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as promised

ok....so im posting my next chapter....those of you still with me, enjoy.......

Saturday, July 2 2005

‘Sweet home Alabama’ is playing as I enter the small diner. It seems a bit ironic, because being home right now is anything but sweet, and Chautauqua County sure as hell aint Alabama. I’m still holding the Starbucks cup, which now contains mom’s coffee, as my cappuccino is long gone. There’s something about the white cup with the green emblem and the brown sleeve that I find comforting. Maybe its because it reminds me of the trip with dad, maybe because in all this craziness, Starbucks provides a hint of normalcy; the walk that Jen and I take each morning at work, the place I go when I need to make it through the day…make it through the day, that’s what I need to do, I remember as I begin to scan the restaurant for Kara.
I spot her near the back at a small, two-person table. She hasn’t noticed my arrival yet, so I pause for a moment to take her in. She looks way too perky for a Saturday morning, kind of like Barbie on a caffeine overdose, but with red hair. The more I think about it, the more I realize I don’t want to talk to her. Not now, not ever. It’s almost as if she can sense this, because she chooses this moment to turn around.
“Alex! Good Morning!” Yep, I was right, highly over caffeinated Barbie.
“Hi Kara, how are you this fine morning?”
“Better than you I’d imagine.”
“Is it that obvious?” I question, although, I’m sure between the jet lag and being up all night, I look quite the mess.
“It would be if you weren’t hiding behind that Starbucks glow”, she tells me, “wait where did you get the Starbucks from? Not here, God knows I’ve been waiting for this town to open one.”
So she likes Starbucks too. Maybe this won’t be as unbearable as I originally thought. I decide to go out on a limb, “So what’s your favorite drink?”
“Latte, vanilla. Gingerbread if it’s Christmas.” She answers.
“Really? Mine too…although the Strawberries and Crème Frappe is an awesome summer choice.”
“Oh my God! I love them too, although I’m a bigger fan of vanilla.”
I set my coffee down in front of the empty chair, “It’s full of mom’s coffee now”, I tell her, “and I finished the cappuccino around 6:30 this morning. Ahhh Cappuccino, God’s gift to people, and the proof that he knows we go without sleep.”
“Wait”, she says, “you didn’t sleep? Like at all.”
“Like at all.” I tell her dryly as I sit down across the table. “So, we know how my night went. How was yours? Lemme guess…you went home from work to your loving boyfriend, cooked a 3 course meal, watched a movie and went to sleep in separate bedrooms?”
Kara gives me this look, as if she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. After a few seconds of thought, she figures out that sarcasm is my second language. “Actually my dear, you’re not too far off. I went to Keith’s after work, we had dinner and a few drinks, and…” her voice fades to nothing as her facial expression, earlier full of life, turns gray.
“And…” I ask.
“Nothing. Nothing nearly as interesting as a midnight Starbucks run.” She answers. “So, Alex, what are you thinking?”
And just like that, the professional, impersonal Kara I met yesterday has returned. I take a deep breath, pondering how to answer her question. Part of me wants to yell at her and tell her it’s none of her business. Yet I know that while this isn’t her fault, it is very much her business. And at that moment, God smiled at me, and the waitress wandered over to the table, “Can I get you anything?”
