All posts for the month February, 2013

Kiki Goes To Rehab

Published February 27, 2013 by Johanna

I’ve always abhorred drug addicts and alcoholics. Who honestly identifies with them? Yet, when John asked me to look for a treatment center that dealt with substance abuse issues, I opened my Internet browser and looked for a place that worked with people who were in denial just like me. Because I still believe I don’t have a problem. Despite all the stuff I said to John to sound cooperative, I don’t want to stop drinking. Drinking is fun. All I have to do is temper my drinking. A few glasses and I’m done for the night. I can do that, right? Of course I can.

And here I go, dialing a number on my phone to schedule an appointment for in two days.

“Intense Recovery Center, how may I help you?”

I read the name of the place online but actually hearing the name makes me want to hang up the phone even faster.
“Hi, I-I’d like to schedule an appointment.”
“What kind of substance abuse issue?”
“Uh… Alcohol?”

Pathetic. I hear myself speak and I hate every second of it.  Good thing John stuck around and the whole conversation is happening on speaker phone.

Making the appointment is the easy part. Going there will be a total different story.

“Will you go with me to make sure I don’t bail at the last minute?” I ask John after the torture of calling the rehab is over.

He smiles. “Is that what you want?”

I nod. “I don’t trust myself. And who’s gonna watch me when I’m home on my own?”

“You gotta take responsibility for your recovery, you know that right?”

I sigh. “Eventually.”


“You can’t be too demanding. It’s already a big step for me to admit I have a problem.”

He nods. “I agree. And it must be hard for you.”

“Very hard.”

He pats my shoulder. “You’ll be fine. I believe in you.”

I snort. “Because I needed you to pull some bullcrap like this at me you know!”

He laughs. “You clearly misunderstood me. I’m being honest.”

I don’t say anything. Usually when John is honest, he also makes fun of me, which drives me nuts.

“I swear I wasn’t making fun of you,” he adds.

I scowl. “Yes, it’s all in my head, I know. Probably another reason why I drink, right?”

He sighs. “I honestly don’t know why you drink, Kiki. But my instinct tells me you’re doing it because you wanna escape from something. Am I wrong?”

I can’t stare at him anymore. Looking away, I suppress a sniffle. “I have a million things to escape from.”

“Okay, I won’t pry.”

We sit in silence for a while. This whole conversation has become too awkward.

“Thank you for coming over,” I say. “You’re the only real friend I have left.”

“Aw Kiki, it’s my pleasure.”

“And not just because you wanna get in my pants?”

He laughs. “No. Not just because of that. It’s only ninety percent of my thoughts though.”

I cast him a confused glance.

“Kidding,” he says, “partially.”

I glare.

“Kidding again. Sorry. Can’t help it.” He laughs.

“You know, playing with my emotions is really not a good thing to do. Especially when I’m in such a fragile state of mind,” I snap and get off the couch.

John follows me. “I’m sorry. I thought it was funny. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

I take a deep breath. “Apologies accepted. I guess.”

I go to the fridge and get myself a glass of juice.

“Are you mad?” he asks.

I shrug. “Not really. I just enjoy busting your chops. I’m fine. You hurt my feelings only a lil bit.”

It’s hard to keep a serious face when making fun of John. I chuckle when I bury my face in the fridge to look for the juice.

The look on John’s face when I pour myself a glass is priceless.

“You’re worse than me, you know that?” he says.

It’s a challenge to drink my juice without choking, honestly. I finish half the glass before wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.

“I have no idea whether you take anything seriously, or if everything is just a big joke to you,” he adds.

“Really? Well I’m sorry if that’s the impression you got,” I reply. What the heck was that comment about?

John grabs his jacket he left on the couch and walks to the door. “I gotta go. I’ll check in with you in a couple of hours. Okay?”

I stare at him like he’s speaking Chinese.

“Somewhere urgent to be at?” I ask.

“Yeah. Sorry. But I’ll call you later.”

I shrug. “Alright. Nothing I can do to force you around I guess. Unless I start boozing up again.”

He glares at me.


“Okay. Later skater.” He opens the door and exits. Didn’t even hug me or anything. Rude.

“Bye!” I shout.

What the heck happened just now? Did I piss him off again with my stupid jokes? I can’t believe he got offended. Staring at my half full glass of juice, I take a deep breath. This whole rehab nightmare won’t end. As if I needed any of that bullcrap. Can I cancel this appointment?

