Habits Much Worse than Whiskey

I yearn for people who never think of me. I eat poisoned words to keep others safe, but then I go and show up uninvited to weddings just to see the look of surprise on the groom’s face and the flash of fear in his bride’s eyes. I run three miles on a bad knee just to take a photo at sunset of a place that only makes me sad. I write poems for my mother and then refuse to show them to her. I agree to vacation in cold places even though it seems an awfully lot like visiting graves. I drink wine instead of whiskey during the holidays because it keeps my father sane. I never told my best friend that I was sick when I was and now that she’s sick too, I hold my secret even tighter. A hangover is a synonym for escape, and a burnt batch of cookies can only mean I’m low on Marlboro reds. Photo albums and Bibles are banned from my house because one time there was a picture of us at church camp and I don’t know why, but it made me want to set fires. I have a two liter of Cherry Coke from 2007 because I like to pretend I could still taste your lips on it if I wanted to. I always say I don’t want to. And then I’ve got a pair of muddy boots by the door from the motorcycle ride I took with your brother last night. I’m certain he thinks I’m crazy for the way I’ll still whisper your name, trying to keep you safe. It’s just like with everyone else. I care too much, no one gives me a second thought, and next thing you know, I’m lighting the stove with cigarettes and pouring 7 years of missing you into my whiskey.

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