A Swig of Numbness

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“I don’t-I-I-can-cannot,” I said, tears clinging to my eyes, blurring my vision, and somehow affecting my mind. “You can. Come on,” he said, soothingly, stroking my back, hands strong and callused. “But you know I don’t drink,” I hiccupped, tears falling fast down my face. Helplessness and anger were merging into one. Indiscernible now almost, as the edges of my vision swam dangerously. “There’s always a first time, isn’t there?” he whispered, “This will give you the numbness you need, I promise.” I had neither time, nor any desire, to contemplate further. His voice had already lulled me into a stupor, which was odd, but comforting. I wanted to feel numb. Needed to feel nothing at all. I wanted to be an empty vessel, with my soul lurking among the waves crashing noisily against the rocks on the shore. No holding back this time. No refusing. I took a brave swig out of the cheap glass bottle, closing my eyes, waiting for the inevitable. My A fierce fire shot down my throat, right into my stomach, tingling with nervous energy and anticipation. My oesophagus felt on fire, and my windpipe, a little choked. I coughed, a wide grin aligning my face. The heat was unbelievable, and the ache was painful, but not unbearable. In fact, it felt good. The fire coursed through my entire body, setting it ablaze. It was exhilarating. Every nerve in my body woke up from its deep slumber, screaming in agony, but the newness of that first swig was controlling my hazy mind. “More,” I rasped, lunging at the bottle, almost dropping it on his head in my haste to acquire it. He smiled smugly, with a knowing glint in my eye, and handed the bottle to me. I took a big gulp, and another, and another. This time, I did not wait for the fire to spread slowly in my body. The analogy might suck, but I wanted a rock concert on inside of me, rather than a low dull jazz hum. The initial swig turned to a bottle, and one bottle turned to many, as I lost count of my secret misdoings. My surroundings faded into nothingness. The noise of the waves crashing against the boulders was replaced by the loud thumping of my heart. It was just the hot fire raging inside my, tying my numb senses to the soft sand, and the sea beside.
***
“What is this?” the woman in front of me screamed loudly. The reverberations hurt my eardrums, and I mumbled, covering my ears with my hands, “Shh…not so loud.” Then suddenly I was being shaken. My vessel was rattling, my body, nothing but a state-of-the-art rubber sculpture anymore. I tried to shake the woman off, but the energy that had filled me with zest was gone, replaced by a dull pulsing ache flowing through my entire body. Unable to help myself, I sagged to the floor. “What happened to you? Where have you been?” the woman shrieked. Ugh. Would she stop irritating me already? I bared my teeth, hoping for a feral grin, with drool dripping down my chin. “You deserve to know nothing woman. Sh. Leave me in peace,” I said, still in my happy and conveniently numb place. The woman’s face reflected shock, anger and hurt. Ha! I had infuriated the b****! I registered her next movement just a second late. Her hand connected with my cheek, hard, that brought upon a round of fresh tear in my eyes and hers’. “You bloody son-of-” I started, possessed with a murderous rage, that she had dared to snap me out of my relieving haze. I started slipping back into this horrible world, and back into that awful good-for-nothing vessel. I hurled myself at her, enraged. She calmly sidestepped, and I crashed into the ugly green sofa, with pink psychedelic circles swirling and swimming in the air. “You will go to your room this instant, clean yourself up, and come downstairs. Not another word now,” she said, calmly, averting her eyes from me. I nodded meekly, suddenly wanting nothing but a soft bed and my good old ragged pillow to crash into. The weariness of today’s night was descending down on me, filling me with dread and horror of the consequences to come. I just wanted to crawl under my sheets and never wake up. Trudging silently up the stairs, I managed to make it to my room, stumbling and cursing a lot. My wet and slimy clothes weighed a hundred pounds, and I couldn’t wait to get rid of them. Not to mention the yellow goo running down my shirt. When the hell had I puked? I dived into my memory, and struggled to procure the perfect explanation, but it was just fuzz, hay, and a crass static in there. I took off my clothes and put them in the ratty old bucket, and turned on the shower. It sprinkled a few drops of ice cold water offering no further relief to my already shivering body. I put on the 5 year old pajamas that now came up to my knees, and the biggest sweater I could find. With a tired sigh, I crashed onto my bed. As I twisted my body around to turn the nightlight on the makeshift side table off, my eye caught a stray piece of paper lying atop the stiff cardboard box. And right there, it seemed like someone had clutched my heart with a giant metal fist, because I suddenly couldn’t breathe. My mind started a flashback of my 16 year old life. Young and innocent, at 1, in the arms of a lady who was cooing at me, like I was the prettiest baby in the world. At 5, the two of us applauding as I had managed to ride the secondhand bike up and down the hill. At 9, her narrating to me a story about the stars, and the moon and the space, as I looked out of my window, determined that I would be up there someday. At 11, her promising that she would never ever lay a hand on me, like the mothers of my friends did. At 13, her confiscating the phone I had been gifted by my “boyfriend” in my class. At 15, the two of us shouting at each other because she wouldn’t allow me to the most happening party of the year. And finally, at 7 o’clock yesterday night, me opening the letter from the Child Security Services meant for her, and there it was, in black and white, clear as day, that I was adopted. The flashes of never-ending poverty, struggling to make ends meet, and her never once telling me that I was adopted.
I screamed in frustration, running down the stairs with the letter in my hand. She was sitting on the ugly sofa. I screamed indiscernible obscenities at her, waving the letter in the air. She snatched it from my hand, and her face drained of all colour, as she recognized the sender of the letter. Her eyes met mine. Pleading and apologetic, meeting unflinching, bloodshot and harsh. I gave her a last brief cold look and walked out of the house I couldn’t waste to taste freedom and the soothing numbness again. And this time, she didn’t-couldn't follow me.





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