word by Leah Mol
colour by Stephanie Rivet
I used to have nightmares. The kind of nightmares you never really wake up from. The kind where you think you’re finally awake and then everything starts to melt. I started seeing a psychiatrist who asked me about work and relationships and my parents. I work a lot, I don’t have relationships, and my parents are divorced, which is just more work. The psychiatrist told me Relax, take a bath, have a glass of wine. I tried baths, but my nightmares were flooded. I spent my nights trudging through basements filled with water, swimming towards nothing at all, and I woke up soaked. The wine worked, so I don’t see the psychiatrist anymore.
The first night I drank, I finished two glasses and then passed out on the couch. I woke up with a headache and the vague feeling that I’d dreamed something terrible. But I couldn’t remember what terrible thing it was. The next night, I managed three glasses.
Now when I get home from work, I pull a bottle of wine from my purse and drink a glass while standing at the kitchen counter. The tile floor is cold on my bare feet, even in the summer. I refill the glass, leave my clothes in a pile, and shower until I’m done the second glass, which is when I stop thinking so much.
I grab the bottle of wine and place it beside my bed with my glass. I put on yoga pants and a sweatshirt many sizes too big, forgotten by someone I think I almost had a relationship with. I open Netflix and I watch a documentary about Mount Everest or a comedy about women who don’t know what they want.
I think about dinner but I’m not hungry for food.
I fall asleep quickly and I don’t dream about anything at all. When I wake up in the morning, I’ll know I’m awake and alive and I won’t be thinking about all the ways everything is horrible. I’ll think about drinking instead.
From the author: “This piece reminded me of these old drinking and driving commercials, where everything gets blurry as more and more glasses are placed in front of the driver. I think that’s such a perfect metaphor for addiction. Even as everything gets blurry— and often because everything is getting blurry—you keep going. And then finally, inevitably, you crash, but that can take forever.”
See more colour by Rivet