“Whatever!” Sal stood up obviously frustrated with the subject, “Look it’s not
that big of a deal. I’ve done it a couple times now and it’s a lot better of a high.”
Adam couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “That’s not the point. We made a promise.
At this Sal got extremely upset, “Together? What the hell do you mean
together? We aren’t together, you have decided to be with that bore of girl.”
“Yes but we know that there’s something with us.”
“No we don’t. I don’t find it very becoming of a relationship to spend most of
my days alone while the man I want around me is off spouting fake ‘I love you’s’ to some
simple minded, whiney, unoriginal little…cunt!”
Adam stood up himself at that and the two stood face to face both shooting
a vile glare at the other. The tension of the moment was accelerated as the meth began to
ravage through the barriers it encountered in the lungs and Adam's brain began to buzz and
"Don’t you talk about her like that. She’s a sweetheart.” Adam found himself
defending Hillary without thinking about it and shoved Sal hard in the chest. Sal tripped over
another one of the paint buckets and fell onto his back before quickly jumping back up.
The embarrassment on Sal’s face quickly turned into a cliché: fiery-Latino hatred and he
reared back and threw a haymaker into Adam’s right eye. Adam felt the blow crack his nose
and he fell down himself cracking his head on the corner of a table on the way down. Sal had
tears running down his face and he gave Adam two quick kicks into the ribs while screaming,
“Get out! Get the fuck out! Get out right now!”
“Stop kicking me and I will!”
Sal obliged and Adam got up with blood running over his lips from his nose and swelling
already beginning over his eye. He spit some blood on Sal’s floor as he stumbled to the front
door, head throbbing and slightly spinning. He went outside, forgetting his coat, but when he
heard the door slam behind him he knew there was no going back to get it and drove home
shivering in his t-shirt. As the image of the fight replayed through his head he became
disgusted with Sal and his junkie justifications and made a personal vow not to see him again.
When he got back to the apartment complex he made sure to avoid the ice
on his way back in and each step he took up the stairs made his head pound that much more.
He ripped the no smoking sign off the wall and threw it on the ground. He knocked at his
apartment door twice and before he could knock a third time Hillary swung the door open and
shrieked at the sight of Adam’s face.
“Oh my god what the hell happened to you?”
Adam walked past her and sat down on the bed feeling where the newest popped spring was.
Rubbing the bump on his head from where he hit it on the table he mumbled, “I’m not going
to be hanging out with Sal anymore.”
Hillary seemed to miraculously appear with a warm wet rag to wipe the blood off of his face.
“Did he do this? Oh wow honey this is going to swell like crazy. I can’t say I’m upset that you
aren’t going to be seeing him anymore but I know you guys have been friends for a long time
She clicked her tongue, shook her head in a motherly fashion, and gave him
a kiss on the side of his face that wasn’t swelling. They sat there like that for a while, Hillary
rubbing his eye very gently and Adam feeling ashamed. There was a sense of relief that went
through him now. No more hiding from Hillary; now he could clean up. For the first time in a
long time he truly saw how beautiful she was, inside and out. She was being so affectionate
right now. She really is a sweetheart and he really did love her, in a secure, comfortable kind
of way. She was good for him and he decided to try and be good for her in return.
Hillary took a deep sigh before finally breaking the silence, “I smashed your
pipe and flushed all the drugs I could find.” She sounded apologetic about it, like a Stockholm
syndrome victim apologizing for escaping.
“Good. Thank you.”
Adam got up and reached into the back corner of one of the cabinets across from the bed and
pulled out a small zip lock bag with a few grams of meth in it. He shook it at her and smiled
and she smiled back. He went to the bathroom and tried to drop it into the toilet but his eye
was now fully swollen shut and his depth perception was off. He got it in the second time and
watched it as it flushed away. He stepped back out to see Hillary still acting sheepishly. “You
ok?” He asked softly.
“You are asking me if I’m ok while you stand there with half of your face swollen shut. How
did I get stuck with such a sweetheart?” She smiled and gave him a very careful kiss on his
swollen eye, “There it should be better now.”
Adam smiled softly back at her, “Oh it definitely is, I can feel the healing powers of your kiss
taking effect already.”
Hillary looked down at her shoes and said, “I think you should go to rehab for a bit, to help
you with the withdrawals and maybe get back on your anti-depressant. Just to be safe.”
Adam nodded, sat back onto the bed and sighed. “Yeah. Ok”
Hillary stayed the night at Adam’s apartment and the rest of the day was spent discussing
where he would go and for how long. When night fell they lay together and engaged in a form
of angry/makeup sex that left Adam wanting. The meth was still running amok in his system;
Adam didn’t sleep.
The next day Sal called Adam, presumably to engage in the routine
apologetic ritual that addicts did when they regret what they did and wanted to blame their
actions on the drugs. Hillary stared at his phone when it rang and her Precious Moments eyes
turned into horror when Adam picked up the phone. He stared at the screen for a long time
thinking about the conversation that would probably ensue. He closed his eyes and waited for
the call to finally go to voicemail. After the last note of the generic ring tone had finished
Adam went into his contact list and erased Sal from it before blocking his number all together.
Hillary smiled, gave Adam a soft kiss on the forehead, and whispered, “Thank you.”
Adam looked back up sheepishly smiling and lightly nodding. “I know that wasn’t easy,”
Hillary gave a glance to the phone as the voicemail alert popped up. Adam dialed the
voicemail app and the machine began to say “You have one unheard message. First message,
sent today, at 8:47 A.M. Central Time from 218-79…”
Adam quickly hit the four key on his phone to save the message and hung up. He looked up at
Hillary with a smile he hoped she believed and said, “There. Gone for good.”