her shrink, to boutiques, tennis at the country club, her hairdresser, and
little Fifi’s groomer. He coughed up the $10K for me after a big lecture
on how I needed to get my shit together: “You’re thirty-five, for Christ’s
sake.” Yada yada. I’m surprised the asshole isn’t charging me interest.
So, for almost four months, I’ve had Jesse to answer to. I’ve tried to
hate that man. But you have to love Jesse. He’s laid-back but rock solid at
the same time. He even forgave me for the shit I tried to pull at Christmas. I was barely two weeks out of rehab, and every minute was excruciating. I was shaking on the inside all the time. I felt like a bomb; I was
going to burn down the town or something, so I lied to Jesse, told him
I was going to Florida to have Christmas with my parents. It being the
holidays, the drug tests weren’t random; they were scheduled. I could
see how this would work in my favor; I felt I could safely pull a three-day binge. I planned to stay shut up in my condo with alcohol ordered
online, drink myself stupid, and dance myself back to my right mind.
Jesse insisted on driving me to the airport. I felt sick as we pulled up
to the terminal. If he came in and took me to the boarding gate, the gig
was up, but he didn’t; he had his own Christmas tasks to take care of.
He let me out, wished me Merry Christmas. I assured him again that my
mother would take me to meetings. I promised to be a straight arrow.
As my “airplane” took off for Tampa, I was sitting in the airport bar,
drinking a beer. It was the best beer I’d ever had in my entire life. I drank
it slow as a snail. Then I got a taxi home. Jesse was sitting in a lawn chair
in my front yard when the taxi pulled up. He smiled. “Mighty quick trip
to Florida, Dee.” Then he took me to Krispy Kreme for donuts and coffee. I sat in the red booth, under those bright fluorescent lights, cussing
him, crying, and blowing snot all over the place. Back at my condo, he
unwrapped my online-ordered presents: the bottle of gin, the bottle of
tequila, the bottle of vodka. The champagne too. “You got some peculiar friends, Dee, sending you these kinds of presents.” And stood there,
fixed as a Roman ruin, until I poured them all down the drain. I cried
harder. And I hated him. I told him I hated him.
Before he left, standing in the doorway, he made the speech: “We
both know that this was just a symbolic gesture, an expensive one, I’m
sure you’ll agree. There’s four liquor stores in a five-mile radius, so sure,
you can go buy yourself some more bottles. Cases of bottles. You can
fill up this room with bottles, and you can sit here for Christmas Eve,
Christmas Day, and beyond and drink yourself unconscious, and yeah,