Better Days

"He what?"
"He put a gun to his head and blew his brains out."
"I hated him. He was so mean, all the time."
"He was a dirty, violent person who died a dirty, violent death.
He had two kids and everything - I think his wife was a stripper."
"He wanted to marry a stripper - remember when he was with that girl and she had a melt-down and threw a chair through his screen door and he beat the shit out of her the next morning?"
"Yeah. I do remember that. She was like, 19 or something.
Remember how at the time, it didn't phase either of us? It seemed kind of normal?"

"They found her out, kind of on the side of the bar."
"Mel kicked her out?"
"Yeah, he's Jenna's uncle - he owns the bar. You've totally met him, I know you have. Chris got kicked out of there permanently, too, so I guess anybody can get kicked out, regardless of who you know."
"The little guy who looked like Merle Haggard. BIG coke problem."
"Oh yeah - he lived with Sean, over on ummmm... Glenwood, right? Okay, yeah.
Anyway, she pulled out a thing of cough syrup while she was sitting at the bar and she was already incoherent. She took a huge hit of cough syrup and fell off of the bar stool, so Mel walked her out of there. When the bar closed, they found her passed out in the snow - she had a box cutter in one hand and a bottle of Gordon's with her."
"Like, holding onto it?"
"No, I guess it fell out of her bag when she passed out."
"She's a nurse now, right? Did you tell me that?"
"Yeah... she's a nurse."
Remember that night she got so wasted, she was grabbing Elvis Himselvis' package and even creeping him out?"

"She's been shooting up ten times a day and she got caught."
“I don’t even know where to….
Did anybody know?”
“No one.”
“I don’t think I ever understood how crucial it was to get out of there and never look back.”

“Well, you’ve looked back a lot, Hypocrite, and for the ninteenth time, I hope you are done with that shit and that you finally get that it’s a dangerous, suffocating place where nobody is happy and if they are happy, they drink a lot.
I saw these girls while I was there, and they reminded me so much of you and me about 7 or 8 years ago. They had clearly been out the night before and they came in and ordered a pitcher and two horseshoes. Now, I hate God but I prayed for them, just a little; you know… that they find something different, somewhere different to go before the spend the next 20 years doing the same thing over and over and talking about the same people over-dosing on the same drugs;
before they get pregnant or married and never go do something truly on their own;
before they move in with Jefferson or Steve and before they lose interest in actually experiencing something besides finding out who Justin slept with last night.
I prayed for them and you know I don’t do that.”

“What do you think was different about us? What made us call the police that night on Nonnie?”
I don’t know Sarah. I don’t know. I think we’re both kind of late-bloomers and I think we got lucky to not be blooming back then. Nobody too bad paid any attention to us.”
“Jim Cusack?”
“Honey he treated you like you were his very important little sister until you were a senior in college.”
“Huh. He died a surprisingly natural death, too.”
"Cancer, right?"
"Yeah. He was young, though... he had a kid and I think he named her Sarah. But I could be wrong on that.
Anyway. How did we clear all that mess in Springfield? We not THAT much smarter than everyone and our families aren't THAT great."

“We slipped in under the radar and by the time anyone did pay attention, we were smart enough to draw decent lines on hard drugs and on whom we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with.”

And I cried and cried yesterday.
I cried for how lucky I am, even in my shit-hole apartment and with my under-paid job. I cried for how shitty my mom could be while I was growing up but how, ultimately, even though I can be a quivering mass of insecurity and self-hatred, there’s something I got at home that I don’t think the other kids got.

I cried because someone I like a lot probably can’t relax into hanging with me for a little while, maybe longer.

I cried because I had to come to work today and I'm exhausted by work right now.

I cried because I’m about to get older.

I cried because I believed in her.

On my hands and knees, I scrubbed my floors and sobbed through my own, personal penance - working off the sin of EVER allowing myself to think that I am weak or pathetic or less-anything than you.

I cried because I HATED it there and now I’ve gotten out and it’s awful some days, it's awful to be so far away from where I was grown but for as horribly isolated and scared I have been sometimes over the last few years...
It’s better than it would ever, ever, ever have been there.

arizonasarah at 7:57 a.m.

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