I look for my phone. I should go to that place once and see whether they can help me. What am I thinking? A rehab can’t help me. I can stop the drinking on my own. Here to prove it, I’m going to toss all the wine I have left. Glancing at the bottles, I hesitate. It’s really good wine.

Crap. What have I become?

My phone. Where’s my phone?

My fingers tremble as I scroll through my contacts.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

The other side picks up.

“John. I’m sorry. Please I need help. I’ve been a retard until now. Will you help me?”



“Of course Kiki. You know I’m there for you.”

I sigh of relief. I almost want to cry. This emotional roller-coaster won’t stop anytime soon, will it?

“Thanks,” I blurt.

“Sure. I’m gonna jump in the subway. I’ll call you later. Be good, okay?”

“Okay. Catch you later.”


Am I really going to be okay?
To be continued…

John finds Kiki

Published February 19, 2013 by Johanna
I can feel blood pounding inside my head. My cheek presses against the cold tiles of my kitchen floor. Saliva has pooled next to my ear and my hair is dripping wet in it. What the heck just happened?

Moving my head seems impossible without cringing in pain. How did I end up on the kitchen floor? That question receives an immediate answer – the empty bottle of scotch lies right next to my leg like an animal I’ve beaten to death – although I’ve never beaten to death any animal in my life. Black Label looked much sexier alive. How did it turn so ugly so quickly?

I sit up and run my hands all over my face because I need to make sure I’m not stuck in a dream. Once I’m positive I’m awake, I slowly work my way back to my feet and stretch my legs. Okay, I need to take a few pain killers to get rid of the hangover. I grab the bottle of Aleve and drop two – no, four – ah, let’s make it six – pills in the palm of my hand. My mouth to the faucet, I swallow the pills with a lot of water.

Better. The pain should subside soon. Now where’s my phone?

I spend several minutes retracing my steps until I can’t remember how I came to the kitchen floor. The booze must have caused me to blackout. Glorious.

I look for my phone everywhere – the bed, the couch, the bathroom – the apartment isn’t that big so I’m gonna locate it eventually. There’s this noise I keep hearing – probably the annoying neighbor who decided once again to use the hallway as a playground for his toddlers – and disregard until it becomes louder the closer I get back to the kitchen. It sounds like an appliance has been switched on but the noise is muffled because it comes from behind the door of a cabinet.

My investigating leads me to the source of the vibration, and my findings take me to the fridge – underneath to be more specific – I realize my phone is stuck there. Did I play air hockey with it last night and had the brilliant idea to slide it all the way against the wall?

I stick my hand in the open space but quickly realize my arm is too thick. I need a tool to drag the phone back to me. Like a stick or something. Um. I got disposable chop sticks in the drawer.

One stick is too short, but two taped end to end would work. Let’s try. I move my rudimentary invention from left to right and the phone slightly moves forward. Ah! I apply myself to operate very meticulously but my heart is beating so hard out of excitement, it’s going to jump out of my chest. Come on phone! The progress is measured in tenth of inches but is obvious self-achievement nonetheless.

A little more effort and victory will be mine at last.

The amazing journey of my phone under the fridge however comes to an abrupt halt when one chopstick detaches itself because the tape couldn’t hold it for so long. Crap! Not only do I have to drag the chopstick that went rogue back to safe harbor, but I must calculate my moves with scientific precision because let’s be honest, a loose and skinny chopstick is harder to get than a bulky outdated phone.

After a few minutes of lying in a rather uncomfortable position on the cold tiles of my kitchen floor, one side of my upper body starts cramping up. Exactly what I needed. Loud angry grunt.

Alright. Deep breath. You can do this. Focus. First the stick. Second the phone. And third, cover the entire bottom of the fridge with cardboard and duct tape so that you don’t repeat this awful experiment again.

I don’t know how long it takes to get the stick and then to finally pull the phone all the way to home base, but when I feel the edges of my favorite device between my fingers, I can’t stop mumbling “Thank you Lord” over and over again. As if baby Jesus really had anything to do with my demise in the first place. Desperation makes you say the stupidest things.

Alright, so how many missed calls do I have? 35. All from John. And he left me ten voice mails. Amazing.

Listening to the ten messages isn’t exactly what I would describe a lovely pastime, especially when the first message starts worried, the fifth expresses utmost anger, the seventh evidences resignation and the tenth ends worried again.

