drunk mother

what I hate is how it emboldens her.

i hate the weakness revealed as, drink by drink, she moves towards the entitled self. entitled to feel her pain is the only pain. entitled to be dumb, to act dumb, to say dumb things, but still be enraged when someone treats her as though she is dumb.

i watch you become petty, vindictive, clutching at each little agony, rooting through the past for every insult like a pig for truffles. each wound is polished, put on display in an elaborate display down the hall that leads to having one more martini.

i have seen you move from engaged to solidly within your walls: you suggest Z watch a movie with N and I say no, I’d rather them not. a drink later you suggest it again and again I lay out my reasons: he’s two and a half, he doesn’t need to watch any more television, i’d rather him be with me than his uncle this afternoon. by the third drink you are convinced that the matter is settled. your eyes bloodshot, glazed, you stare at me dim and confused as I repeat that I had said no from the beginning.

there’s an exact moment for me: just after M is born, T is with us in your house and you have been out driving for two days. I come in to your room to check on you, to see where we are, because we haven’t fought but there is this tension lying over every interaction. You’re sitting in a role chair at your desk, and as you rotate it toward me I see your glazed eyes like layers of bloodshot laminate. there is no possibility of understanding because the soul behind those window has fled and gone to sleep somewhere untouchable. you speak in the monotone of drunk: you are working on your book.

I don’t know why this memory frightens me more than any other. I don’t know why I see your frozen face again and again like a horror movie where loved ones are stolen away into catatonia.

perhaps it is simply the mirror effect: i have spent so much of my life hiding in alcohol. i know it is like a room in the back of the head that you can flee into. and the world, if not better, is at least so far away. i’ve lived years in that margin, running back to it, again and again. i understand its safety.

i know the joy of the lie: you can believe anything in that room. i remember the laughing tumult of trying to convince a friend i hadn’t seen since high school to have sex with me in the park. we’ll go right now, let’s go. and he kept telling me, i’m gay, you know i’m gay. i know, i kept saying. let’s go. i wanted badly to fuck that past away, he and the friends from then and everything they represented, i wanted to orgasm it into oblivion. and in the room, the room you’re falling into, you can believe that’s possible. even with a gay man.


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