I stare at his mouth moving. Am I going to throw up on him? Is my body exploding? Andrew comes out of the bathroom line and puts his hands on my waist. I need air. I fall toward him pushing to get outside. I am floating and hot and feel high then down.
A girl gives me an orange and I am blind on the cool wet sidewalk. The rain is that misty soft rain and Andrew pays a man twenty dollars to give us his taxi. I refuse to wait for the ambulance. We are dodging the law, out running paramedics. He puts his arm around my waist up the five flights of stairs. I let him use our bathroom. I let him wake up Eric.
"She fainted. Twice." And I know Andrew wants to be the one to come with me, to talk to the doctors, because I kiss him in doorways and taxicabs and dark bars and I sneak around with him and he thinks I am beautiful and I think I am repulsive and I kiss him because he admires my self-destruction. I kiss him because I think I am invisible. I kiss him because I need to do something un-kind and I go home to Eric, always home to Eric.
Eric is my Virgin Mary. I pray to him when he is sleeping because I want to be him. I want to be pure and clean and able to breathe and run and eat well and get enough sleep. I want to know how he works inside, how he knows right from wrong, how he gets up on time, how he is good with money, how he makes friends.
I am shaky and light headed but I feel better, in fact I feel fine, but I agree to go to the hospital because now Eric is sort of panicked and because maybe they can cure me there. The nurse might know how to fix what is broken, make me feel something again. She gives me sugar water through the vein on top of my hand.
Eric paces and stares at me worried like my mother when they pumped my stomach because I wanted to die at sixteen. Worried because he knows I want to die again and secretly he thinks he killed me.
He hates the hospital. He sits on the edge of my bed, folding my shirt, over and over in the fluorescent light and through the echo of a drunk man moaning, his urine stench waving over the wreck of us like dirty water.
Behind the flimsy paisley curtain Eric takes one of those really deep yawning breaths and in that instant I know everything we thought were and anything we thought we'd become is over, final, like one of those weird, clear, bright light epiphany moments that inspire people to find God or pray.
The doctor tells Eric he can take me home.
The doctor says sometimes people just faint.
About the author:
Sarah Monatgue is a native Californian. She currently lives in New York. Her new book "You Can Be Anything From A to Z" is on sale now at big fancy bookstores. She tends to complain more when things are going really well.