FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

Sweet Whispers of the Night

written by: George Gad Economou

 

 The strong scent of pot was the first thing to hit her nostrils as soon as she walked through the door; the intoxicating, soul-calming fumes had replaced oxygen in the tight confines of the small apartment. She removed her jacket with a heavy mind, already gently tipsy from the beers consumed at the bar.
"Hey, babe," the heavy voice from the living room came, and she smiled, albeit it felt forceful deep down. "Had a good time downtown?"
"Yes, it was... okay," she sat on the couch. "You know, mostly catching up, all that."
"Told them about me, then?" He puffed on the fat joint and suddenly burst into a combination of dry laughter and harsh coughing.
"Well, yes," she blushed faintly.
"I'm curious; what did you tell them?"
"The truth," she shrugged her shoulders.
"I highly doubt it."
"Maybe, I just beautified the truth a bit. Is that really a bad thing?"
"Who am I to judge? What did they say?"
"That we're moving too fast; they think it's ridiculous I've practically moved in with you in such a short time."
"Yeah, well..." he dragged another puff and never finished his sentence.
"Do you think they're right?" She asked after a prolonged silence; he had polished off the joint and drank white wine straight from the bottle.
"Want a hit? Alright. It doesn't matter what they think; maybe, they're right. Sure, it seems fast. But, as long as we are satisfied and feel it's right, then to Hell with everybody who says otherwise. Right?"
She nodded, smiled; her gaze remained fixated on the floor. He kissed her and her fingers tangled between his long, slightly greasy hair.

there was nowhere for me to go; she was out, with friends. three weeks, she sleeps here every night. feels good. I drank, whilst she was gone. I smoked some pot. I even had my fix; it was the first easy fix ever since I met her. hiding in my very own bathroom to cure sickness and sometimes I feel a stranger in my own home. it's alright, though; as soon as I'm out, she notices something's wrong, she never says anything. just, kisses me. perhaps, she knows. probably, she just mistakes my nodding as the result of my throwing up after drinking two bottles of wine during dinner.
I had to write while she was gone, but I had nothing in me; I felt so empty, devoid of all thoughts, devoid of soul. the flames have been extinguished for good, the forest chopped down. some motherfuckers enjoy a warm evening in their winter cabins by burning the same wood I used to marvel at as a child. it's alright. hopefully, a spark will fly from their fireplaces and burn the whole damn cabin, and them, to the ground and straight into Hell.
laughter in my ears; I see her sitting at the bar, surrounded by friends. wearing that short dress, the heels; god, how did I manage not to fuck her right on the spot, when I first saw her all dressed up? I drink, to forget that the drink has numbed me enough. I don't even have a libido anymore; it was all drained into an empty needle. perhaps, it's still in the trash cans, I haven't heard the garbage men coming tonight. it doesn't matter, though.
go through the motions. it's what I've always done, what always served me best. she's asleep; what a sight. aphrodite herself, the ancient Greek goddess the embodiment of true beauty, sleeping in my bed, safely tucked under the covers, and I'm trying to write. once, I could find inspiration at the naked bodies resting on my bed as I drank some more, just so I could sleep. now, there's nothing. only this pathetic piece of shit writing and I don't dare erase it, for it's the only thing I've produced in such a long fucking time.
it's alright. time to call it a night; 4 am. the night is already gone, there's light in the sky. perks of living in the northern parts of the planet. fuck this country. perhaps, one more sip, one more attempt to capture the essence long lost inside....
NO. ENOUGH. I'm out.

"What are you going to do today?"
They were both sitting on the couch, the tv was on, they were subconsciously absorbing the news, even though they were on a language he was not really fond of, nor willing to use extensively.
"I don't know," he shrugged his shoulders and sipped on his coffee. "I don't have class or anything. Maybe, I'll just stay home, you know? Try to write something, hopefully."
"I heard the keyboard last night. Got anything good going?"
"Nah, just bullshit. Trying to dig out my voice from whatever shithole it has been buried in."
"It'll come back, don't you worry," she kissed him tenderly on the lips and got up.
"Have a nice day!" He waved at her and smiled.
"You too!" She walked out in the light rain.
He waved at her again, from the window. As soon as she was past the corner, out of sight, he dug up the little wooden box hidden in the closet under a pile of towels and sheets.
"Now we're talking," he sighed heavily as he leaned back on the couch, suddenly finding himself lost in a world of colors.

"Hi, Christina. Had a nice weekend?" Alice asked and briefly hugged her.
"It was alright," she smiled. "You?"
"Same old crap," Alice chuckled. "Staying home with Tom and the baby. Don't you make the same mistake, you hear me? Don't you dare let that new guy of yours knock you up!"
"It's not even at the bottom of our list of things to do, trust me."
"Good. He doesn't want kids?"
"Hell, no!" She laughed, rather crudely. "He views his stories as his offspring, and thinks they're the only legacy worth leaving behind."
"Sounds like a nutcase."
"In some ways, he is," she pinned her nametag on her shirt and stood behind the counter. "Not much traffic here, huh?"
"It's still early, give it time. So, why are you with him?"
"I really, really like him. Sure, he's got his peculiarities, but, that makes him that more interesting."
"He's drinking, right? You did mention something before..."
"Yeah, that's the one thing I'm trying to help him with; I don't want to make him quit, I doubt he wants to, even though he actually realizes he's killing himself, but, I wouldn't mind if he could moderate it, just a bit."
"Isn't it difficult, though? Living with someone who's constantly..."
"Sometimes, yes, sure. But, he feels like he needs it, and... well, we haven't been together for that long. And," she was quick to add before Alice could speak, "he's not violent, or anything. When he drinks, he just gets... more absentminded than usual. And, that's alright, in my book."

Dear Diary,

Why did I feel this way last night? I mean, I really like George and I feel as if I am already falling for him. And yet, the warmth that overwhelmed me last night, when that guy—I think his name was John—came to talk to me at the bar! It was like I was back on that bus when I first met George. There was just... something in the air. God, what a stupid cliché this sounds like. But, it doesn't make it any less truthful.
I don't know what to think; it's only been three weeks, I know. I shouldn't be thinking half of the things I am, and still, I cannot help myself. He's lying on the bed, fast asleep, smelling like a distillery, and I can't help but smile whenever I glance at him. I check up on him, fearful he'll die in his sleep, that he'll drown in his own vomit; something will happen, I'm always afraid.
But, he's all right; he did, after all, survive this kind of life way before I came. I just wish he could... I don't know what I want. Maybe, that's what brought on that strange feeling of warmth in me last night; John wasn't drinking. Throughout the night, I saw him drink only two beers. He never got drunk; some of his friends did. He even refused some shots they offered him. George would have drunk all the shots, then ordered another round—just for himself. Not John, though. Perhaps, that's it. He reminded me that not everybody drinks to cope with everyday life.
I heard him moan; he's slowly waking up. Of course, I know I still have at least an hour before he's fully conscious. He'll drink some coffee, then some orange juice with vodka. Finally, he'll be able to talk, to listen, to be. It angers me, sometimes; we can't have breakfast like a normal couple, we can't go anywhere in the morning. Always with the hangover, the struggle to get out of bed, sometimes crawling to the bathroom to vomit.
Is this the life I want from here on now? I don't know. I want George in my life, but, sometimes, it all feels too much. A burden greater than I can possibly carry. And yet, I try. I better go now; he'll need help going to the bathroom.

