Phone Call on the Cusp of 30 Days

What are your hopes and dreams for the
future? She says that I sound like one of 

her treatment counselors; candid, unsure 
like someone waking up from 

anesthetization after her life spiraled and 
spiraled further from her control, and family

and friends attempted to intervene, to 
plead for her to get help, to seek treatment,

and she agreed, but only to placate them, 
so that she could eventually resume her 

habits, and one by one family and friends
gave up on her, washed their hands of her

or kept her at arm’s length because they
realized that she was not serious, she was 

not in control, until someone at the right
time, with the right relationship, said to her, 

you come back and you complete what you
started; otherwise, we will be nothing for 

the remainder of your addled days, so she
boarded a bus and rode it from Arizona to 

Minnesota, taking rips of straight vodka from
a water bottle until she arrived in the bus 

depot and had to wait 12 hours for a ride
to the treatment center, trembling because 

there was nowhere nearby to buy a refill,
and she didn’t want to venture outside of 

the depot’s sanctuary—afraid that she
would run into the wrong man, and he 

would offer to buy her a drink, and she
would obviously agree, and then she would 

wake up a month later and another person
would no longer take her calls or answer 

her apologetic emails, so she waited and
eventually her ride showed up and she 

made it to treatment with women who
were attempting to stay out of jail or 

attempting to keep their kids, and she
spends time listening to their stories and 

sharing her stories and cigarettes with
them, trying to remain humble, to be 

patient, to rebuild her dignity, to imagine a
life where one can easily answer a question 

about hopes and dreams; she humors me,
for the sake of the conversation, for the 

sake of our friendship, because we haven’t
talked in years, because she was avoiding 

me, because she was avoiding herself,
because she was avoiding the past—she 

doesn’t know, she’s trying to work that out
with her counselor—little by little, day by 

day, life is a slow crawl, and it becomes even
slower, when you have to stop and recount 

your ignominies with every friendship
you’re trying to resume, apologize for your 

failures with every relationship you are
trying to salvage, it is a difficult road,

and I understand how my question
might be exhausting to even attempt a half-

hearted answer, yet she does, Just stay
sober… Maybe find someone who can deal

with me sober… We chat for a little bit longer,
then she says it’s time for dinner, and we

promise to talk later, and I hang up and finish
my wine and head to the kitchen for a refill.

(After reading Diana Hamilton’s “Trance Essay for Remembering Images”)

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

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