Dylan had called maybe two hours ago, and she had really just sat there staring at the phone for a little while, hoping that time would flow backwards just this once and let her unhear his summon. But it hadn’t and now hear she was, trying to hold back the fourth wave of tears since she had answered that damn phone. She took one last gulp of the fresh sea air before pushing the door and entering.
Walking into that casino was like walking into death, the thick stale air, laden with disappointment and cigarette smoke felt like it was trying to choke her, the smooth reggae sounded alien somehow, felt out of place in this place where desperate people bought their last hopes to die. Dylan was at her side suddenly, grinning sadly wiping his hands on his bar towel like he always was.
“He’s over there with Andy, in booth 6. I’m guessing he lost big again.” he squeezed her shoulder, sympathy and sadness, and returned to the bar. But just as it was told, there He was, passed out in that dingy booth, with Andy, who had always be the one to bring him back here, no matter how hard she tried, or cried or fought or didn’t talk, it was always Andy who found a way to drag him back to this, and He always followed. Tonight she wasn’t feeling like saving Andy, he would sit there, with the rum and vomit all over his shirt ’til the security threw him out.
He, on the other hand she would take home, she would wash and tuck into bed. He would get one final sweet kiss, not that he would stir at the feel of her lips and when he woke up, she would be gone. This was the last time, this was the last rescue mission. This was the end.
“How the hell you gonna leave a brotha like that?” it’s the first thing he sees when the phone comes into focus. He didn’t have and answer though, he barely remembers how he got here. “Jus cool man. I’m sorry” is all he can send back.
Her side of the bed, is cold and smooth, maybe she hadn’t slept there last night. She would be mad again, quiet again, it was going to be this all over again and he wasn’t in the mood. A man needed to blow off steam, a man could do with his money what he wanted, a man needed his time with his boys and a woman should know enough not to interfere.
His stomach growled, and he realized there was no smell of coffee or cooking. In fact she wasn’t in the kitchen, of the living room or the bathroom, her car was gone and so were her certificates. The bare spaces on the wall screamed at him and he ran. Her drawers were empty and her suitcase gone. She was gone.
What right had she, to leave him, to not be there for him, to not be with him. How could She turn her back on him when he had made sure that he was always available, when his boy didn’t need him, when he had only asked her to pick up his tab that one time, or pay those bills those few times, other than that he had been a model man….right? Its the sound of the vase breaking against the far wall that snaps him out of it.
He reaches for his phone, her mom would know where she is, or her sister Jan, or her friend Kim. He would get them, they knew and then he would make Her come back. And then he saw it.
A plain manila folder, and inside. A brochure for an addiction treatment center. He did not have a problem. A note.
“Baby I got to take care of me now, and the piece of you you gave me. Call me when it’s over, if now I’ll know we are. I love you.” …..and…..was that an ultrasound print out?