Aw, John.

I call him back.

“Kiki what the heck!” John shouts on the other end. “I thought you were dead. What were you thinking?”

“Hey, well I wasn’t exactly thinking if you wanna hear the truth.” I exhale deeply.

“Gosh, why did it take you so long to pick up? I was worried sick!”” he continues yelling.

“Well, my phone was stuck under the fridge.”

“What?” He cuts me off. ” Nevermind. Dude you’re gonna stop this bullshit, right?”




“You don’t sound convinced. I’m coming now.” He sounds super pissed.


“Now Kiki.”


I’ve never experienced John pissed before. At first I’m guessing it’s understandable for him to react this way. I listened to all his voicemails after all. But he should be happy I’m actually alive since I’m returning his calls.

Gee. He’s coming over and the apartment is a pigsty. No time for a deep cleaning. I’m going to throw that empty bottle of Black Label at least. Evidence of the crime down the chute. I’ll just say I had a few glasses – which is partially true given some liquor ended down the drain of my kitchen sink.

I should also shower and brush my teeth. Be presentable. Looks are everything. Or are they?

No time to be Shakespearean about it. I pull the vacuum cleaner from the closet and begin my dusting expedition. Twenty minutes – that’s all it takes to clean the apartment.

If I may make a comment, house chores are so boring sober. I think I have some wine left over somewhere.

One glass will do the trick. No, two. Heck, let’s make it three. Checking the time, I realize I still haven’t showered. I chug one fourth glass and lock myself in the bathroom. John lives in Brooklyn – it will take him about an hour to get to my apartment. Therefore, I got plenty of time. Hehe.

All pampered and ready after only fifteen minutes, I still have the leisure to sit on my couch and finish this bottle I opened.

The intercom wakes me up. I don’t even bother asking who it is and buzz them in.

Five minutes later, the door bell rings.

“Hi John!” I say with my most radiant smile.

He looks at me with a stern expression. “Don’t “Hi John” me. You effed up Missy, big time!”

I roll my eyes. “Come on. I was just having a little fun. You can’t hold this against me. You have fun all the time!”

He stands still, his fists balled inside his jean pockets, staring at me like I just confessed killing someone.

“May I come in?” he asks without the hint of a smile.

I move aside to let him in. “Sure.”

He stalls in the middle of the living room, staring at the bottle of wine standing proudly on the coffee table.

“You’re drunk!” he screams and I start giggling like a dumbass.

“John seriously, I told you, I was just having fun…” I say with a big smile.

He moves very close to my face and smells my breath. “You need help. I’m dead serious.”

I want to step away but he holds me by the waist – a kind gesture I would have gladly welcomed had he not started his fatherly rant – and firmly maintains his grip.

“You gotta listen to me, Kiki. I swear if you don’t do anything about this drinking of yours, you’re gonna end up in the hospital. Is that what you want?”

I stare into his blue eyes and feel like losing my shit completely. What the heck is he talking about? I’m fine. I don’t have a drinking problem.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He rolls his eyes. “Oh you’re gonna pull the denial card on me, really?”

I shrug. “What do you want me to tell you?”

He releases his grip and I step back.

“You know what, it was a bad idea for me to come. You’re not ready to make amends. You’re not ready to get your shit together and I can’t do this for you. So you want me to give up?”

I sigh. “You’re being overly dramatic right now. It’s not that bad.”

“How much did you drink? Honestly?”

I rolled my eyes. “I had scotch.”

“Did you go to the store and buy a new bottle?”

I nodded.

“And how much did you drink from that bottle?”

“I’m not sure. Probably three quarters of it. I can’t remember. I blacked out.”

He doesn’t say anything besides “Oh.”

“Yeah,” I reply.

He takes a deep breath. “Alright.”

“Now you’re speechless?” I cast him a reproachful glance.

“I’m thinking. I don’t wanna say something stupid, that’s all.”


I go sit on the couch and grab my head between my hands. “You’re really a fun killer, you know that?” I add.

He comes sit next to me. “I’m sorry, Kiki.”

I sigh. “Yeah, me too.”

“You realize you’re gonna have to cut down this crap, right?”

“Yeah. I eventually do.”

“No eventually Kiki. It’s gonna happen now. You can’t keep drinking like that.”

