The Things She Knows
1. She’s missing pieces, but she’s still standing. If she presses hard enough, she can feel the ground beneath her feet. She digs her toes into her shoes and tries to drill through carpets and planks of wood and sheets of concrete. She thinks about giving up shoes altogether, grounding herself to the earth.
2. She’s losing it. She finds herself sitting at restaurants, staring at the menus, unable to recognize the words. Whenever the waiter comes over, her throat seizes up, and she feels like she is choking. The waiter will look through her at the TV or at the hostess who is walking by. A few weeks ago, she had a waiter who saw her. He had dark, shaggy hair and straight teeth. When he smiled, he looked into her eyes, and she wanted to grab his hand and kiss every one of his fingertips. Sometimes at night, she pretends that he is sitting next to her, holding her hand and stroking her knuckles, and asking how her day has been. She wakes up with his voice in her mouth, asking her what she would like to order.
3. If a man propositioned to sleep with her, she would laugh. She would also slip him her number and spend the next two weeks attached to her phone.
4. Mornings are the worst. She feels hungover and heavy, even though she hasn’t had a drink since her senior year of high school. She can still remember the taste of the cheap vodka, cold and sharp. It was prom night and the group she went with had rented a limo. She threw up into the skirt of her dress on the way to the dance and spent the night with her head on a table, watching her date dance with other girls. She had to call her parents for a ride home. Her mother picked her up and they rode home in silence. When they pulled into the driveway, her mother’s hands were shaking. She can remember how red her nails looked against the steering wheel, the cuts they left across both of her cheeks. She spent the next day locked in her room though no one tried to come in.
5. She is something like 13,025 days sober.
6. She’s not sure what she will do when her dog, Bosco, dies. Although, she wonders if she might die first.
7. She has high blood pressure, which amazes her because that’s not the only part of her body that is trying to kill her. Her doctor shrugs when she tells him this and reminds her that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. She knows that he is lying, but she nods and agrees to work on it.
8. She will not go back to the doctor.
9. She’s not afraid of dying. She watched her father die of cirrhosis after drinking a bottle of Jim Bean every night for dessert. Before he passed away, he told her that he loved her. His words were hollow, but she held his hand and kissed his forehead. Her mother had turned up the volume on the TV and laughed.
10. She has no good childhood memories. After her father died, she tried to write a eulogy for his funeral, gather up all the good things he had done and put them in one place. All she could see was her mother’s face slashed with hate.
11. Her parents would have benefited from the use of birth control; alternatively, she wishes that she had siblings.
12. She has one good childhood memory. When she was ten, her father drove the three of them to the beach, and they stayed in a motel for the weekend. The room smelled damp and salty, and when she took off her shoes, she could feel piles of sand hiding in the carpet. Her father spent the days in casinos and her mother spent the days walking around town. She spent the days sitting by the water watching happy families and happy couples and happy dogs racing through the foamy surf. She ate ice cream and let it drip down her forearms.
13. Ice cream could be happiness.