It’s been over a week since I last spoke with her. My last words were shocking, unforgivable. No wonder I’ve not heard a peep.
I have left numerous—I’ve lost count—messages on her voicemail, pleading clemency, stupidity. Ignorance. White male privilege, even.
Making a cup of tea, I wonder how much longer this can go on. And how it will end. Will she just let us peter out, never to hear from each other again. Or will she dig deep, utilise her Christian charity that she proudly, but always with a smidge of judgement, claims to possess.
No, I shouldn’t let my thoughts wander down that track. That’s what led me to this wilderness without her. The row, my last words, all flood over me. I press my hands against my ears to block it out. It’s no use.
You lot! You so-called Christians are the worst among us.
Her face had registered the shock at my words. Worse, the spiteful, cutting tone. I didn’t let myself end there. I was on autopilot.
You’re judgemental. You think you know better. You tell us how we should live.
I remember watching as tears had slipped down her cheeks. Sheryl was the best thing that had ever happened in my miserable life. Why was I doing this?
I sip my tea. With a jolt, my final blow to Sheryl plays out in my mind. Hot tea burns my chin and tongue as my cup slips in my hand.
Pious. That’s what you are. A pious bitch.
Sheryl had calmly grabbed her handbag and walked out. Her jaw was jutting upwards, her lips a thin tight line. She said not a word.
My mobile phone vibrates in my pocket. I hold my breath, hopeful. Looking at the screen, my heart races as I see her name. I press the green button.
‘Hi Sher—‘ She cuts me off before I finish her name. This is not a positive sign.
Five minutes pass. After I hang up, I feel that familiar urge deep inside me. That need, that ache. That thirst.
I rummage through the cupboards. I know I left a bottle here, just in case. For a moment such as this one. I find the step ladder and search in the very back of the top shelf in my pantry.
I know I didn’t tip it down the sink. Could Sheryl have done it? Blind with anger and despair, my addiction guides me. I grab my wallet and phone, and begin the well-trod path to my local bottlo. Each step, however, jars something inside me, and soon I realise that my steps are in sync with faint words: Call Al. Call Al. Call Al.
Only ten metres away from the bottle shop. My mouth salivates at the thought of a drink. My head says stop, my heart says…
I sink to the gutter. Pull out my phone and call Al. My sponsor.