I laugh. “Says the college student who made it a career to drink and party all the time.”

“I’m serious.”

I glare at him. “Yeah, me too.”

He throws his hands in the air in surrender. “As you wish. But I won’t give up on you. Remember that. I just want to help.”

I sigh deeply again. “Do you really think I have a problem? Be honest.”

He stares at me. “I’m no doctor, Kiki. But I don’t think the way you boozed up at work and then by yourself at home is very healthy. Plus you say you blacked out. I’m worried, that’s all.”

I lose myself into his big blue eyes, still feeling drunk from the wine. What does he want me to say? “You’re right, John, I’m a filthy alcoholic.” Gosh, the word alcoholic sounds so bad. I’d rather say I have cancer. At least when you’re dying of the big C, people feel sorry for you.

I sigh. I don’t know what else to think about. I need a vacation, I guess. Far away from this place. Far away from all the memories I gathered while in a drunken haze. There’s nothing worse than regret.

“Okay,” I say.

“Okay what?” John asks.

“I’ll get help.”

He smiles and gives me a hug. “Attagirl.”

To be continued…

Kiki has recovery issues

Published February 7, 2013 by Johanna
Not drinking is hard. Especially when I have to deal with my ex-husband because the divorce is still ongoing. The bastard knows how to push my buttons. He always has. Naturally, I’m going to take the blame for everything that went wrong in the relationship. It’s easier to be the bad guy. I can’t go further down than that, right? Low self-esteem, no pride in what I’ve achieved, only the guilt of causing hurt and feeling like I’m a loser 24/7. I never thought I’d forget what it feels like to be happy for once in my life. Since he and I parted ways, I’ve only endured my newly found single status, and survived every day like it was my last. I don’t care about having a purpose anymore. I only want to end it so the pain goes away for good.

Woah. I would finish a bottle before thinking that way about my life. Am I really a loser? I never felt like one until today. My ex used to tell me how bad I was, how I couldn’t behave properly and how out of control my emotions were all the time. I must have gone through too much shit to admit I needed help. I thought I could do it all on my own. I’m strong enough.

Yeah right. Self-medicating with booze has never been a solution. Maybe I should take a week off and focus on my priorities in life. John only saw the tip of the iceberg. Drinking at work was one of many episodes that proves how truly insane I have become. What else is there for me if my first goal is to destroy myself and everything else I’ve achieved until now?

Death. Gosh. Do I really want to die? Right now, I’m not sure. Who am I? I haven’t thought about death since I was eleven. Why did I even think about dying at such a young age?

I’m crazy. I’m depressed. I’m numb. Fuck.

The bottle of Black Label is staring at me on the coffee table, inviting me for a sip that will quickly turn into a few glasses. I know it. It’s inevitable. I never drink because I enjoy the alcohol. I drink because I want to escape. Every day feels like a torture. Going to work, being nice to strangers who don’t give a damn about me, feeling left out of any social activity simply because all I want to do is drink myself into a stupor.

I hate to say it but I do need help. I’ve lost control. I hate everything. I hate myself. I grab the bottle of Black Label I just bought at the liquor store and throw it in the trash. What was I thinking? Alcohol has never been the solution.

Or has it? More than once I found comfort in a glass of scotch. I’m tired. Drinking has turned into an activity that’s harder than staying sober at this point.

Shoot me.

I need help. Although all I want to do now is drown my sorrow into a glass of hard liquor. The obsession is so strong, it’s really tough to think of something else. Make it go away! Should I step outside and go for a walk? It’s too cold and dark. Should I call someone? I got no one on my contact list to really talk to besides John, and he’s heard enough. Should I pray? I’ve never been much of a religious person. I don’t even believe in God. I have been forsaken a long time ago. No one will save me. No one will hold my hand. I’m doomed.

I run to the trash and pull the bottle of Black Label. Just one sip. The amber liquid is shining like gold and I prepare myself to unscrew the cap. Just one little sip. I promise I’ll stop after one gulp.

The scotch smells so good. No way I was going to throw away such magic down the chute once again. It was right to stop by the liquor store on my way home.

My lips meet the bottle and I close my eyes. This drink is for Kitty. For John. For me. The familiar taste hits my tongue and I feel home, in my safe harbor. No one can get to me now. No one can tell me what to do. I’m all alone with my disease. I’m all alone with my pain.