Christina was standing by the doorway—between the living room and the kitchen—staring affectionately at him restlessly moving along the counter, cutting vegetables, stirring the pot, occasionally washing a used knife or plate he needed. A wide smile appeared on her face. Suddenly, she crept up behind him, as he was stirring the pot after having thrown inside it, rather unceremoniously, several pieces of squash, carrots, and potatoes.
"Why, hello there," he said, clearly caught off-guard.
"Just wanted to see if I can distract you. You look quite hot when you cook."
"Thanks," he sighed heavily when she started kissing him on the neck, biting his earlobe. "Keep this up, and we won't get anything to eat tonight."
She remained silent, kept on kissing and biting him, her hands moving downwards, through his chest and down his crotch.
"Don't come crying, when you're hungry, or scratch coal from your food," he kissed her passionately, pressing her body up against the wall. The sauce in the pot was boiling fast, often enough exploding, sending droplets of red sauce on the wall, staining them, but they didn't even notice until long afterward.
"Well, you did quite a good job, despite the distractions," she chuckled as they sat opposite one another, eating at the low coffee table—she on the couch, he on the leather desk chair.
"You already knew I was a good cook. I did use that, as an excuse to bring you here the first time around, didn't I?"
"Yep," she giggled. "You were constantly throwing hints about your cooking during our first date. Essentially, you made me feel as if I had to taste your meals!"
"And, it worked," he took a long sip from the already half-empty bottle of wine.
"Look, I don't want to appear pushy, or anything, but..."
"You're about to ask me to quit drinking; or, at the very least, control it. Am I right?"
She just nodded.
"Took you longer than most," he said, almost with admiration.
"I just... I just think you shouldn't try to harm yourself anymore. I mean... I'm here for you; you know that, right? I don't understand why you keep on drinking so much, I..."
"It's not something I can explain, to be honest. It's just..." he paused, had another long sip, and leaned back as he lit a cigarette. "I guess, I just need it. To cope with life, to slow down, to be able to follow the world. It's tough to explain, but..."
"I don't need an explanation, George," she protested vividly. "All I need is a reassurance that you won't die on me at some random night; that I won't have to rush you to a hospital because you drank more than your body could take. I wouldn't be able to take that. I wouldn't be able to bear seeing you in such a state."
"You need not worry about that," he smiled, faintly. "Impressively enough, I know my limits."
"It doesn't show."
"To you, probably it doesn't. You don't have the same limits as I. But, I know when it's time to stop when I have to call it quits for the night."
"And yet, every night, you come to bed and I feel as if I'm sleeping inside a burning distillery."
He burst into laughter; after a few seconds, she couldn't remain stern, either. They both laughed heartily, he poured her another glass of wine and they toasted to the future. They remained essentially silent for the rest of the night.

Dear Diary,

It's been almost a week since I met John, and I haven't responded to any of his texts or calls. I still have his number, though. I came close to deleting it on several occasions, but, in the end, something inside me prevented me. I wish I knew what it was; I don't, obviously, and it's killing me. I also came close calling him, twice. Why?
Maybe, it's George's drinking; how he will often ignore me because he needs to write, to focus on his sacred page. I hear him typing in the night, pushing the buttons with a brutal passion. Sometimes, as I lay there, awake yet pretending to be asleep, I wish he had half the passion for me that he has for his holy page.
I hear bottles thrown on the floor; I hear the lighter going off, signaling the lightning of yet another cigarette, or joint. At times, it's almost impossible to breathe in the room; thankfully, he quickly realizes I'm here, too, so he opens the window. But, it doesn't help that much. The stench of abuse, of self-destruction, is always present. And now, I feel it even closer to home, because my feelings are growing stronger with every passing day.
Even seeing him crawling towards the bathroom, unable to stand up due to the hangover, can't change the way I feel. I fear he's hiding something from me, that it's not JUST the hangover that makes him crawl, that renders him incapable of standing up. I don't know what it is. I'm not sure I WANT to know. It doesn't matter.
I told myself I'm here for the long run, and I am. I'm convinced of that, if not on anything else in my life. And yet, I can't erase John's phone number, even though I'm never going to call him. I wonder if he ever checks his phone, hoping to see a text, or a call, from me. I'll never know. George is out—went to some business, I have no idea what it is about and he won't talk about it, either, regardless of how much I tried to pressure it out of him—and I'm all alone. I write, to avoid having to think about calling John. And I examine his bookshelves; all his dead heroes, the only ones he ever admired, the only ones he considers true friends, even family.
It's sad, yet, it's what made me love him in the first place.

"George, will you please come to bed? It's late."
"Yes, sure. Just give me a few more minutes," he replied absentmindedly, already too lost in the haze of the drink and the page.
"Come on; what are you doing, anyway?"
"I feel as if inspiration has finally struck!" He announced, too excited despite it being 3 in the morning. "I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Will you, at least, try not to drink yourself into oblivion this time around?"
"Sure, yes, whatever you want," the words just came out of his mouth, his tongue had lost connection with his brain, as the dance on the keyboard continued, growing wilder with every passing minute.
"Great," she sighed and hid her head under the blanket. "Just, try to come to bed sober, for one motherfucking night."
"Will do, sleep tight now," he ignored her pleas, as his fingers continued their insane dance.

hiding from the truth of the dark sky,
the purple sun never rises, we're all doomed.
eventuality, we run, we hide, it catches up with us,
even within the darkest caves, the most isolated jungles,
we're chased down, captured, burned on the cross.
cries for help in the distance, "can you still hear me?"
empty promises in the air, drowned by the blue cloud of smoke,
nothingness. everywhere and nowhere.
inside the bathroom hiding, one more fix, the last one,
just the final attempt to reach the nirvana,
WHERE ARE MY FUCKING COLORS THE PROMISED LANDS???
every night she cries, muffled sobs masqueraded under the covers,
unwilling to provide protection, yet, it's all I've ever been asked to do,
help me, please!! masters in the glorious Bar, I'm seeking salvation.
nowhere to run, all the walls raised already, imprisoned within the flames,
nothing to save me, no protection; only the one way out I know of already
and I can't take it yet, regardless of how tempting it may sound.
burning, drowning, sinking, dying; countless moments of purposelessness,
the pointlessness of living. here I still am, searching the debris for the promised reason
to keep on going. under the covers she sleeps, I'm still here– why?
a fix; hiding in the bathroom. a clean apartment, the scent of chlorine.
unknown smells, unbeknownst emotions. there's a first for everything,
suddenly feeling a stranger in my home; no more having to walk barefooted
through the broken glass, no more junk on the coffee table.
everything hidden, I'm still around; HERE I AM, LORD
come take me the fuck away.
another plea to deaf ears.
she snores, lightly; music to my aching ears, balsam to my hurting soul.
one motherfucking night, sobriety was given up when I turned 14,
and for good reasons too, if I may add.
the sun is rising, permanent midnight will not be lifted;
shooting in the bathroom, a stranger in my own apartment,
tiptoeing my way on the place I should call home.
COLORS, EXPLOSIONS, THE LIGHT
it's all gone. I'm lost.
help. nothing's there. only the absolute silence of the night.
the birds are singing, here's the first sparrow of the day.
away. running. I'm standing still.
she's asleep, I'm awake; one more glass, then I'm heading to bed.
I love her, how to confess it?
so many hearts broken, sins committed. ruined product,
I should have been thrown into the fire eons ago.

Dear Diary,

I caved in... I did nothing wrong, though; I have to believe that, don't judge me! It was just a cup of coffee. Nothing more, nothing less. What if on occasion I felt as if I should kiss him? As if I should throw caution to the wind and pursue the grand unknown? Perhaps, I ought to have done just that...
I don't know. I'm sitting on the blue, stained couch and, for some reason, it feels like home. He's right next to me, we're both reading; the window is open, the cold breeze entering the room, my head on his shoulder. There's nothing more I could ask for. And yet, he texts me, and I smile. I shouldn't, I know that, but I can't help it. He's too engrossed with Henry Miller, examining every line, finding faults in every page, getting ecstatic over passages I can't even understand. And he drinks; at least a bottle of wine disappeared since he opened the book and I see he's on page 26.
"You don't have to take this," he said to me. "Why do you endure this?" He asked me during our brief coffee-date, and perhaps he was right. Maybe, he was simply flirting with me, asking me the things I wanted to hear. I don't know anymore; I feel so lost, so utterly lost that I can't discern real from fake.
He's next to me, he smiles, faintly, as he raises his glance from the book, and warmth overwhelms my body. We kiss, momentarily, and it all seems alright. I don't even care that his breath stenches of cheap wine. Suddenly, I'm sitting on a coffee-shop in a small alley, and he's telling me I shouldn't waste my time with someone that cares more about the page than he cares about me.
And, I don't know what to do. Any suggestions? Any tips? I thought so.
I'll just stay, then, where I am, knowing I'm doing the right thing. Ever since he first spoke to me, commenting on my reading "Death in the Afternoon", I knew I was into something special. Can't ruin it now, regardless of all the signs on the walls, the voices in my head.

