By Avalon Dziak
I stood at the kitchen sink, hot sauce dripping down my chin and landing in puddles on the stack of unwashed dishes. I wiped the sauce from my face with the heel of my hand, pausing to lick the spicy red from my skin. We were out of napkins. I was out of napkins.
I swallowed around the lump in my throat.
It was a blessing and a curse, living a five-minute walk from both our favorite bar and a twenty-four-hour taco place.
The burrito was heavy in my hands. It had no idea the weight of its own significance. It had no idea it was the only thing getting me through the night.
I took another bite, salty tears mixing with chorizo and more hot sauce. I forgot to have them hold the onions. I always forget to have them hold the onions.
I stared blankly out the kitchen window as I chewed. The grass was getting long. I didn’t know how to run the lawnmower. One more thing to figure out how to do by myself.
The room was spinning slightly. I probably shouldn’t have had that final shot of whiskey at last call, but I knew I was out of liquor at home and wanted to be thoroughly and properly drunk. It was the only way I would get any sleep. The couch was far too uncomfortable to sleep on sober, and I wasn’t ready to sleep in the bed.
Snapshots flipped through my mind as I steadily consumed the burrito. My first shower in weeks, scrubbing the sleep and grime and bourbon from my skin. That depressingly cute black dress I’d never be able to wear again without thinking of that morning. All the kind and empty words because no one knew what to say. I didn’t blame them. I didn’t know what to say.
He would have hated the service. Too formal and too depressing, he’d say. He’d have wanted a party instead. He would have been able to convince his parents, but I wasn’t as persuasive. I didn’t win that battle. Still, he would have hated it.
Halfway through my burrito, I realized it was the first real food I’d eaten all week. I was getting full. A small balloon of hope welled in my chest. I kept eating. One bite at a time.