My mind drifts and I stop breathing. I think I’ve reached the end. No. I toss the bottle into the kitchen sink and the amber liquid pours out like a torrent after a heavy rain. I start crying uncontrollably. What am I doing to myself? Staring at the bottle, I watch its content emptying in the sink, and my heart breaks inside my chest. Why am I wasting such expensive liquor?

I grab the half-full bottle and take a nice long swig at it. The liquor warms my mouth, and my throat, my esophagus and my stomach. I love the warmth. The alcohol makes me feel loved. The alcohol makes me feel whole again. The comforting numbness invades my mind, and my thoughts drown into a welcoming fog. I laugh. I cry. I laugh again. I taste the salt of my tears and wash them away with Black Label. Gosh, now I’m angry to have wasted so much goodness down the sink! What was I thinking!

I slowly move toward the living room, the bottle clutched in my hand like it’s the holy grail, and I start dancing even if there’s no music. My female Kitty is watching me from the couch, and I envy how comfortable she must feel right now so I sit next to her to pet her. She purrs. I smile. This cat makes me happy. The Black Label makes me happier. I can’t stop laughing. I’m drunk.

Maybe I should call John. I miss him. Standing up appears to be an effort, as I trip on the carpet and falls to the ground. I don’t feel any pain though.

I laugh some more. Excited to talk to John, I crawl my way up to the kitchen counter where I remember leaving my phone.

Woah, the screen is so blurry and I must concentrate to find his number. A minute passes before I recognize his name.

My finger pressed on his number, I wait for a dial tone.

I giggle just at the thought of speaking with him. I’m being such a dork.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Hi, I’m not available to take your call right now, so please leave a message.”


“Hey private, I wanted to talk to you, not your stupid voicemail. Anyway, life is weird you know. I am not sure what really needs to be done to help me out, because my friend Black Label seems to be doing the trick. I just wanna speak with a human being. I’m so lonely…”

“We’re sorry but the recipient’s mailbox is now full. If you wish to send your message, please press 2. If you wish to rerecord your message, press 3. If you want to leave a call back number, press 5.”

What the heck, I wasn’t done! I hate when that stuff happens. I think I press 2 but at this point I don’t care about talking to John anymore. I grab the bottle and finish all the scotch before passing out on my kitchen floor.

To be continued…

Kiki’s Kitty Dies

Published February 5, 2013 by Johanna
I love animals. Love isn’t even the word to describe how they make me feel. I’m proud to admit I’m more comfortable around my cats than around humans. At least, my kitties don’t bullshit me. They show me unconditional love, and never question my authority.

I adopted two cats, a male and a female, about two years ago. I’m a big advocate of rescue pets and these two babies were no exception. I must say I fell in love with them as soon as I made first contact with them. Having cats around has a soothing and therapeutic effect on me. I remember walking to the shelter near my house after an all night bender, and checking the cats that slept behind that big window. My heart melted instantly and an hour later I left with two cats, one who had been diagnosed with diabetes and supposedly was in remission, and the other had asthma issues.

Don’t ask me why I rescued two kitties with precarious health. I believed I’d be the best thing that could ever happen to them since no one felt inclined to save them from their misery at the shelter. I’m convinced I give them all the love they deserved.

Unfortunately, all the love in the world doesn’t cure severe diabetes and kidney failure.

I bring Kitty boy to the vet this morning. The poor thing hasn’t been eating for the past few days, and is not behaving as usual, which worries me. A simple Google search informed me about the danger of diabetes the day before so it’s not a surprise to hear from the vet my Kitty’s diabetes went through the roof. I didn’t expect the kidney failure though.

The look on the vet’s face says it all.

“I’ll give you a moment to digest the news,” she says and leaves the room.

My cat is curled up in a ball under my chair, unwilling to sniff my fingers, or purr. It’s like he doesn’t recognize me anymore. I know he feels like shit. I would too if I were him.

After five minutes stuck in this tiny room full of equipment, the vet comes back.

“So here’s the deal,” she says, “Kitty is so sick, we need to hospitalize him for several days. Rehydrate him, give him insulin, check his kidneys. The total amounts to about $4,000.”

My jaw drops. I don’t have four grand to spend on my sick cat. Given there’s no insurance for pets, I have to come up with the funds on my own. No way. I love this kitty to death, but I simply can’t afford it.

“Wow that’s a lot,” I say.