"How was your day?" George asked, sitting on the couch, the coffee-table already covered in empty beer bottles of all varieties and brands.
"It was alright," Christine replied coldly. "What are you watching?"
"Just some indy wrestling," his eyes moved quickly between her undressing and the television screen. "Had a fun time with your friends?"
"Yeah, sure," she said absentmindedly. "I just have to rush to the bathroom real quick," she offered him a brisk smile.
What am I supposed to do? she silently asked her reflection staring back at her sternly from the stained mirror. No answer came; she washed her face vigorously, flushed the toilet to keep up the act, then walked out back into the living room.
"You stayed with your friends quite the long time, huh?" He smirked.
"Just... had a lot to talk about," she shrugged her shoulders unconvincingly and sat heavily down on the couch. "How much did you have to drink tonight?"
"I don't know," he counted the bottles with his finger, squeezing his eyes nearly shut. "Fifteen, I guess?"
"And all you did was sit here, watching wrestling?"
"I did try to write," he apologized. "But, nothing of significance would pop up, so..." he sighed, had a long sip and emptied the bottle. Quickly, he rushed to the kitchen and brought a cold one.
"Have anything going? Writing-wise?"
"Bullshit," his voice suddenly turned graver. "A couple of novels sitting there, mocking me; few short stories that are going nowhere. Only the poem isn't avoiding me like the plague, but..."
"Yes?" She insisted, when he remained silent, seemingly focused on the action on the tv.
"Nothing's really good; just a bunch of lines, some imagery. Poetry is mainly to keep it going; I can't see myself as a poet of any sort."
"I did like the few I read the other day."
"Thanks. You don't need to lie to me, you know. I'm still going to like you, even if you don't like my writing."
"I mean it," she slapped him on the shoulder. "You just need to focus."
"How can I? I'm trapped in studies I hate, in a country I despise; if it weren't for you, I'd probably have gone insane already."
"Yet, you still drink."
"It helps me maintain what sanity I've left. Do you really want me to quit? To see the madness overtake me? Trust me," he glanced at her affectionately, yet harshly too, "you don't want that!"
"I'll have to take your word for it," she lowered her gaze; once more, she was confronted by the sea of empty bottles and words belonging to the early afternoon rang inside her head like church bells at noon.
"If you want, we can watch something else," it was his time to break the silence. "I can always watch the rest of the card later."
"No, it's all right. Maybe, I'll finally be able to understand what you see in this."
"You see, the point is to create a story in the ring; the moves, the expressions, are meant to make you feel..."
"I can do without the commentary, thank you," she interrupted him, kissed him briefly on the lips, then rested her head on his shoulders. She watched, uninterested, the match, whilst her mind traveled to a small coffee shop in a small alley of the town and a fire insofar inexperienced was lit in her heart.

Dear Diary,

Why do I feel the way I do? This has to be a quick note, I'm going out soon; meeting John. George is staying at home. All day today he remained in front of the computer screen; barely even talked to me. The sound of the keyboard is driving me mad, but, at least, it seems as if he's gotten his inspiration back. He has already emptied one bottle of that cheap bourbon he gets at Lidl and has opened a second one. I worry about leaving him; I hate having to go.
But, I need some sanity, too. It's a small apartment. There's nowhere for me to go. Yes, I could go home; SHUT UP. I feel this is my home now. I just... I need some time away, from the maddening sound of the keyboard. I sit right across him, he drinks and types. I doubt he even knows I'm right here, so close to him. So eager to kiss him, to embrace him.
Right now, he doesn't care; does he even remember me telling him I'm going out? Will he suddenly stop writing, look around, and wonder where I am? And what will he do in his drunkenness? I don't know; can't think like that. Not now.
Well, I'm off.

"You did mention you were going out, right?" George asked her, as soon as she stepped into the apartment.
"Yes, George, I sure did," she smiled; her smile vanished instantly when she noticed him laying on the couch, an unlit cigarette on his lips, the nearly empty bottle of bourbon in his hand hanging freely in the air. "How much did you drink?" She almost screamed, when her eyes fell on the two empty bottles on the floor.
"Don't know, don't care. Guess what," he sat up, managed to remain in an upright position for a few seconds, then fell heavily back on the pillows, "shit. I wrote more than ten pages today! Managed to get back to the novel!"
"I'm so glad, honey," she approached him cautiously; his stare was blank. She couldn't even comprehend if he was following the wrestling match on the tv.
"Me too," he nodded, emptied the bottle. "Will you be a sweetheart and get me the other bottle from the kitchen?"
"Don't you think you've had enough already?"
"Oh, don't be such a..." he paused, struggled to find a word. "Something. Just..." He burped, swallowed the vomit down.
"Come on, just go to bed now," she pushed him, gently back on the couch.
"Fuck off!" He erupted, sat up, got to his feet. He stumbled about, landing head-first on the closet. Another hole appeared on the wooden door.
"Jesus!" She cried, held him up. "Thank God you're not bleeding... here, sit down. I'll get you that bottle if it's that damn important!"
"Thanks, Christine."
"Is this how your closet has gotten all these holes?"
"No... I don't always headbutt the closet when I'm drunk."
"Then?"
"Long story..." He took a sip from the newly opened bottle and sighed as he leaned back on the couch.
"Oh, come on..." she poked him, lightly, on the abdomen.
"Well, some of them are just punches; I get angry, I punch the closet. Smarter than punching the walls, right?" He smiled. "But, the first ever hole on that poor closet... that has a good story behind it."
"Well?" She persisted when he had fallen silent, his head tilted sideways, following the match.
"You wouldn't like it."
"Don't leave me hanging! This isn't your novels, cut it out with the suspense."
"It's about another girl, alright?" He shrugged her hand off his shoulder. "You wouldn't like it."
"Fine, have it your way," she whispered. "I'm going to bed. Do you mind turning down the volume?"
"Sure," he did. "Sleep tight."
"Try not to empty that bottle, okay?"

once more exiled to the couch, on my own volition.
how many bottles emptied?
gentle sobbing perturbing my dreams,
chased down by monsters while dragons evaded me through the misty forest.
woke up, all alone; like olden days, when I didn't care.
her clothes still in the closet, her shoes by the door,
I'm not alone. just, up too late and missed breakfast,
for how many days in a row?
lost count, and suddenly it doesn't matter.
the page is back, I can hear the voices,
there's a story to be told;
gentle touches on my shoulder, even when I'm all alone in the dark
when she sleeps and I type away till the sun supposedly is shining behind the grey clouds.
sometimes, I long to taste her lips once more,
it's always when she's gone; where is she going? is she so attached to her friends?
another sip; and the voices call for something stronger.
too long, I can't take it.
the only way, they tell me.
it's raining like mad outside; I still have some.
perhaps, it's time.

"I don't understand," John said and sipped on his coffee, "why you put up with this! You could do so much better!"
"Because," Christine sighed," I love him. It's that simple."
"Maybe, love isn't everything. You're practically destroying yourself. I mean... returning back to him, only to find him completely wasted, with empty bottles on the floor? And you don't mind?"
"Of course I mind! I care for his health and I know it's not good for him! That doesn't mean..." she buried her face in her palms and sobbed.
"I'm sorry, I didn't..." He approached her hesitantly, put his arm cautiously around her shoulders.
Almost in an instant, her head was on his shoulder, staining his shirt with hot tears. Yet, all he could think of was the flames burning up inside him.
"You're such a good friend, John," she then said amid her muffled tears. "It's good having someone to talk to, who isn't being too judgmental."
"I still think you should consider..."
"Don't talk about it," she pleaded with him; he reluctantly obeyed.
"Look," she wiped her eyes dry, "I haven't been with George for that long, but, I'm not going to leave him, either. I don't know, we just.... connected from the get-go, and..."
"Still, he's slowly driving you insane!" He protested. "Can't you see it?
"I don't care," she said rather coldly. "He needs me, and, I can't imagine living without him. It's that simple, actually."
"Your life, your call," he sighed heavily.
"I'm sorry," she rubbed his shoulder gently. "I was rude, I... I didn't mean it. It's just..."
"It's all right," he faintly smiled.
For a minute they remained silent, simply staring into each other's eyes. Suddenly, he leaned forth and kissed her on the lips. She didn't back away; not immediately.
"I'm sorry," she said amid sobs, as she got up hurriedly. "I've got to go, and... and this was a mistake. It won't happen again."
"Christine, wait!" He pleaded, held her hand tenderly. "I can't..."
"I like you," she stated coldly, "as a friend. Not as... we can't do this. We can't. I'm with George, and it's with him I want to stay. Okay?"
"Fine, fine, just..." his heart sunk, the merciless ocean was swallowing him fast. "Am I to see you again? Please?"
"I don't know, I..." she drew her hand, violently, away from his. "No. Not after this. We can't go back to being just friends. You do see that, right?"
"I guess," he nodded solemnly, then fell back on the chair.
"Good. Goodbye, then," she whispered, lingered on for another moment that felt like a century, then turned around and nearly ran towards the bus stop, unable to withhold her tears.