“Ummm….no, thanks.” I feel bad, sitting in a restaurant with a Starbucks cup and not ordering anything, but I guess it’s better than ordering food I won’t eat or juice I don’t care to drink. I wait while she takes Kara’s order for juice and a bagel. As soon as she’s done ordering, Kara turns her attention back to me.
“I know this is probably your least favorite thing to talk about…”
“It’s ok. It’s not your fault. And as much as I don’t want to, I need to talk through this.”
“So, what do you want to do?”
“Crawl into a hole and hibernate? I know, I know, that’s not an answer. The small part of my brain that is still able to think rationally thinks that getting tested would be a good thing. Then a rational decision can be made.”
“Ok, and what does Alex think? Rather than the rational part of her brain that she’s allowing to do all the thinking.”
“Honestly, I think I’ll be able to make a better decision once I have all the information in front of me. And I sleep a little. Rash decisions shouldn’t be made on zero sleep.”
“Good call. You know, for all that you’re going through, you’ve managed to keep it together, at least on the outside. I can’t say that I know what you’re going through, but what I can say is that I admire the strength and courage you’ve shown this far.”
“Wow. Kara, that’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. And honestly, I don’t know what to say. Other than thank you. And, I really needed to hear that right now.” With that, I move to get up from the table.
“Alex, wait,” I stop and sit back down. “Do you need someone to go with you? For the tests?”
I’m honestly not sure how to respond to her sudden and unexpected generosity. “ummm…thank you. So much. I think I’m going to ask my mom. But...can I call you?”
“Sweetie, you can call me anytime you need anything.” She paused to dig a scrap of paper and a pen from her bag. She quickly scribbled something down, “Here’s my cell. Call me anytime. I mean that.”
I reach across the table and take the paper from her. “Thanks.”
“Come on kiddo,” she says as she helps me up. I’m not sure at which point in our conversation she got up, but I’m thankful for the small amount of pampering. “I’ll walk you out.”
“Any plans for the night?” I ask her, attempting to return some normalcy to our conversation.
“Night in with Keith. Same as every Saturday, if I’m lucky, I’ll even get some work done.”
“If you’re lucky?”
“Keith is very…very needy.”
“and he doesn’t let you do work?” I interject. However, Kara interrupts me before I can finish.
“No, no , its not like that. He just doesn’t want me to work too hard.” Right. And I’m actually the Queen of England. Unfortunately, I don’t have the energy to pry or fight with her right now.
“What about you?” She asks.
“Plans. For tonight…”
“Hitting up the Saloon. With Ryan and Nate, who funny story is an ex-boyfriend and now a cop. Who just happened to pull me over yesterday.”
“What? Do tell.”
“Ahh…some other time my friend. For now I must go. I’m suddenly very tired and must sleep before my brain explodes.”
“Alright little miss. But I’m going to hold you to that. Have fun tonight, and be careful.”
“Yes mother…”
The Juke-box is still crooning as we leave the diner. It only takes me a minute to recognize that its playing Avril Lavigne’s Complicated. I think about this song the entire way back home. And how hard I had worked to un-complicate my life, and how complicated it had become, in a matter of days. And how none of it was really my doing.