“You know, I myself wouldn’t be able to come up with such money. So I perfectly understand the situation you’re in. Listen, don’t feel bad. Kitty is very sick. We can take care of him here as long as you relinquish ownership over him.”

I nod. I can feel tears coming. This sucks. First John, then Kitty, who’s next? Gosh, I hate my life right now.

The vet leaves the room, and another woman soon comes in with a set of papers to fill out. Kitty hasn’t moved from his spot under my chair. I withhold my tears and absentmindedly fill out the forms I’ve been given. Make it quick, I keep thinking.

Five more minutes pass. The same woman with the forms comes back. I hand her the paperwork and she disappears.

The vet follows and her assistant grabs Kitty from under the chair. I take one last look at my baby.

“I’m sorry this is happening to you,” the vet says, “But you made the right decision.”

“I feel like an asshole,” I reply.

“Don’t. Some people simply don’t know when to say goodbye. Kitty is very sick.”

I nod. I don’t care how sick he is right now, I want the pain throbbing in my heart to stop. Will it ever stop? I usually drink when I feel sad. Will I drink today?

I honestly have no idea.

The vet kindly escorts me out of the room. My empty carrier tucked under my arm, I head toward the elevators.

“Have a good one,” the vet says.

“Thanks,” I blurt.

Tears are coming now. The elevator doors open and I enter. Browsing through the content of my purse, I look for my sunglasses. No way I’m gonna cry in front of everyone.

I dash out of the hospital and as soon as I walk on the street, tears flow. Nothing I can do to stop the pain. With a shaky hand, I reach for my phone and dial my mom’s number.

“Honey, is everything okay?” she asks when picking up.

I can’t speak. The uncontrollable crying has taken hold of me and words don’t come out.

“What’s going on?” Mom asks. “Honey, talk to me. Honey?”

“I – I took Kitty to the hospital. He was very sick.”

“Honey, I’m so sorry.”

“They couldn’t save him, mom. They couldn’t save him!”

I choke on my tears. The pain is unbearable. Please, someone, make it stop. I don’t need a dead cat on my conscience on my second day of sobriety.

“You should go home and rest, honey. Did you take the day off from work?”

“I will email work now.”

“Are you gonna be okay?”

I don’t know. It’s too early to ask.

“I’ll call you later, mom. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

Shoving my phone in my coat pocket, I sniffle a few times. Kitty was so sweet and the apartment is going to feel so empty without him. I wonder how his sister will behave on her own. As I know her, she’ll probably be happy to have the entire place to herself. She’s selfish like that.

Back home, I drop my coat and kick off my boots before entering the bedroom. I lie on top of the bed, and close my eyes. Surely enough, Kitty girl jumps and curls up to my side. Her purring relaxes me. I pet her and she purrs some more.

“It’s you and me now,” I whisper to her.

She purrs louder as I say that, and tucks her head right next to mine, as if she knew exactly how I feel and wants me to cheer up because she’s there for me.

We stay in that position for a while until I drift to sleep. My little girl means everything to me. I’ve always been looking for such love in my relationships, and unfortunately never found it. Maybe I should marry a cat.

To be continued…

Kiki gets a phone call

Published February 1, 2013 by Johanna

Still pissed, I slam the door of my apartment behind me. I gotta take my mind off this stupid encounter I just had with Kim. The bitch won’t ruin my entire evening. I won’t allow it.

I’m gonna light up a few candles. I know I boxed them last time I decided I needed to move out of my apartment because of Kim. Obviously things didn’t work out and I stayed put because the rent is so cheap. I never unpacked the stuff I put in boxes though. One day I’ll move. Today I want a candle. I could always run to the one-dollar store and buy a few.

Do I really want to go outside as I just came home from work? Ugh. I guess since I can’t drink I better find something to do. Here we go. Let’s find the motivation.

Okay. I’m gonna make this quick because it’s freezing. The guy at the one-dollar store greets me with a smile that makes me dash behind a shelf of cleaning products. Where are the freaking candles?

Baby products. No. Soaps and shampoo. No. Party favors. No. I’m gonna have to go through the entire store to get candles. Jesus.

“Can I help you, miss?”

The clerk is standing behind me, still smiling like a fool. Lord.

I shake my head in surrender. “I need candles.”

He coos as I say the word candle. “Romantic! Candles are in aisle 3 miss.”

