the night before, let alone, how I even got home. Our lives adopted a one-day-at-a-time basis with a complete bleakness and nonchalance towards the future. It went on like this until one day Craig disappeared.

He had gone to his father Edward. Craig had noticed the downward spiral and sought advice from his father, who in turn, convinced Craig to divorce me. I then went into a state of bottomless depression, broken and nurtured only through the teet of a bottle. Tons o’ fucking fun, when I moved back home with daddy as a complete mess. I stayed that way for months until one day, I got a call from Vincent. He told me my ex-husband, Craig, remarried. She was legally a midget and former stripper, who later became a typical bible mother. After that, I decided I had two choices. One was to either, remain in the grave, drinking a haze around me to keep me from seeing the reality of the world I inhabited, never to confront it. I chose the second. I checked myself into a rehabilitation center.

I don’t regret that period of my life, neither Craig nor I were the same people we once were. Those two had died long ago, and we became something like ghosts, floating through a fog we called life without our bodies. I was fortunate enough to find mine, and I don’t regret having to go through the grueling and tedious process to earn it, not one bit. The way I see it, Craig and I had good seats to the show. The solace was in knowing it wasn’t going to be the last show.

The Wine-Stained Diary series (A Note from a Wine-Stained Diary, Another Note from a Wine-Stained Diary, The Last Note from a Wine-Stained Diary) is based on a true story. Character names have been changed to protect the individuals identities and any similarities amongst the names are purely coincidental. Any reproduction of the work must provide full acknowledgements to the author, as well as a trackback to the site.

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Filed under non-fiction rambling, stories

the almighty pen vs. the mutated time traveller

“Never had I felt so good. It was better than masturbating. I went from [wine]barrel to barrel. It was magic. Why hadn’t someone told me? With this, life was great, a man was perfect, nothing could touch him. …We sat on a park bench and chewed the gum and I thought, well, now I have found something, I have found something that is going to help me, for a long long time to come. The park grass looked greener, the park benches looked better and the flowers were trying harder. Maybe that stuff wasn’t good for surgeons, but anybody who wanted to be a surgeon, there was something wrong with them in the first place.”

Bukowski, Charles. Ham on Rye Ch. 22

Words can become as trivial as the spec of dust on your allegedly clean computer screen, or become as paramount picking up the low-fat sesame ginger dressing because that’s the only one your skinny girlfriend uses, and you got the full-fat last time, and soyaki sauce, which was way off, before that. Our brains in their 3 lb. glory,  process these words with the brevity sometimes quicker than lightning and swifter than the Santa Ana winds. All the RAM and CPU can’t match that [yet]. Words aren’t dull, in fact, if you let them drive the car, they could take you to place you’ve never been, where you don’t feel pain, where you never doubt yourself, where you’re not angry, regardless of anything you’ve been through.

Sometimes, we don’t realize the kind of power we have with the way we can use words. You can get accepted to college, even with shit grades in high school, if your letter of admission was compellingly written. But sometimes… you can even slowly kill a person with the content and context of those little words.

I’ve always hated using words to cut, scar, and impale others. But I happen to be very good at it. It feels like playing a tough level on Angry Birds, where you plan out which birds you’re gonna use to hit what, figure out the trajectory, launch your fowl, and watch that level fall to pieces. It feels good, every move you made worked, and you get 4 stars. It’s the same thing when you hit someone with words, and sometimes with the right words, they stay inside the other person, years at a time even. You might have forgotten about it by then, but they haven’t forgotten your thoughtful parting gift. A venomous snakebite burning through ones very core. No one can help them, words of comfort, distractions, copious amounts of drugs and booze, it’s still there. They try to forget about it, ignore it, sticks and stones, even though you stabbed them in front of a crowd like matador because it feels good, but nothing’s the same to them anymore; grass isn’t as green, sky isn’t as blue, jokes aren’t as funny. You might as well have actually stabbed the person, but then again, reducing a person to the degree is like a gift that keeps on giving. Someone gave me a gift a few days ago, but I know how long it’s going to stay. My pop gave me gifts years ago too, still cherish them.