"GEORGE! PLEASE NO, GOD NO! THE PHONE THE GEORGE PLEASE DON'T PLEASE DON'T GOD WHAT TO DO THE PHONE WHERE THE FUCK IS MY FUCKING PHONE GOD GOOD 9-1-1..."
"Don't..."

the lights the colors the music it was all there for a few magical moments that I'll never get back it was all there I sat at the bar ordered a cold beer and got it for the first time I got a really cold nice beer and I lit a cigarette surrounded by other shadows the figures of those that came before me the ugly old man next to me proposed a toast welcomed me to the bar and said I could stay forever I was ecstatic I'm sure I would have pissed my pants if I could still piss and there was nothing more I ever dreamt they all wanted to talk to me they had blow junk booze it was all there and there was no reason whatsoever to say no anymore it didn't matter the BAR I was there for a few glorious seconds suddenly I wasn't vanished into thin air and I don't know if I'll ever be back was it a one time thing are they angry at me for leaving them maybe they're happy I left still more time to earn a better place to become even better in the ceiling the shadows are still there I see the bar too far away to reach but I try nonetheless I need to go back there's nothing left here everything I've ever wanted right there in front of me so close yet so motherfucking away too why can't her lips on my cheek I'm awake she's there how long has it been cold turkey god I made it somehow someway why the fuck did you let me survive it you son of a bitch you motherfucking almighty motherfucker in the sky sitting comfortably on your golden throne throwing shit at us for your own personal amusement you sycophantic sadist of a god fuck you her lips on my lips tender as ever affectionate loving the bar slowly evaporates nothing on the ceiling once more lost the dreams are gone dead lying in their shallow nameless graves getting pissed on by black turtles it's alright I guess I'm still here no tears in anybody's beer yet only in mine but I'm used to it thank you I guess for saving me fuck you too I didn't want to be saved and no one seems to get it the shallow grave mine is still empty waiting by the sea the waves roar under the rocks and I'm going there heading towards it speeding on the highways of broken dreams taking a turn and searching for the tree only to find yet another tiny fucking road leading me to the same place only the distance grows even longer with every wrong turn every hopeful attempt to rush the end

"How are you feeling?"
"Like shit..." he coughed; abruptly, he leaned over the edge of the bed and vomited his guts out—or so it felt—on the bucket by the bed.
"Relax, honey; take a deep breath," she said, wiping the sweat off his forehead. "You're almost there. Soon, you'll be..."
"Fucking dead," he said coldly.
"Clean and fine, I was going to say."
"Same thing," he glanced at her and managed to produce a smile. "Thank you," he whispered.
She shushed him, kissed him on the cheek. "Try to get some rest, okay?"
"Aren't you going to work?"
"I got a week off. If need be, I'll take more days off. I'm not leaving you."
Her phone suddenly started vibrating; John.
"Aren't you going to answer it?"
"It's unimportant. An old friend that has been pestering me for a while."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Right now, all that matters is getting you back to shape."
"I could use," he burst into another violent cough, "something to drink."
"I hope you mean water," she handed him the plastic bottle; he had a small sip.
"Well," he then tried to add.
"I'm not hearing it. Only water for you, mister."
"Yes, ma'am," he tried to salute her, but he instantly groaned, when he tried to raise his arm.
"Stay still, and try to rest. You should go to a hospital, you know."
"No fucking way," he said amid his coughing. "I'm not going to rehab. Nor am I going to be questioned about my dealers, and all that."
"Apropos..."
"No fucking way," he said harshly and, effectively, ended the conversation.

Dear Diary,

He's getting better now; apparently, he managed to survive the acute withdrawal. Take that websites that postulated that cold-turkey heroin withdrawal would be lethal. I was so terrified. I don't want to know what I would have done, had he died. I don't want to think about it.
Yet, there's no light ahead of us. Now, he's miserable. Sits all day long and watches wrestling. And drinks. He says it helps. I don't understand it. He also writes; A LOT. It's either wrestling, or his writing. As if I don't exist. He only remembers me, when he lies next to me, takes me in his arms. As if that one sign of affection is going to make up for everything.
Additionally, I need to decide. I've been postponing it for weeks; I need to apply for school. I thought I could delay it another year; to prolong the inevitable. My grades aren't good enough, I'll need to move to another city. Maybe, I thought, waiting a year would make long-distance possible. But, I'm questioning myself now, is it worth it?
It pains me just to think about it. Perhaps, going away is going to save us. Give him an incentive to fix his act, come clean of all abuses. Make him fight for what we have. I'm being naive, but, I'm allowed to be, in my own damn diary. Sometimes, all I wish for is for him to hold my hand. We barely even watch movies together anymore. I feel as if I don't exist anymore; as if I'm just a ghost of his.
I read one of his poems; I'm nothing but a whispering ghost. One that is still around, granted, but, nonetheless, destined to become nothing more than an echoing voice in his drinking nights. So, maybe, I'll send my applications this year. Why delay the inevitable?

back in Greece, the land that gave birth
to Aristotle, Euripides, Aeschylus, Socrates, Aristophanes, and Menander,
as well as to all the modern idiots soiling the ground
human gods used to walk on.
the sun is shining bright, I'm clean of junk, somehow surviving the sickness;
coffee with friends, out for beers in the nights,
laughing, talking.
all the while, she's back in the country of no future,
working, waiting for a response from her university.
on an island we sit, a small balcony, we drink coffee and we make jokes,
she's away, few texts just to ask "how are you?"
I'm on vacation and can't be bothered.
someone else is here, a gorgeous woman,
apparently, half my friends have a thing for her,
yet, she seems interested in me.
I am distant, I don't care,
there's someone waiting.
she stayed, even when she found me half-dead with the needle still in my arm.
she remained, to hold my hand during the darkest of weeks.
I had to come back home, to remember the streets of childhood dreams;
she understood.
I'll soon be back, to hold her.
I'll become better; perhaps, I should quit the drink, too.
I don't need it to write, even though it helps.
by quitting, I'll keep her by my side, and it's all that matters in the end.
the warm embrace during the coldest winter nights,
someone to kiss; I should finally say "I love you", for
I've delayed it far too long. time to go out, more beers,
it's alright. everyone drinks when on vacation.

"Hey, George," she said solemnly on the phone, battling with contradictory emotions swarming her very soul.
"Hey! Are the results out?"
"Yes, they..." she swallowed down hard. "They're out."
"And?" He asked, his enthusiasm quickly diminishing.
"I'm in," she said sorrowfully. "I was accepted at Copenhagen."
"That's..." he mumbled. "That's great. You're in. You can study to be a dentist now!"
"Yeah," she smiled faintly; "but..."
"I know, we're going to be in different cities, now. Three hours away with the train; it's doable, it's..."
"No, George, it's not. And you know it."
"I..." He paused; walked down the stairs, away from the small apartment he and his friends were renting at the island of Sifnos. "Yes, I do know it. So, is this..."
"I suppose it is..." She said melancholy, and sniffled her nose. "I still have the keys to your apartment; I'll go collect my stuff, then leave my key inside the electricity-reader box. Alright?"
"Do you need to hurry that much? You can come by when I'm back..."
"Universities start before you're home, George," she explained coldly. "I'll need to be at Copenhagen, before you are back."
"Maybe, I could try to come earlier..."
"No," she intercepted him, "you won't. And you don't even want to. You like being back in Greece; it's where you belong."
"That's not right, that's..."
"The truth."
"So, essentially, I'll never see you again. That's it. This phone call ends, and..."
"And... yes."
"All over."
"Maybe, it's for the best. Seeing you might have convinced me to stay, to abandon my studies."
"And we can't have that."
"No, George, we can't. Not after..."
"I know. I fucked up big time, didn't I?"
"We both did."
"Right... well, I guess then... take care?"
"Yeah, I... are you having a good time?"
"I was. Until... I really thought I'd tell you all about it when I got back."
"I know, I..." She paused; breathed in deeply. "I really need to go, it's getting late. And... who knows? Maybe, we'll see each other again."
"No, we won't," he said harshly. "This is it. The final goodbye. I only wish I could kiss you one last time; when I left Aarhus, I didn't think... didn't consider..."
"Neither of us did. Maybe, it was for the best."
"You've always been the optimist."
"Someone had to be."
They both chuckled, dryly yet naturally.
"Alright, then," George said heavily. "Take care of yourself and..."
"You too. Have a nice time in Greece, and..." I'll see you when you're back, she nearly added, but managed to swallow down the words.
"Goodbye, and thanks for everything," he said amid growing tears and ended the call before she could reply. He sat at the stone steps leading to the room and cried inside his palms.
"I love you," she whispered to the phone. She laid down on the bed and stared at the ceiling throughout the sleepless night; morning came, she went back to his apartment, collected her things, locked the door, hid the key at the spot they had agreed on.
She left nothing behind.