“Right. And aisle 3 is?”

“I show you. Follow me.”

I obey although I sincerely hope he’s not leading me to some hidden back room. He drags his feet when he walks, which annoys me beyond belief but I try to ignore. After a few turns, he finally stops and points at the shelves.

“Candles, miss. Any color, any flavor you want.”

I don’t look at him because I can’t handle the way he’s staring at me.


The guy doesn’t move.

“I’ll take it from here,” I add.

“Okay miss. You know where to find me if you need anything.”

Just as I’m about to say something really mean, I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket. John?

“What’s up?” I ask, turning my back completely at the clerk, and eye-browsing the candles.

“Are you surprised to hear from me?”

I can picture him smirking as he says that. The kind of facetious expression he always has when he is acting all proud and therefore irresistibly cute. My mood is uplifted in an instant.

“Yeah a bit,” I answer.

“I was checking on you. See how you were doing.”

I sigh. Do I want to talk to him about Kim, and how pissed she made me? All I think about is a bottle of scotch. If I was drunk, I could shut my feelings down and forget about her all together. The option has been canceled as soon as I stepped inside the one-dollar store though.

Deep breath. “I’m alright. You know, given the circumstances.”

“Good, good, I’m glad to hear.”

Awkward silence.

“Okay yeah, so I’ll see you on Monday, right?” I ask.

“About that…”

I have a weird gut feeling about what he’s gonna say next.

“About what?”

“No, no, I’ll be there on Monday. But um, I found another job. So I’ll also give you my two week notice.”

My jaw drops. “John! No way.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You waited for the day I decide to get sober to let me know you won’t be there for me at work?”

“I’ll be there for you outside of work. As a friend.”

I huff. “Yeah, this way you can really get in my pants.”

He laughs. “Possibly.”

I smile. “What kind of job?”

“I found this great spot at a non-profit downtown. Public relations. The pay’s miserable but the hours are much better.”


“You’re sad?” he asks.

“I’m happy for you but of course I’m sad to see you go. Who am I gonna vent my problems to?”

“Ishmael seems pretty available as far as I can tell…”

I cut him off. “Yeah, right! In your dreams!”

“My dreams have a total different picture actually.”

“Right. Don’t even think you can smooth talk your way out of this.”

He laughs again. “Fine. I surrender. What else is there to say? You got me whipped.”

If only… I sigh.

“So what are you doing now?” he asks.

“I’m at the one-dollar store buying candles.”

“Whoo candles look at you! Who’s coming for dinner?”

“Buddy, it’s a me on me tonight. Since I got no booze to drink, I’m gonna light some candles because I’ve reached the bottom of the pathetic barrel.”

“Come on now. Candles are great. And congrats on getting rid of the booze. Wait… I thought I’d buy your bottles for half price.”

I scratch my head. “Yeah, well I changed my mind. I just tossed them all. I couldn’t live with them in the apartment. Sorry.”

“No, no, don’t apologize. I understand. I’m proud of you. So you’re off the wagon for a while, huh?”

I laugh. “Yeah, right now, it’s one day at a time. So a while is relative.”

“Still, it takes guts to give up drinking. I’m all for it. You go girl!”

Good thing we’re talking on the phone because I’m blushing big time right now.

“Thanks private. Thanks. Coming from you, this means a lot.”

“Of course. Okay, I gotta bounce but I’ll catch you later?”

“Sure. Bye.”

“Take care.”

I don’t even take two seconds to digest the awesome conversation I just had with John, I can feel the store clerk breathing down my neck.

“What?” I ask with a frustrated tone.

He smiles at me like he’s come face to face with Jesus or something.

“Found the candles you like?”

I huff. “You know what, I give up. Just grab whatever flavor you like and I’m outta here.” I hand him a five dollar bill. The guy is clearly too stunned to react.

“Chop, chop come on!”

He finally gets moving and grabs candles before taking them to the register and putting them in a plastic bag.

“Have a good night, miss.”


My candles ready, I dash out of the one-dollar store faster than the wind. I have no idea what scent he picked, but I just pray he didn’t sell me pine because I seriously hate pine.

While in the elevator to my apartment, I check to make sure: vanilla, apple, cinnamon, raspberry and lavender. Wow, the guy didn’t suck. I’m impressed.

Time for a solo candle party people! What will come next? Knitting a sweater?


To be continued…