When you drink, your inhibitions are lowered, and felt invincible. You felt perfect, and you couldn’t give a fuck if someone disagreed, life felt good, you were untouchable, and everyone loves you. That was me, everyday, since two Christmases ago. I’d have two dollars in my pocket for my lunch break, and I’d debate about getting a Reuben sandwich or 211 Steel Reserve everyday. It’s 8.1% of “uuuggghhh,” but I eventually stopped debating, and 211’s stopped tasting like a can of the sweat inside your gym shoes. I didn’t think I had a problem, I was only 22, for Christ’s sake. But I started drinking alone, and I knew that was a sign. I ignored it, because I thought I would be smarter about it than others. Like I was the one person in mankind that wouldn’t develop a problem. Here’s the thing, when you’re drunk, you think every thought and idea you have is a good one. I had great ideas and wonderful thoughts, throughout the day. Charles Shaw kept me company at night, and I used to kid myself that it was okay because wine was classy, ergo, so was I.

I’ve been detoxing and quitting for almost a month and a half now. I relapsed twice, but I didn’t get anywhere near my usual stage; enthusiastic hand gestures, crowd gathering, singing along to songs, making up words to songs I didn’t know, and one step short of blasting myself in the neck with a tranquilizer dart. Quitting the drink requires complete abstinence. That’s because the problem only persists due to the person’s inability to moderate consumption. For me, the habit was that I constantly and consistently needed that feeling of being untouchable, everyone loving me, feeling like I really was perfect, feeling like life really was perfect. The reality was I was none of those things, and life wasn’t perfect, but it can happen spontaneously to everyone. I just constantly needed the consistency. Naturally having an addictive personality doesn’t help either.

Lately, I’ve been going through withdrawal. I’d get the shakes, I’d be awake at all hours of the night, apathy, a general disinterest in things, and most of all, irritability. I felt like a complete deuchbag, I was rude to people I didn’t know, said hurtful things to ones I did, I actually hated myself for it, and never wanted a drink more. Even started thinking it was the real me, I hadn’t been completely sober in so long, I had no idea what I was really like. At the time, I didn’t know I was going through withdrawal. I just thought I was doing weird things. The withdrawals are there to coerce you to into getting back on the wagon. This time, I’m winning. I have no idea how long this period is supposed to last, but I’ve been trying to avoid my friends, (whom drink on an Olympic level) and it gets quite lonely at times. I have 3 to 5 roommates whom I love them very much, but I’m avoiding them too, because I don’t want to be mean to them,

Then it happened. The gift I mentioned. “Dr.83” said detoxing is make-believe because it’s not in a medical textbook. Went on to say I’ve always been a drunk, and I can never be anything other than a drunk. Then Dr.83 went on to gloat about how he/she didn’t have a drinking problem. That after a wild night, he/she can rest and not drink the next day. Basically, Dr. 83 denounced any point to my existence, but didn’t do it by name. I’ve omitted Dr. 83’s illiberal name calling, which was a clue in discovering I was the addressee. Fuck yeah I was pissed. I wanted to drink, and fire back some razor-sharp posion-tipped words to demolish Dr.83  like I had been. I had so much dirt, I didn’t even know where to begin. I didn’t drink. I was up the whole night though. Those words ringing in my head as I wrote a 22 page Atomic Bomb of vengeance, I even went back to specific paragraphs because I thought of something even more cleverly damaging to say later. Shit, I even dedicated parenthesized sentences to be hilarious commentary by the director and writer. What I thought was best of all, I didn’t do it like Dr.83, the straight up attack-the-anonymous-guy-referred-to-as [insert racial name] technique. Oh no, I did better, I agreed with Dr.83. Agreed and retorted not just Dr.83’s existence, but every tiny aspect of Dr. 83’s existence, and all with a lighthearted tone, with jokes. Writing the response had been the most passionate I’d felt since I’d quit drinking.

I finished writing it at 1:14 in the afternoon the next day. Every one of my  joints were exhausted to the point of creaking like an old floorboard, I was out of cigarettes, and it was past noon. I saved the file, and wanted to make sure I had a cigarette in my mouth when I clicked publish, a Camel Wide regular was the only cigarette that would do the trick. I slugged through the apartment, I had the geographically farthest room from the from the front door, no one was home. Everyone had slept through the night, woke up, gotten ready and left, hours earlier. I bought my smokes at a place farther than where I usually went, and walked back thinking about how I should do it. I’d have to change into something regal, like an 19th century fop, after all, this was my masterpiece, my 9th symphony. It was going to be glorious. Then I saw an old man at the crosswalk across from mine. The man looked decrepit, bald on top, slouched, expressionless. He looked like he got lots of gifts in his day, and it had worn him down along with time. As we walked past each other, neither of us turned our heads, we didn’t lock eyes or smile or anything. I was too proud of what I was about to do to give a shit about the old geezer.

