She swirled the glass before her eyes, staring at the dark liquid as it swished back and forth. She dug her toes further into the sand as she brought the cold glass to her lips, the rum spreading across her tongue and down her throat.
“Oh man…” she murmured into the empty air, her mouth twisting into a smile.
Another, her mind whispered. Another, another, another!
The bones in her fingers clicked as she reached for her companion, its cool body meeting her warm palm.
Not content with topping up her glass, she swigged directly from the bottle, wincing as the heat burned through her mouth.
Blackness surrounded her as she sat on the sun-bleached porch, its white painted wood flaking off against her old denim shorts.
She had waited a long time to get here. To feel the ties of life cut away from her completely. To feel the expectations attached to her spine plucked off one by one.
There was nowhere she needed to be. No one she needed to speak to. She was floating in an abyss of night air and Captain Morgan, her body encased in warmth and her feet cooled by white sand.
The past year was another life time away. The person who she had been another age gone past.
She tilted her head, allowing for one moment the memories to wash over her.
A confrontation. On her knees, on her knees. Bin bags.
“Please help me, I’ve got nowhere to go…”
2am. Sleeping on a bed that wasn’t hers. Drinking with friends. Seeing a face. Waking up in a hospital bed.
“I’m so sorry, so sorry.”
Wires. Fear. Pulse beating faster, faster and faster-
A nurse’s kind face. “God has a plan for you.”
Being dragged out of bed by a friend. Planes. Journeys. Drink. Food. Getting lost. A sad bouncer from Ukraine.
“Hey, do you guys speak English?”
A car journey in blazing heat. Windows down. Music blaring. Falling ill. Bed ridden. A friend bringing food and ice cream.
“I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”
A job. Steadiness. Time to be an adult. Time to get a house. Time, time, time-
“I don’t want to do this.”
A discussion. A plane. Hot, hot, hot.
“I’m still not where I should be.”
Tequila. Music. An old song.
Disappointment. Sad, sad, sad.
“You shouldn’t be here on your own.”
“10, 9, 8-”
“They can’t know.”
“7, 6, 5-”
She’s sober. Staring at the people around here whilst she’s wearing a tight blue dress. She didn’t expect things to go this way… Just smile- you’re scaring people.
“3, 2, 1-”
Another disappointment. More tequila.
Shots! Shots! Shots!
“Mum? I need your help.”
“When are you coming home?” She shrugs, not knowing the answers. She just wants to go, go, go-
Ouch, that hurt.
Walks to the beach, once, twice, three times. Smoke and drink, smoke and drink. She misses something but she can’t explain what. She feels empty but doesn’t know of what. She needs to do it- the time is coming, coming, coming-
Staring at the computer screen, afraid.
She did it.
Weeks go by.
She straightened up, the rum tight in her grip as she blinked in acknowledgement of the past year. She makes peace with it, knowing that it all brought her here. Forcing herself to relax her hold she takes a deep breath, the salt from the sea air tingling across her tongue.
More rum and another smile.
A sense of peace. A calmness of pulse.
She is nowhere. Her smile widens.
“Exactly where I want to be.”