International Writers Magazine: Life Story
suicide was really too extreme. She sort of believed in God, at least
in the way she experienced the divine, but taking her own life would be
an insult. She certainly didnt believe in that rationalistic bullshit
that dismissed the notion of a living God, as if people could explain
everything--as if God could die. Because she didnt like herself
didnt mean shed been a mistake.
Out Of Bed
In her reverie,
Andie was about seventeen years old. Some parts of her skin were
clear and others marred with blemishes. She was thin, always had
been thanks to a good metabolism. Her hair
had always been in the shades of blonde except for the time shed
dyed it black in an attempt to look different.
Deep down Andie wanted to see how her life would end. If everything has
a natural course, then her life had one too. And she liked New York City
too much. Shed grown up in the Bronx, which she used to hate but
had come to love over the years. No more talks of moving to islands and
faraway places. New York was the place, even if she could barely afford
Andie picked up the phone after ten rings. She was stoned and hung over
from last nights get-together. One of her friends, Nate, was in
a garage rock band. Hed scored a record deal after eight years of
slaving to his music. He was good-looking with bedroom eyes and a full
mouth, but was permanently stoned which made her wonder if he could be
as good as he was without drugs. Shed slept with him once on a long
ago drunken night. He found a new girlfriend.
She felt as if her head was about to drown from her sad thoughts mixed
with toxins from last night. On the phone was her friend Jane, who shed
bonded with recently. She and Jane were on the same page most of the time.
Twenty-five isnt too old to meet your best friend.
A smile crept on Andies face. Good friends dont come around
often. Jane had quit junk two years ago and managed quite well, considering
she was living as if something irreplaceable had been ripped out of her.
She needed people like this in her life-- survivors.
"How are you doing?" Jane asked.
Andie rubbed her forehead. "Im tired. Craving a smoke."
"How was the party?"
"Great. Sarah was there you know, but they make a good couple. Theres
something about her. I can see why hes with her."
After a pause, she said, "You still love him, dont you?"
"Hes a great guy you know," Andie said in a monotone voice.
"It never woulda worked out between us, but I still love him."
"Same here. I still love Brandon, but hey, what the fuck do you want
me to do? We gotta start over, turn the page. Start the year on a blank
Andies hands quivered. She was overwhelmed by her jarring thoughts
and that her best friend in the world was on the line. Handling too many
emotions had never been her strong suite. Thats why she smoked dope
on occasion and drank the hard stuff.
She loved Jane, but she wasnt queer. There was something about female
friendships that made life so much better. You could be famous and still
feel swallowed up by emptiness.
"I gotta let you go. I have this nasty headache."
"Are you sure everythings all right? Youre not mad at
me, are ya?"
She glanced out the window and said, "Im not mad. Im
just a little tired. Like I said, my headaches bad."
Andie wanted to tell her she loved her, but she was feeling too sick right
now. When shed get out of this mess, theyd have a drink in
a quiet place in the Village with cozy couches and coffee music in the
background. Theyd be back to being young women in their mid-twenties.
"Well call me back then," Jane said with casual concern.
The truth was Andie wanted drugs. She was craving a fix of anything that
would bring back that invincible high that crushed the lowest of self-esteem.
The devil was laughing in her face. Her veins throbbed. Shed rather
vanish in thin air than overcome this temptation.
She didnt feel like worrying about the rent, cleaning up, searching
out cockroaches, what to wear, and how to fix her hair. She would rather
be creative and doped up and not think about worldly things in a context
of post-party dreariness. Such parties nearly always sucked the life out
Andie wiped the film of sweat from her forehead. As her attack began to
wane, her rash began to lessen. She was gripped by thoughts of rehab,
which shed had her share of. A single fix would plunge her back
into that inferno shed tried so hard to escape. She didnt
want a life of rehab on and off, meeting with different supervisors whod
look over her case. She no longer wanted a fucking case that made supervisors
wonder how shed ended up a wreck.
Big deal if she slipped once in a while, since thats not what made
her an addict. What made her an addict was thinking that she couldnt
live without junk, booze, and cigarettes, and even coffee.
Andie walked toward the sink, where she ran the tap. The dead cockroach
was still on the counter, turned on its back as if it had been zapped
and left to roast.
She gulped down water and let out a deep breath, feeling as though each
nerve in her body had twinned into one solid mass.
"Its okay," she thought to herself. "Its okay."
It was okay to fight temptation, to live with a weakness. All she would
have to do is overcome each struggle. With enough willpower, shed
build enough immunity to live a quite normal life.
"Ill be fine."
She stepped outside on the balcony for a change of air. The sky was a
mixture of November-gray clouds and sunny breaks. Despite the motion all
around, her street seemed so still. Andie was struck by how dull the day
was. How so much goes on behind closed doors.
Then she grabbed her pack of Marlboros on top of the fridge and lit up
outside. She took a long drag, releasing what felt like more than just
chemicals and smoke. If she were to die tomorrow, she wouldnt write
a rambling letter that risked never being read. Instead shed call
up everyone that had left an impact on her.
Shed call up Nate to wish him the best with his band and tell him
not to let fame go to his head if hed become even just a little
famous. Shed also tell him that he could be a good musician and
singer and songwriter without being under the influence. Hopefully hed
mention her name in the acknowledgment section of his CD. Shed also
ring her three other exes, Matt, Aidan, and Lenny and admit to them that
theyd meant something to her despite everything.
As for Jane, shed tell her that they were insanely good friends
and hoped to pursue their friendship till the end. Someday, when theyd
save enough money and actually learn how to drive, theyd take a
road trip somewhere. Andie wished to live in New York till the rest of
her days, with Jane playing a part.
The next big problem was her father, whom she hadnt seen in over
a decade. Hed occasionally pop in whenever he found himself in New
York. She so wanted to tell him that he no longer was the source of her
heart disease and that his absence, selfish ambitions and womanizing ways
were all forgiven, otherwise shed never be all right.
"You might be my father, but it dont mean I have to feel like
a freaking victim and tragedy because you walked out on Mom, Shelley and
me," she would say to him. "And if youd like to go for
a drink sometime just to hang out, Im fine with that."
Andies mother was all right, a good friend even. Shed raised
two girls pretty much on her own. Shed made bad boyfriend choices
and other mistakes, but she wasnt bad. She still looked like a model
that should have been discovered in the city somewhere. She would thank
her mom for having raised her in New York and for never forgetting her
birthday. For calling and visiting whenever she had a moment. For having
done the best in her circumstances. "Mom, I no longer wish you were
different. You are the sweetest person," shed say.
As far as Andie was concerned, there was a lot to put forth: I am not
ugly, though it took me long to realize it. I will stop abusing my body
with mindless sex and drugs and clean up for good. Next time, if a guy
interests me, Ill ask him out. I wont fear rejection. Ill
stop thinking Im abnormal. Im not a failure because I didnt
try hard enough to be a rock star and I quit playing guitar and sometimes
feel strange and androgynous
As far as she knew, Andie wasnt dying. She was beginning to look
forward to Christmas, the lights in the trees, and the cozy nights.
And the rain, the sun, the snow. And the moonlight.
© Vanessa Telaro
vanessa_telaro at yahoo.com
Vanessa holds a degree in Creative Writing and Sociology. My short stories
"Long Drive Home," "No Better Place," and "Black ain't
Black" appeared in KeepGoing, Prose Toad, and The
Circle respectively. She recently completed her second novel Stella Now and Then
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