© 2019 Helen: a literary magazine

Nick Flynn

by Andrew Romanelli

It's true, we often do keep a stash in preparation for a late-night occurrence with an impacted tooth, a shoegazing turn around the corner smack dab into depression or when she realizes you could've been a somebody but decided on being nobody. So are the times that plague us contributors. Me? I'm partial to nostalgia and I plan for the mania because I know the low is as constant as the hush we breathe and every time I hold my breath, I crave absence for just a little bit longer than my pockmarked lungs would allow. See, I'm not surprised after coming home to a night at its end (and I unwilling to let go) to find what I tried hard to make myself not remember. But there it was, so easily found as easily forgotten—tucked in the sleeve of a baby-blue turtleneck folded neatly in the closet. A brimming bottle of Hydrocodone, seven-point-fives (my favorite). Not tens that lacquer you numb, or fives that you compulsively toss back and before you know it the bottle is empty—you're not high, not free, you're bored. I agitate the bottle like a rattle on a last nerve before popping off the white top allowing an exhaustive exhale of music from this translucent orange tube. Then I count each pill as beads on a rosary like a Catholic pining for response. Once they all rest calmly in my perspiring palms I feel the urge to hoist up my hand and shake them like wild, hot dice itching to dance across my tongue, but they stick a little bit now, clinging to the wet anxiety of do I, don't I. Whatever could be granted from these dispensed chalky-white dreams? Were any aspirations ever followed through before? I know I can recall the feel of the comedown when I finally walked away from them. How it found a cliff and jumped right the fuck off. All the hours that became a sleepless blur over my waxy eyes and searing brain, the food that was always hard to get down but so easily rose from my arched body and a heart running a marathon solely on the sand-like texture of dried battery acid. What answers you found Nick I hope they serve you better than that self you witnessed on a bridge in that dark neighborhood of the mind. I'm going to stay here holding out because what threatens to kill some of us, is the very thing that keeps offering a life of adequate responses.