The strong scent of pot was the first thing to hit her nostrils as soon as she walked through the door; the intoxicating, soul-calming fumes had replaced oxygen in the tight confines of the small apartment. She removed her jacket with a heavy mind, already gently tipsy from the beers consumed at the bar.
"Hey, babe," the heavy voice from the living room came, and she smiled, albeit it felt forceful deep down. "Had a good time downtown?"
"Yes, it was... okay," she sat on the couch. "You know, mostly catching up, all that."
"Told them about me, then?" He puffed on the fat joint and suddenly burst into a combination of dry laughter and harsh coughing.
"Well, yes," she blushed faintly.
"I'm curious; what did you tell them?"
"The truth," she shrugged her shoulders.
"I highly doubt it."
"Maybe, I just beautified the truth a bit. Is that really a bad thing?"
"Who am I to judge? What did they say?"
"That we're moving too fast; they think it's ridiculous I've practically moved in with you in such a short time."
"Yeah, well..." he dragged another puff and never finished his sentence.
"Do you think they're right?" She asked after a prolonged silence; he had polished off the joint and drank white wine straight from the bottle.
"Want a hit? Alright. It doesn't matter what they think; maybe, they're right. Sure, it seems fast. But, as long as we are satisfied and feel it's right, then to Hell with everybody who says otherwise. Right?"
She nodded, smiled; her gaze remained fixated on the floor. He kissed her and her fingers tangled between his long, slightly greasy hair.

there was nowhere for me to go; she was out, with friends. three weeks, she sleeps here every night. feels good. I drank, whilst she was gone. I smoked some pot. I even had my fix; it was the first easy fix ever since I met her. hiding in my very own bathroom to cure sickness and sometimes I feel a stranger in my own home. it's alright, though; as soon as I'm out, she notices something's wrong, she never says anything. just, kisses me. perhaps, she knows. probably, she just mistakes my nodding as the result of my throwing up after drinking two bottles of wine during dinner.
I had to write while she was gone, but I had nothing in me; I felt so empty, devoid of all thoughts, devoid of soul. the flames have been extinguished for good, the forest chopped down. some motherfuckers enjoy a warm evening in their winter cabins by burning the same wood I used to marvel at as a child. it's alright. hopefully, a spark will fly from their fireplaces and burn the whole damn cabin, and them, to the ground and straight into Hell.
laughter in my ears; I see her sitting at the bar, surrounded by friends. wearing that short dress, the heels; god, how did I manage not to fuck her right on the spot, when I first saw her all dressed up? I drink, to forget that the drink has numbed me enough. I don't even have a libido anymore; it was all drained into an empty needle. perhaps, it's still in the trash cans, I haven't heard the garbage men coming tonight. it doesn't matter, though.
go through the motions. it's what I've always done, what always served me best. she's asleep; what a sight. aphrodite herself, the ancient greek goddess the embodiment of true beauty, sleeping in my bed, safely tucked under the covers, and I'm trying to write. once, I could find inspiration at the naked bodies resting on my bed as I drank some more, just so I could sleep. now, there's nothing. only this pathetic piece of shit writing, and I don't dare erase it, for it's the only thing I've produced in such a long fucking time.
it's alright. time to call it a night; 4 am. the night is already gone, there's light in the sky. perks of living in the north parts of the planet. fuck this country. perhaps, one more sip, one more attempt to capture the essence long lost inside....
NO. ENOUGH. I'm out.

"What are you going to do today?"
They were both sitting on the couch, the tv was on, they were subconsciously absorbing the news, even though they were on a language he was not really fond of, nor willing to use extensively.
"I don't know," he shrugged his shoulders and sipped on his coffee. "I don't have class, or anything. Maybe, I'll just stay home, you know? Try to write something, hopefully."
"I heard the keyboard last night. Got anything good going?"
"Nah, just bullshit. Trying to dig out my voice from whatever shithole it has been buried in."
"It'll come back, don't you worry," she kissed him tenderly on the lips and got up.
"Have a nice day!" He waved at her and smiled.
"You too!" She walked out in the light rain.
He waved at her again, from the window. As soon as she was past the corner, out of sight, he dug up the little wooden box hidden in the closet under a pile of towels and sheets.
"Now we're talking," he sighed heavily as he leaned back on the couch, suddenly finding himself lost in a world of colors.

"Hi, Christina. Had a nice weekend?" Alice asked and briefly hugged her.
"It was alright," she smiled. "You?"
"Same old crap," Alice chuckled. "Staying home with Tom and the baby. Don't you make the same mistake, you hear me? Don't you dare let that new guy of yours knock you up!"
"It's not even at the bottom of our list of things to do, trust me."
"Good. He doesn't want kids?"
"Hell, no!" She laughed, rather crudely. "He views his stories as his offspring, and thinks they're the only legacy worth leaving behind."
"Sounds like a nutcase."
"In some ways, he is," she pinned her nametag on her shirt and stood behind the counter. "Not much traffic here, huh?"
"It's still early, give it time. So, why are you with him?"
"I really, really like him. Sure, he's got his peculiarities, but, that makes him that more interesting."
"He's drinking, right? You did mention something before..."
"Yeah, that's the one thing I'm trying to help him with; I don't want to make him quit, I doubt he wants to, even though he actually realizes he's killing himself, but, I wouldn't mind if he could moderate it, just a bit."
"Isn't it difficult, though? Living with someone who's constantly..."
"Sometimes, yes, sure. But, he feels like he needs it, and... well, we haven't been together for that long. And," she was quick to add, before Alice could speak, "he's not violent, or anything. When he drinks, he just gets... more absentminded than usual. And, that's alright, in my book."

Dear Diary,

Why did I feel this way last night? I mean, I really like George and I feel as if I am already falling for him. And yet, the warmth that overwhelmed me last night, when that guy—I think his name was John—came to talk to me at the bar! It was like I was back at that bus, when I first met George. There was just... something in the air. God, what a stupid cliché this sounds like. But, it doesn't make it any less truthful.
I don't know what to think; it's only been three weeks, I know. I shouldn't be thinking half of the things I am, and still, I cannot help myself. He's lying on the bed, fast asleep, smelling like a distillery, and I can't help but smile whenever I glance at him. I check up on him, fearful he'll die on his sleep, that he'll drown in his own vomit; something will happen, I'm always afraid.
But, he's all right; he did, after all, survive this kind of life way before I came. I just wish he could... I don't know what I want. Maybe, that's what brought on that strange feeling of warmth in me last night; John wasn't drinking. Throughout the night, I saw him drink only two beers. He never got drunk; some of his friends did. He even refused some shots they offered him. George would have drunk all the shots, then ordered another round—just for himself. Not John, though. Perhaps, that's it. He reminded me that not everybody drinks to cope with everyday life.
I heard him moan; he's slowly waking up. Of course, I know I still have at least an hour before he's fully conscious. He'll drink some coffee, then some orange juice with vodka. Finally, he'll be able to talk, to listen, to be. It angers me, sometimes; we can't have breakfast like a normal couple, we can't go anywhere in the morning. Always with the hangover, the struggle to get out of bed, sometimes crawling to the bathroom to vomit.
Is this the life I want from here on now? I don't know. I want George in my life, but, sometimes, it all feels too much. A burden greater than I can possibly carry. And yet, I try. I better go now; he'll need help going to the bathroom.

Christina was standing by the doorway—between the living room and the kitchen—staring affectionately at him restlessly moving along the counter, cutting vegetables, stirring the pot, occasionally washing a used knife or plate he needed. A wide smile appeared on her face. Suddenly, she crept up behind him, as he was stirring the pot after having thrown inside it, rather unceremoniously, several pieces of squash, carrots, and potatoes.
"Why, hello there," he said, clearly caught off-guard.
"Just wanted to see if I can distract you. You look quite hot, when you cook."
"Thanks," he sighed heavily, when she started kissing him on the neck, biting his earlobe. "Keep this up, and we won't get anything to eat tonight."
She remained silent, kept on kissing and biting him, her hands moving downwards, through his chest and down his crotch.
"Don't come crying, when you're hungry, or scratch coal from your food," he kissed her passionately, pressing her body up against the wall. The sauce in the pot was boiling fast, often enough exploding, sending droplets of red sauce on the wall, staining them, but they didn't even notice until long afterwards.
"Well, you did quite a good job, despite the distractions," she chuckled as they sat opposite one another, eating at the low coffee table—she on the couch, he on the leather desk chair.
"You already knew I was a good cook. I did use that, as an excuse to bring you here the first time around, didn't I?"
"Yep," she giggled. "You were constantly throwing hints about your cooking during our first date. Essentially, you made me feel as if I had to taste your meals!"
"And, it worked," he took a long sip from the already half-empty bottle of wine.
"Look, I don't won't to appear pushy, or anything, but..."
"You're about to ask me to quit drinking; or, at the very least, control it. Am I right?"
She just nodded.
"Took you longer than most," he said, almost with admiration.
"I just... I just think you shouldn't try to harm yourself anymore. I mean... I'm here for you; you know that, right? I don't understand why you keep on drinking so much, I..."
"It's not something I can explain, to be honest. It's just..." he paused, had another long sip, and leaned backwards as he lit a cigarette. "I guess, I just need it. To cope with life, to slow down, to be able to follow the world. It's tough to explain, but..."
"I don't need an explanation, George," she protested vividly. "All I need, is a reassurance that you won't die on me at some random night; that I won't have to rush you to a hospital, because you drank more than your body could take. I wouldn't be able to take that. I wouldn't be able to bear see you in such a state."
"You need not worry about that," he smiled, faintly. "Impressively enough, I know my limits."
"It doesn't show."
"To you, probably it doesn't. You don't have the same limits as I. But, I know when it's time to stop, when I have to call it quits for the night."
"And yet, every night, you come to bed and I feel as if I'm sleeping inside a burning distillery."
He burst into laughter; after a few seconds, she couldn't remain stern, either. They both laughed heartily, he poured her another glass of wine and they toasted to the future. They remained essentially silent for the rest of the night.