On my way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about that guy. I thought if he’d been like me and fought back, he wouldn’t look so withered, pathetic, and useless. Then I thought, what if he did fight back, and as a result, he became withered, pathetic, and useless. Was that a sign? I didn’t believe it. I kept marching back to the battlefield. Outside the front door, that old bastard was still in my head. Then I realized, I was gonna be an old bastard one day. Withered, pathetic, useless, and time only moved in one direction, as far as I knew. I lit a Camel. I stood there until the cigarette was done. I decided not to send or publish it. I was going to take that old fucker’s place and on my way there, I decided I didn’t want to feel so much hatred during my trip. I didn’t want to feel lots of things, but hatred was by far the one that would guarantee loneliness. During withdrawal, the loneliness is constant while accented with apathy, and was the part I had the most trouble with. I didn’t think I was the bigger person for stooping to Dr.83’s level or anything, but now I felt lighter, happier that I decided to sing over cursing, and I owed Dr.83 my gratitude. My thanks was not publishing my epic, and the vengeance will be fulfilled another time, by another medium, just not me. I’m going to stay sober and be kind instead. Yeah, that’d work.

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coffee and oatmeal (post was a personal test to see if I could write the same way after a month of sobriety. I didn’t pass)

I spent the workday pretending to be frustrated and clicking furiously on the work laptop and teasing my hair when no one was looking, just so I could look more unstable when someone walked by. The surprising bit, was that it actually worked. Our servers containing all our work had a technical malfunction the day before, but I had refused to tell anyone else in the office that I had backed up all our clientele files. After I recovered everything this morning, I decided today was a good day to take a break, which is the general feeling I have for most days, and waited until the end of my day to discover how I’d recovered everything. So I executed the aforementioned routine and listened to The Kinks’ Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround Part I, while secretly Facebooking and making plans via text.

After work, my boss got me a vege Pad Thai, because he seemed to believe the act itself would promote a general well-wishing for the rest of my day to which my camouflaged transgression momentarily escaped me. Along with a coconut water to help wash the well-wishes down. It always amazes me the things that humans do to convey a feeling, sometimes without a word. I nodded, smiled and gave him a “job well down,” pat on the back, and waited till I turned the corner to skip to my train station.

I stopped by the Trader Joe’s a block away from my apartment to pick up mini oatmeal cookies and coffee icecream. I’ve been suppressing this spontaneous craving my palette has annoyed me with for quite some time now, and I believed it was time to submit. I’m not usually a fan of sweets, you can ask anyone I know, but I’m not a monster. I like sweets every now and then, but if you saw my father in his adolescence, you’d understand. Either way, I’m allergic to chocolate, so I can’t exactly have the popular Cookie’s and Cream or chocolate chip cookies, so my palette isn’t that weird. But this girl that’s had a crush on me forever was there today. (I can tell by the way she swings her hair to the side when she talks to me about living free and partying with her friends, and tells me I should “totally get wasted with her.”) She seems to believe I have a penchant for drinking from the 4 months I was showing up everyday for a bottle of two-buck-chuck because I was heartbroken. Well… that waaas a bit misleading, now that I think about it, but she gave me the icecream for free! Then mentioned it being her favorite flavor and how she loves coffee. I worked in a coffeeshop for 9 years, and I don’t like coffee, but to each their own. Anyway, the girl is really adorable and awesome for making my day even better, and I skipped a block back to my apartment. I hope she didn’t read into that.

Of course my roommate left the apartment a mess, and there’s a passed out guy whom I’ve met before but can’t remember the name to. So I cleaned up, and put my sweets away. Here’s the thing; my day has been a very pleasant one so far, and from personal experience, “never invite happiness in without a full cavity search.” Someone upstairs got some numbers wrong, and sprinkled a bit of “YAY” into my day, but they always come back to collect. I know it sounds like I’m being paranoid, but I didn’t even touch the bud-cookies my roommates made downstairs. I know I can’t be the only one who has that rule, I just can’t wait for the reveal. In any case, I think I’m just going to enjoy my coffee icecream, which really is delicious, my oatmeal cookies, watch season 4 of It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, and veg out.
(Things are more interesting to read when you’ve got something to complain about. But filming all weekend has left my brain indolent and my room littered with water bottles and costumes. Plus! I just found out my blog was number 4 under the Dry Humor category today!)

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