Saturday, July 2 2005

I was never any good at pool. Ryan had tried to no avail to teach me one night. So why I thought it was a good idea to accept Nate’s challenge is beyond me. Eight Ball, each ball sunk is a shot, I’m stripes, he’s solids, and kicking my ass, in a major way.
“Seven, left corner pocket”, Nate says as he lines up his shot.
“Damn you Nate!” I yell as it goes in.
“Awww…Swearing at local law enforcement, is that really a good idea, Alex? Here, bottoms up”, he says as he hands me a shot.
“Encouraging a young lady to drink? And you call yourself law enforcement.”
“Lady my ass…I knew you when you had one eyebrow.”
“Thanks. Thanks for that Nate.” I look at the shot. God I hate shots. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and my first impression of a shot of rum, yeah, not so good. Trying to drink the rum, not such a good call. Shooting it out my nose, bad. The alcohol induced nosebleed the next day, even worse. At least this one is vodka, which in my opinion is a reasonably decent drink.
“Bottoms up”, I say, and down it in one gulp. “Gah”, I utter, “did you beat me yet?” I ask him.
“No, but I’m pretty close to kicking your ass.”
I stick my tounge out at him in retort. Childish I know, but he’s right, he is kicking my ass, and childish is all I have left.
“Two, left corner pocket. Five, right corner.”
“Did you lose yet?” Ryan asks as he comes up behind me and puts his arms around my waist.
“No, but I’m working on it.” I say as I gesture to Nate setting up his called shot. The cue ball hits the fifteen, which hits both the two and the five, sending them into their respectively called pockets. His shot couldn’t have been more perfect if he’d set it up himself.
“Wow…World Pool Tour much?” I ask.
“Drink up”, he says, “times two.”
I look at Ryan. “Don’t look at me”, he says, “This was your ingenious idea.”
“Bottoms up babe”, says Nate as he hands me two shots.
Our little competition has caught the attention of most of the Saturday night crowd, old classmates who hadn’t yet gotten around to leaving the area. Now I have more than half of the bar chanting for me to down the shots. I take one, and then the other. This results in cheers from the peanut gallery. There is something to be said about the relationship between amount of alcohol already consumed and the ability to consume more.
“They get easier”, I say to the guys, “as they get higher in number.”
I yawn as I lean my back against Ryan’s chest while Nate lines up his next and hopefully final shot. After my meeting with Kara, I was able to sleep the rest of the afternoon, but the alcohol is making me realize exactly how tired I still am, and the two shots I just took have magnified the effects of the last five. I didn’t realize just how dizzy I felt until now. Normally I’d be worried about how I’d feel in the morning, or having to get up for something, but right now, that’s the furthest thing from my mind. For the first time since this whole ordeal started, I feel almost normal, even if that normal is drunk.
“Eight ball back left corner”, claims Nate as he finishes lining up the shot.
“Check mate”, I say rolling my head back against Ryan’s shoulder until our eyes meet.
“You suck at pool, you know that”, he tells me, “but I love you anyway”, he says as he spins me around and kisses me. At this point, I have lost all interest in the game. There is just the two of us in the world.
“Hell yeah! I’m the kind of the world!” Nate’s shouts bring us out of our perfect moment.
“King of the pool hall maybe, the world, not so sure”, I tell him.
“Jealous?” He asks as he hands me my last shot.
“Yeah, Yeah, Gimme the damn shot.” He hands it to me, and I take it from him. I raise it to my nose, if I wasn’t nauseaus before, I certainly am now, the mere scent of it threatening to put me over the edge, a cross between rubbing alcohol and paint thinner. I sigh, and Ryan once again engulfs me in his arms.
“One more, you can do it, Al. Then I’ll get you out of here.” He promises.
I sigh again, “bottoms up”, I say, looking at both the guys, and dump it down. It doesn’t go down as easy as the previous two and I’m left in a coughing fit. Thankfully, a new game has started, so the attention of the evening crowd is diverted.
Ryan snakes one hand around my waist and takes guides me to a corner table.
“I feel like shit”, I tell him.
“I can tell, here”, he says pulling out a chair for me.
“How many have you had?” He asks as he sits down across from me.
“ummmm…”, I try to count on my hands, but end up just looking at my fingers, as if I’m mystified they still exist. “Eight…nine…ten..if you count the two from before we started playing.”
“And that’s about enough for one night.” he tells me, and hands me a glass of water.
“Thanks”, I reply and put my head on the table. “It’s really loud in here. And I feel kind of…I’m not sure how I feel. Far…Away…” At this point, I’m regretting the drinks, the game, even coming out tonight. “Ry…I utter.”
“Ok…its OK. Come on, let’s get you out of here.” He says as he moves to slide my chair out and stand me up.
I vaguely remember telling people goodbye, although I couldn’t tell you who they were, and that yes, I’ll see them tomorrow. Really, all I remember is curling into Ryan’s side and being so drunk I just want to die.
Slowly, Ryan guides me out of the bar. The cool night air of July in Western New York hits me and I’m done. Right then and there. The massive amount of alcohol I consumed is where it belongs, in the dust that is the parking lot.
I look up into Ryan’s eyes, “I want to go home.”
“I know baby, I know.

i also reposted the one in the diner from a few days ago.....a little changed, and hopefully a little better. if youre reading my story....enjoy...let me know what you think.......


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
shots of vodka....tsk tsk tsk...if i've taught you anything it is to just do it out of the bottle!
Jan. 17th, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)
haha....dont i know it...its all about the vodka. theres no chaser, no ice, and there sure as hell aint no glass....;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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