Dear Diary,

It's been almost a week since I met John, and I haven't responded to any of his texts or calls. I still have his number, though. I came close to deleting it on several occasions, but, in the end, something inside me prevented me. I wish I knew what it was; I don't, obviously, and it's killing me. I also came close calling him, twice. Why?
Maybe, it's George's drinking; how he will often ignore me, because he needs to write, to focus on his sacred page. I hear him typing in the night, pushing the buttons with brutal passion. Sometimes, as I lay there, awake yet pretending to be asleep, I wish he had half the passion for me that he has for his holy page.
I hear bottles thrown at the floor; I hear the lighter going off, signaling the lightning of yet another cigarette, or joint. At times, it's almost impossible to breathe in the room; thankfully, he quickly realizes I'm here, too, so he opens the window. But, it doesn't help that much. The stench of abuse, of self-destruction, is always present. And now, I feel it even closer to home, because my feelings are growing stronger with every passing day.
Even seeing him crawling towards the bathroom, unable to stand up due to the hangover, can't change the way I feel. I fear he's hiding something from me, that it's not JUST the hangover that makes him crawl, that renders him incapable of standing up. I don't know what it is. I'm not sure I WANT to know. It doesn't matter.
I told myself I'm here for the long run, and I am. I'm convinced of that, if not on anything else in my life. And yet, I can't erase John's phone number, even though I'm never going to call him. I wonder if he ever checks his phone, hoping to see a text, or a call, from me. I'll never know. George is out—went to some business, I have no idea what it is about and he won't talk about it, either, regardless of how much I tried to pressure it out of him—and I'm all alone. I write, to avoid having to think about calling John. And I examine his bookshelves; all his dead heroes, the only ones he ever admired, the only ones he considers true friends, even family.
It's sad, yet, it's what made me love him in the first place.

"George, will you please come to bed? It's late."
"Yes, sure. Just give me a few more minutes," he replied absentmindedly, already too lost in the haze of the drink and the page.
"Come on; what are you doing, anyway?"
"I feel as if inspiration has finally struck!" He announced, too excited despite it being 3 in the morning. "I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Will you, at least, try not to drink yourself to oblivion this time around?"
"Sure, yes, whatever you want," the words just came out of his mouth, his tongue had lost connection with his brain, as the dance on the keyboard continued, growing wilder with every passing minute.
"Great," she sighed and hid her head under the blanket. "Just, try to come to bed sober, for one motherfucking night."
"Will do, sleep tight now," he ignored her pleas, as his fingers continued their insane dance.

hiding from the truth of the dark sky,
the purple sun never rises, we're all doomed.
eventuality, we run, we hide, it catches up with us,
even within the darkest caves, the most isolated jungles,
we're chased down, captured, burned on the cross.
cries for help in the distance, "can you still hear me?"
empty promises in the air, drowned by the blue cloud of smoke,
nothingness. everywhere and nowhere.
inside the bathroom hiding, one more fix, the last one,
just the final attempt to reach the nirvana,
WHERE ARE MY FUCKING COLORS THE PROMISED LANDS???
every night she cries, muffled sobs masqueraded under the covers,
unwilling to provide protection, yet, it's all I've ever been asked to do,
help me, please!! masters in the glorious Bar, I'm seeking salvation.
nowhere to run, all the walls raised already, imprisoned within the flames,
nothing to save me, no protection; only the one way out I know of already
and I can't take it yet, regardless of how tempting it may sound.
burning, drowning, sinking, dying; countless moments of purposelessness,
the pointlessness of living. here I still am, searching the debris for the promised reason
to keep on going. under the covers she sleeps, I'm still here– why?
a fix; hiding in the bathroom. a clean apartment, the scent of chlorine.
unknown smells, unbeknownst emotions. there's a first for everything,
suddenly feeling a stranger in my home; no more having to walk barefooted
through the broken glass, no more junk on the coffee table.
everything hidden, I'm still around; HERE I AM, LORD
come take me the fuck away.
another plea to deaf ears.
she snores, lightly; music to my aching ears, balsam to my hurting soul.
one motherfucking night, sobriety was given up when I turned 14,
and for good reasons too, if I may add.
the sun is rising, permanent midnight will not be lifted;
shooting in the bathroom, stranger in my own apartment,
tiptoeing my way on the place I should call home.
COLORS, EXPLOSIONS, THE LIGHT
it's all gone. I'm lost.
help. nothing's there. only the absolute silence of the night.
the birds are singing, here's the first sparrow of the day.
away. running. I'm standing still.
she's asleep, I'm awake; one more glass, then I'm heading to bed.
I love her, how to confess it?
so many hearts broken, sins committed. ruined product,
I should have been thrown into the fire eons ago.

Dear Diary,

I caved in... I did nothing wrong, though; I have to believe that, don't judge me! It was just a cup of coffee. Nothing more, nothing less. What if on occasion I felt as if I should kiss him? As if I should throw caution to the wind and pursue the grand unknown? Perhaps, I ought to have done just that...
I don't know. I'm sitting on the blue, stained couch and, for some reason, it feels like home. He's right next to me, we're both reading; the window is open, the cold breeze entering the room, my head on his shoulder. There's nothing more I could ask for. And yet, he texts me, and I smile. I shouldn't, I know that, but I can't help it. He's too engrossed with Henry Miller, examining every line, finding faults in every page, getting ecstatic over passages I can't even understand. And he drinks; at least a bottle of wine disappeared since he opened the book and I see he's on page 26.
"You don't have to take this," he said to me. "Why do you endure this?" He asked me during our brief coffee-date, and perhaps he was right. Maybe, he was simply flirting with me, asking me the things I wanted to hear. I don't know anymore; I feel so lost, so utterly lost that I can't discern real from fake.
He's next to me, he smiles, faintly, as he raises his glance from the book, and warmth overwhelms my body. We kiss, momentarily, and it all seems alright. I don't even care that his breath stenches of cheap wine. Suddenly, I'm sitting on a coffee-shop in a small alley, and he's telling me I shouldn't waste my time with someone that cares more about the page, than he cares about me.
And, I don't know what to do. Any suggestions? Any tips? I thought so.
I'll just stay, then, where I am, knowing I'm doing the right thing. Ever since he first spoke to me, commenting on my reading "Death in the Afternoon", I knew I was into something special. Can't ruin it now, regardless of all the signs on the walls, the voices in my head.

