Slice of Write

Stories & jibber-jabber by Janelle Parmer, Author of The Other Side of the Ledge

It’s almost midnight and Sarah is still awake in her apartment.  She paces the old, brown carpet, following the same step pattern she has left over the last three years.  The dark carpet is shredding and is barely being held together by a few stubborn threads. Sarah has complained to the super many times about that, the leaky kitchen faucet, and the never-ending ant problem, but he stopped answering her calls once she started missing her rent payments.  It wasn’t her fault, Sarah had tried to explain.  Her boss was a jerk and fired her.  She wouldn’t sleep with him so he let her go.  Or was it she was late too many times that caused it?  Sarah had trouble keeping her lies straight at this point.

One thing she could agree on was that none of this was her fault.  It was his fault.  It’s always his fault.  He caused her to lose her last three jobs, yet he still takes the little money she has.  She can’t help it.  He’s a charmer, that one.  Killing her on the inside, but when he fills her, she is complete.  Sarah can’t get enough.  The many nights alone, cursing his name, still haunt her.  He has caused her to lose touch with her friends, family, and she even had to get rid of her dog because she was unable to care for him and Rusty.  He was a selfish son of a bitch and didn’t mind flaunting it.  Sarah had sworn him off many times before over the past two years.   

She came close to escaping about six months ago when she woke up in her dirty bathroom, half-clothed, and bleeding.  Sarah agreed enough was enough and he would eventually kill her if she stayed with him.  She begged her sister for help and explained this time was different.  Sarah promised she wouldn’t go back.  The promise lasted about two weeks and then Sarah was back in that small apartment pacing and cursing as though she had never left.

“Don’t look at me with those deep brown eyes like you know what I’m going to say next.  You are such a condescending son of a bitch and I am done with you for good.”  Sarah wiped tears from her eyes and sat down on the couch, still careful of the small glass shards left over from their last fight.  She keeps forgetting to vacuum them up and tells herself, once again, that she will do it later.

Sarah was barely recognizable from the sweet, happy girl from the suburbs.  Now, she was about ten pounds underweight, either not having enough money to eat or forgetting, depending on the day.  Sarah wasn’t even sure what day it was anymore.  Most of her time was spent in the apartment, pacing back and forth, on the couch, or sometimes curled up on the kitchen floor calling out for her mother. 

Sarah stood up from the couch and walked into the kitchen, looking directly at him.  “What?  What did you say?  I am nothing without you.  Huh.  You are nothing without me!”  She turned around and started pacing again.

“Stop talking.  You’re not good for me! You’re killing me, can’t you see that.”  Sarah yelled out.  “I’m done this time.”  Sarah ran into her bedroom and put her faded backpack on the unmade bed.  She started picking up clothes from the floor and throwing them into the bag.  “I’m really leaving this time!”  She shouted to him, hoping he would come to her.  He didn’t. 

Sarah struggled to zip up her backpack.  The zipper was caught on her old Pantera shirt.  “Fuck,” Sarah said as she threw the backpack against the peeling wallpaper. 

Sarah walks toward the kitchen with her head down, staring at the last layer of what used to be durable carpet.  She rubs her temples and tells him, “I’m sorry ok.  I didn’t mean it.”

He stays silent.

“C’mon. Don’t be like that.”  Sarah smiles at him.  “You know I can never leave you,” Sarah says as she picks up the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels and gently caresses him.  “I know, I know.  I don’t know what I was saying.  Please forgive me.”  Sarah gently pulls the cap off and takes a long swig of him.  Sarah grabs him and starts pacing back and forth in her pattern, happy that everything is back to how it should be. 

One thought on “Breaking My Habit

  1. Randy says:

    Powerful slice, as it touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. So many struggle with the same issue. My heart goes out to her and all like her. It’s a terrible disease. Another slice that touches so many of us.

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