on substance abuse: “after the nightmare”

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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

On Homophobia and Masculinity: “Shame”

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We were the kind of drunk you can’t really get once you’re adult, once you have a job and pay rent. The kind of drunk only teenagers can achieve. Delirious to the sound of our own nonsense, K and I staggered back towards Jayne’s mum’s garage.

Pat and Jayne peeled away ahead of us. Their hazy dark shadows disappeared into the distance as we trailed behind.

*

       I fucking love you, K said to me with a smile- he laughed, his attention pulled away.

You too, bro… you’re obviously way more wasted than me,

Screw you-u-u

 

His last words struck with a hiccup, face turned up into a snarl. He shoved me hard just below the collar bone; unbalanced, I fell back.
What are you doing?

 

Don’t fucking laugh at m-m-e-e

 

Another shove to balance broken syllables, his face drove in close to mine.

 

What the fuck are you guys doing?

 

K’s older brother strode over – I hadn’t seen him until now – his presence shifted K’s attitude.

*

       Together, we poured into the garage. Weathered carpet cuts laid from wall to wall. Rushed graffiti and blinking fairy lights and a cheap cylindrical fold-out bed. Wasn’t much but it was enough to be ours. The only place we could smoke in ease and there was something in that.

The lights blew and K’s brother and Jayne seemed to be fucking each other; always Pat and Jayne. The music wasn’t as loud as their drunkness calculated.

 

What the fuck was that about before? I whispered to K.

 

I stared fiercely into the pitch black.

 

I love you

 

We were best friends. He had always been a better brother than any of mine had been. He and his dad only had each other, so I was always around. It just worked.

 

Stop fucking around

Is that wrong?

 

I staggered out into a wall; my head was spinning; I staggered out into the dark.

*

I didn’t talk to him. Years. When he came out I still didn’t talk to him. He never called. He could not be a real man. I was the last of our high school friends to reach out to him. Everyone knew I was last. He never answered. They stopped texting me- but I was a man. I am a man. I am a man.

 

word by Sam Fresco

colour by Fintan Magee

Born in Lismore NSW, Fintan Magee moved to Brisbane as a child and began drawing shortly after. In his early teens he was exposed to Brisbane’s graffiti culture and began painting on walls.

Moving away from traditional graffiti in recent years, his large-scale murals often inhabit the isolated, abandoned and broken corners of the city. Mixing surreal and figurative imagery his paintings are deeply integrated with the urban environment and explore themes of waste, consumption, loss and transition and contain a sentimentality and softness influenced by children’s books.

He has traveled extensively completing projects in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Vienna, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Moscow, New York, Oslo and Dublin amongst others. His diligence, technical skill and progressive approach to painting have solidified his reputation as one of the leading figures in Australia’s Street Art and Contemporary Mural movements.