"How was your day?" George asked, sitting on the couch, the coffee-table already covered in empty beer bottles of all varieties and brands.
"It was alright," Christine replied coldly. "What are you watching?"
"Just some indy wresting," his eyes moved quickly between her undressing and the television screen. "Had a fun time with your friends?"
"Yeah, sure," she said absentmindedly. "I just have to rush to the bathroom real quick," she offered him a brisk smile.
What am I supposed to do? she silently asked her reflection staring back at her sternly from the stained mirror. No answer came; she washed her face vigorously, flushed the toilet to keep up the act, then walked out back into the living room.
"You stayed with your friends quite the long time, huh?" He smirked.
"Just... had a lot to talk about," she shrugged her shoulders unconvincingly and sat heavily down on the couch. "How much did you have to drink tonight?"
"I don't know," he counted the bottles with his finger, squeezing his eyes nearly shut. "Fifteen, I guess?"
"And all you did was sit here, watching wrestling?"
"I did try to write," he apologized. "But, nothing of significance would pop up, so..." he sighed, had a long sip and emptied the bottle. Quickly, he rushed to the kitchen and brought a cold one.
"Have anything going? Writing-wise?"
"Bullshit," his voice suddenly turned graver. "A couple of novels sitting there, mocking me; few short stories that are going nowhere. Only the poem isn't avoiding me like the plague, but..."
"Yes?" She insisted, when he remained silent, seemingly focused on the action on the tv.
"Nothing's really good; just a bunch of lines, some imagery. Poetry is mainly to keep it going; I can't see myself as a poet of any sort."
"I did like the few I read the other day."
"Thanks. You don't need to lie to me, you know. I'm still going to like you, even if you don't like my writing."
"I mean it," she slapped him on the shoulder. "You just need to focus."
"How can I? I'm trapped in studies I hate, in a country I despise; if it weren't for you, I'd probably have gone insane already."
"Yet, you still drink."
"It helps me maintain what sanity I've left. Do you really want me to quit? To see the madness overtake me? Trust me," he glanced at her affectionately, yet harshly too, "you don't want that!"
"I'll have to take your word for it," she lowered her gaze; once more, she was confronted by the sea of empty bottles and words belonging to the early afternoon rang inside her head like church bells at noon.
"If you want, we can watch something else," it was his time to break the silence. "I can always watch the rest of the card later."
"No, it's all right. Maybe, I'll finally be able to understand what you see in this."
"You see, the point is to create a story in the ring; the moves, the expressions, are meant to make you feel..."
"I can do without the commentary, thank you," she interrupted him, kissed him briefly on the lips, then rested her head on his shoulders. She watched, uninterested, the match, whilst her mind travelled to a small coffee shop at a small alley of the town and a fire insofar inexperienced was lit in her heart.

Dear Diary,

Why do I feel the way I do? This has to be a quick note, I'm going out soon; meeting John. George is staying at home. All day today he remained in front of the computer screen; barely even talked to me. The sound of the keyboard is driving me mad, but, at least, it seems as if he's gotten his inspiration back. He has already emptied one bottle of that cheap bourbon he gets at Lidl, and has opened a second one. I worry about leaving him; I hate having to go.
But, I need some sanity, too. It's a small apartment. There's nowhere for me to go. Yes, I could go home; SHUT UP. I feel this is my home now. I just... I need some time away, from the maddening sound of the keyboard. I sit right across him, he drinks and types. I doubt he even knows I'm right here, so close to him. So eager to kiss him, to embrace him.
Right now, he doesn't care; does he even remember me telling him I'm going out? Will he suddenly stop writing, look around, and wonder where I am? And what will he do in his drunkenness? I don't know; can't think like that. Not now.
Well, I'm off.

"You did mention you were going out, right?" George asked her, as soon as she stepped into the apartment.
"Yes, George, I sure did," she smiled; her smile vanished instantly, when she noticed him laying on the couch, an unlit cigarette on his lips, the nearly empty bottle of bourbon in his hand hanging freely in the air. "How much did you drink?" She almost screamed, when her eyes fell on the two empty bottles on the floor.
"Don't know, don't care. Guess what," he sat up, managed to remain in an upright position for a few seconds, then fell heavily back on the pillows, "shit. I wrote more than ten pages today! Managed to get back to the novel!"
"I'm so glad, honey," she approached him cautiously; his stare was blank. She couldn't even comprehend if he was following the wrestling match on the tv.
"Me too," he nodded, emptied the bottle. "Will you be a sweetheart and get me the other bottle from the kitchen?"
"Don't you think you've had enough already?"
"Oh, don't be such a..." he paused, struggled to find a word. "Something. Just..." He burped, swallowed the vomit down.
"Come on, just go to bed now," she pushed him, gently back on the couch.
"Fuck off!" He erupted, sat up, got to his feet. He stumbled about, landing head-first on the closet. Another hole appeared on the wooden door.
"Jesus!" She cried, held him up. "Thank God you're not bleeding... here, sit down. I'll get you that bottle if it's that damn important!"
"Thanks, Christine."
"Is this how your closet has gotten all these holes?"
"No... I don't always headbutt the closet when I'm drunk."
"Then?"
"Long story..." He took a sip from the newly opened bottle and sighed as he leaned back on the couch.
"Oh, come on..." she poked him, lightly, on the abdomen.
"Well, some of them are just punches; I get angry, I punch the closet. Smarter than punching the walls, right?" He smiled. "But, the first ever hole on that poor closet... that has a good story behind it."
"Well?" She persisted when he had fallen silent, his head tilted sideways, following the match.
"You wouldn't like it."
"Don't leave me hanging! This isn't your novels, cut it out with the suspense."
"It's about another girl, alright?" He shrugged her hand off his shoulder. "You wouldn't like it."
"Fine, have it your way," she whispered. "I'm going to bed. Do you mind turning down the volume?"
"Sure," he did. "Sleep tight."
"Try not to empty that bottle, okay?"

once more exiled to the couch, on my own volition.
how many bottles emptied?
gentle sobbing perturbing my dreams,
chased down by monsters while dragons evaded me through the misty forest.
woke up, all alone; like olden days, when I didn't care.
her clothes still in the closet, her shoes by the door,
I'm not alone. just, up too late and missed breakfast,
for how many days in a row?
lost count, and suddenly it doesn't matter.
the page is back, I can hear the voices,
there's a story to be told;
gentle touches on my shoulder, even when I'm all alone in the dark
when she sleeps and I type away till the sun supposedly is shining behind the grey clouds.
sometimes, I long to taste her lips once more,
it's always when she's gone; where is she going? is she so attached to her friends?
another sip; and the voices call for something stronger.
too long, I can't take it.
the only way, they tell me.
it's raining like mad outside; I still have some.
perhaps, it's time.

"I don't understand," John said and sipped on his coffee, "why you put up with this! You could do so much better!"
"Because," Christine sighed," I love him. It's that simple."
"Maybe, love isn't everything. You're practically destroying yourself. I mean... returning back to him, only to find him completely wasted, with empty bottles on the floor? And you don't mind?"
"Of course I mind! I care about his health and I know it's not good for him! That doesn't mean..." she buried her face in her palms and sobbed.
"I'm sorry, I didn't..." He approached her hesitantly, put his arm cautiously around her shoulders.
Almost in an instant, her head was on his shoulder, staining his shirt with hot tears. Yet, all he could think of was the flames burning up inside him.
"You're such a good friend, John," she then said amid her muffled tears. "It's good having someone to talk to, who isn't being too judgmental."
"I still think you should consider..."
"Don't talk about it," she pleaded with him; he reluctantly obeyed.
"Look," she wiped her eyes dry, "I haven't been with George for that long, but, I'm not going to leave him, either. I don't know, we just.... connected from the get-go, and..."
"Still, he's slowly driving you insane!" He protested. "Can't you see it?
"I don't care," she said rather coldly. "He needs me, and, I can't imagine living without him. It's that simple, actually."
"Your life, your call," he sighed heavily.
"I'm sorry," she rubbed his shoulder gently. "I was rude, I... I didn't mean it. It's just..."
"It's all right," he faintly smiled.
For a minute they remained silent, simply staring into each other's eyes. Suddenly, he leaned forth and kissed her on the lips. She didn't back away; not immediately.
"I'm sorry," she said amid sobs, as she got up hurriedly. "I've got to go, and... and this was a mistake. It won't happen again."
"Christine, wait!" He pleaded, held her hand tenderly. "I can't..."
"I like you," she stated coldly, "as a friend. Not as... we can't do this. We can't. I'm with George, and it's with him I want to stay. Okay?"
"Fine, fine, just..." his heart sunk, the merciless ocean was swallowing him fast. "Am I to see you again? Please?"
"I don't know, I..." she drew her hand, violently, away from his. "No. Not after this. We can't go back to being just friends. You do see that, right?"
"I guess," he nodded solemnly, then fell back on the chair.
"Good. Goodbye, then," she whispered, lingered on for another moment that felt like a century, then turned around and nearly ran towards the bus stop, unable to withhold her tears.

