by Flawed Jade
Rob tries to handle the rest of the night alone.
The Way We Hurt - Ch. 2
Shoes at the door.
Jacket on the couch.
Keys on the counter.
Then… head in the toilet.
Rob felt something at the pit of his stomach heave, and braced himself for the upcoming upchuck. After a few moments nothing came and he exhaled unsteadily.
One beer too many? Or eight too many? Eric always did have a higher tolerance for alcohol than him.
A continual ringing in his ear, the aftermath of the thundering club music, only further disoriented him. He folded his arms over the toilet seat and rested his still buzzed head on them. And he felt… strangely comfortable like that. He hadn’t bothered to turn on the bathroom light, and the only muted brightness came from the lamp in the living room. The pale light pooled at the tiles by his feet, and he found himself staring at it, trying to use that softness to wash away the blinding, flashing club lights from his mind.
Oh yeah, he’ll definitely feel this one in the morning. He groaned into the croak of his elbow, feeling his tipsiness mix with self-pity— one, alcohol-induced, the other, alcohol-enhanced.
“Dammit…” he hissed, suddenly taking notice of the bathroom scene. A coppery outline of rust and lime trailed along the wall from the sink pipes to the dingy floor tiles. It’s about time to do some home cleaning again. That’s the one good thing about getting hammered then puking in the bathroom. It’s the only thing that reminds him of when it’s time to clean the apartment. Not that it’s a big apartment; Rob has seen bigger closets. But the crowded island of Hong Kong is infamous for high living costs for every square inch, no matter how few square inches he took up. Eric complained a lot about the cost of rent the last time they were in Hong Kong.
He tried to comfort himself with the fact that he had successfully garnered the phone numbers of three cute girls; two home numbers and one cell. Even Eric would have been envious.
Rob buried his head into his arms as the ringing in his ears roared up again, louder and more urgent than before. Finally it occurs to him that it was the phone that was ringing.
He tried to scramble off the bathroom floor, but lost his footing on the slick tiles. “Shit…” After more stumbling and fumbling, he gave up and stayed sprawled on the floor, body bridging a way between the bathroom and the living room.
Four rings. Five rings. Six. Eric used to go crazy if no one answered the phone within the first three rings.
The answering machine picked up the call after a shrill beep. “Guess you’re still throwing up in the bathroom.” Rob rolled his eyes at Lei Lei’s voice, and laid his head back down on the flooring, the wood surface cool against his cheek. He noted that the living room, floor being as dusty as it was, could use cleaning just as much as the bathroom.
“Hey call me if you need anything. I’ll be home tonight.”
Odd. Lei Lei made it a habit of spending Saturday nights at her boyfriend-of-the-week’s place. Rob wondered briefly why his friend opted for a no-nookie weekend.
By the time the message ended, he was still lying on the floor, and by now feeling a familiar emotional heaviness settle on him, with a deepness and hollowness spreading through his body again.
Pain. An entrenched pain. A relapse.
Unable to forget what he wants to forget—what he lost the last time he was in Hong Kong. Unable to remember all he wanted to remember—all the minute details about Eric. More of those memories were slipping through his fingers with every passing day. He can’t move forward. He can’t travel back. Stuck. Just fucking stuck in an unimaginably painful limbo.
Therapy had been hell. Shit, therapy had been useless.
In the end, all they could give him for the relapses was a small plastic bottle with forty little pink pills.
Pink. So that it could at least look happy, Rob had guessed, ‘cause it sure as hell didn’t help make him feel happy. At best, the pills loosened the hopeless feeling around his throat, and let him ride out the relapse without taking a razor to his wrist, or worse yet, reach for his police gun.
The pills can’t help him tonight. They don’t mix well with alcohol.
Rob sighed a deep and wretched breath, feeling the pressure of the floor against his expanding and contracting chest. He’s on his own for tonight.