"GEORGE! PLEASE NO, GOD NO! THE PHONE THE GEORGE PLEASE DON'T PLEASE DON'T GOD WHAT TO DO THE PHONE WHERE THE FUCK IS MY FUCKING PHONE GOD GOOD 9-1-1..."
"Don't..."

the lights the colors the music it was all there for a few magical moments that I'll never get back it was all there I sat at the bar ordered a cold beer and got it for the first time I got a really cold nice beer and I lit a cigarette surrounded by other shadows the figures of those that came before me the ugly old man next to me proposed a toast welcomed me to the bar and said I could stay forever I was ecstatic I'm sure I would have pissed my pants if I could still piss and there was nothing more I ever dreamt they all wanted to talk to me they had blow junk booze it was all there and there was no reason whatsoever to say no anymore it didn't matter the BAR I was there for a few glorious seconds suddenly I wasn't vanished into thin air and I don't know if I'll ever be back was it a one time thing are they angry at me for leaving them maybe they're happy I left still more time to earn a better place to become even better in the ceiling the shadows are still there I see the bar too far away to reach but I try nonetheless I need to go back there's nothing left here everything I've ever wanted right there in front of me so close yet so motherfucking away too why can't her lips on my cheek I'm awake she's there how long has it been cold turkey god I made it somehow someway why the fuck did you let me survive it you son of a bitch you motherfucking almighty motherfucker in the sky sitting comfortably on your golden throne throwing shit at us for your own personal amusement you sycophantic sadist of a god fuck you her lips on my lips tender as ever affectionate loving the bar slowly evaporates nothing on the ceiling once more lost the dreams are gone dead lying in their shallow nameless graves getting pissed on by black turtles it's alright I guess I'm still here no tears in anybody's beer  yet only in mine but I'm used to it thank you I guess for saving me fuck you too I didn't want to be saved and no one seems to get it the shallow grave mine is still empty waiting by the sea the waves roar under the rocks and I'm going there heading towards it speeding on the highways of broken dreams taking a turn and searching for the tree only to find yet another tiny fucking road leading me to the same place only the distance grows even longer with every wrong turn every hopeful attempt to rush the end

"How are you feeling?"
"Like shit..." he coughed; abruptly, he leaned over the edge of the bed and vomited his guts out—or so it felt—on the bucket by the bed.
"Relax, honey; take a deep breath," she said, wiping the sweat from his forehead. "You're almost there. Soon, you'll be..."
"Fucking dead," he said coldly.
"Clean and fine, I was going to say."
"Same thing," he glanced at her and managed to produce a smile. "Thank you," he whispered.
She shushed him, kissed him on the cheek. "Try to get some rest, okay?"
"Aren't you going to work?"
"I got a week off. If need be, I'll take more days off. I'm not leaving you."
Her phone suddenly started vibrating; John.
"Aren't you going to answer it?"
"It's unimportant. An old friend that has been pestering me for a while."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Right now, all that matters is getting you back to shape."
"I could use," he burst into another violent cough, "something to drink."
"I hope you mean water," she handed him the plastic bottle; he had a small sip.
"Well," he then tried to add.
"I'm not hearing it. Only water for you, mister."
"Yes, ma'am," he tried to salute her, but he instantly groaned, when he tried to raise his arm.
"Stay still, and try to rest. You should go to a hospital, you know."
"No fucking way," he said amid his coughing. "I'm not going to rehab. Nor am I going to be questioned about my dealers, and all that."
"Apropos..."
"No fucking way," he said harshly and, effectively, ended the conversation.

Dear Diary,

He's getting better now; apparently, he managed to survive the acute withdrawal. Take that website that postulated that cold-turkey heroin withdrawal would be lethal. I was so terrified. I don't want to know what I would have done, had he died. I don't want to think about it.
Yet, there's no light ahead of us. Now, he's miserable. Sits all day long and watches wrestling. And drinks. He says it helps. I don't understand it. He also writes; A LOT. It's either wrestling or his writing. As if I don't exist. He only remembers me, when he lies next to me, takes me in his arms. As if that one sign of affection is going to make up for everything.
Additionally, I need to decide. I've been postponing it for weeks; I need to apply for school. I thought I could delay it another year; to prolong the inevitable. My grades aren't good enough, I'll need to move to another city. Maybe, I thought, waiting a year would make long-distance possible. But, I'm questioning myself now, is it worth it?
It pains me just to think about it. Perhaps, going away is going to save us. Give him an incentive to fix his act, come clean of all abuses. Make him fight for what we have. I'm being naive, but, I'm allowed to be, in my own damn diary. Sometimes, all I wish for is for him to hold my hand. We barely even watch movies together anymore. I feel as if I don't exist anymore; as if I'm just a ghost of his.
I read one of his poems; I'm nothing but a whispering ghost. One that is still around, granted, but, nonetheless, destined to become nothing more than an echoing voice in his drinking nights. So, maybe, I'll send my applications this year. Why delay the inevitable?

back in Greece, the land that gave birth
to Aristotle, Euripides, Aeschylus, Socrates, Aristophanes, and Menander,
as well as to all the modern idiots soiling the ground
human gods used to walk on.
the sun is shining bright, I'm clean of junk, somehow surviving the sickness;
coffee with friends, out for beers in the nights,
laughing, talking.
all the while, she's back in the country of no future,
working, waiting for a response from her university.
on an island we sit, a small balcony, we drink coffee and we make jokes,
she's away, few texts just to ask "how are you?"
I'm on vacation and can't be bothered.
someone else is here, a gorgeous woman,
apparently, half my friends have a thing for her,
yet, she seems interested in me.
I am distant, I don't care,
there's someone waiting.
she stayed, even when she found me half-dead with the needle still in my arm.
she remained, to hold my hand during the darkest of weeks.
I had to come back home, to remember the streets of childhood dreams;
she understood.
I'll soon be back, to hold her.
I'll become better; perhaps, I should quit the drink, too.
I don't need it to write, even though it helps.
by quitting, I'll keep her by my side, and it's all that matters in the end.
the warm embrace during the coldest winter nights,
someone to kiss; I should finally say "I love you", for
I've delayed it far too long. time to go out, more beers,
it's alright. everyone drinks when on vacation.

"Hey, George," she said solemnly on the phone, battling with contradictory emotions swarming her very soul.
"Hey! Are the results out?"
"Yes, they..." she swallowed down hard. "They're out."
"And?" He asked, his enthusiasm quickly diminishing.
"I'm in," she said sorrowfully. "I was accepted at Copenhagen."
"That's..." he mumbled. "That's great. You're in. You can study to be a dentist now!"
"Yeah," she smiled faintly; "but..."
"I know, we're going to be in different cities, now. Three hours away with the train; it's doable, it's..."
"No, George, it's not. And you know it."
"I..." He paused; walked down the stairs, away from the small apartment he and his friends were renting at the island of Sifnos. "Yes, I do know it. So, is this..."
"I suppose it is..." She said melancholy and sniffled her nose. "I still have the keys to your apartment; I'll go collect my stuff, then leave my key inside the electricity-reader box. Alright?"
"Do you need to hurry that much? You can come by when I'm back..."
"Universities start before you're home, George," she explained coldly. "I'll need to be at Copenhagen before you are back."
"Maybe, I could try to come earlier..."
"No," she intercepted him, "you won't. And you don't even want to. You like being back in Greece; it's where you belong."
"That's not right, that's..."
"The truth."
"So, essentially, I'll never see you again. That's it. This phone call ends, and..."
"And... yes."
"All over."
"Maybe, it's for the best. Seeing you might have convinced me to stay, to abandon my studies."
"And we can't have that."
"No, George, we can't. Not after..."
"I know. I fucked up big time, didn't I?"
"We both did."
"Right... well, I guess then... take care?"
"Yeah, I... are you having a good time?"
"I was. Until... I really thought I'd tell you all about it when I got back."
"I know, I..." She paused; breathed in deeply. "I really need to go, it's getting late. And... who knows? Maybe, we'll see each other again."
"No, we won't," he said harshly. "This is it. The final goodbye. I only wish I could kiss you one last time; when I left Aarhus, I didn't think... didn't consider..."
"Neither of us did. Maybe, it was for the best."
"You've always been the optimist."
"Someone had to be."
They both chuckled, dryly yet naturally.
"Alright, then," George said heavily. "Take care of yourself and..."
"You too. Have a nice time in Greece, and..." I'll see you when you're back, she nearly added but managed to swallow down the words.
"Goodbye, and thanks for everything," he said amid growing tears and ended the call before she could reply. He sat at the stone steps leading to the room and cried inside his palms.
"I love you," she whispered to the phone. She laid down on the bed and stared at the ceiling throughout the sleepless night; morning came, she went back to his apartment, collected her things, locked the door, hid the key at the spot they had agreed on.
She left nothing behind.

George Gad Economou

George Gad Economou

George Gad Economou, born in 1990 in Athens, Greece, has a Master's degree in Philosophy of Science, graduating from Aarhus University in 2016. Currently, he resides in Athens, doing occasional freelance work just to get by.
George Gad Economou

Latest posts by George Gad Economou (see all)

Read previous post:
Child Labour written by Arnab Kumar Roy at Spillwords.com
Child Labour

Child Labour written by: Arnab Kumar Roy @ROCKARNAB   Innocence has gone it is a fading sunset childhood disappeared

Close