Cough Syrup

“I’m in no shape for driving.”
“I told you not to drink anymore.”
“I thought I could stop.” I shrugged. “I guess I’m weaker than I thought.”
“No sulking in drunk tears, dear.”
I held my hands in front of my body. “I’m not sulking…”
“Are too.”
“Am not.”
“It’s like this: I’ve moved on,” Mary said.
“I thought you’d always be here.”
“Your drinking killed us.”
“So, you’re leaving?” I said.
“I’ve been gone. We’ve been gone. It’s been over. We just haven’t said goodbye.”
“So, this is goodbye?”
Mary nodded. “This is goodbye and so long.”
“This goodbye shit is so wrong.”
“Shoulda thought about that before…”
“It’s my fault.”
Mary cocked her head. “What did you say?”
“It’s my fault,” I said. “I’ll stop drinking.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“What if I tell you it wasn’t beer?”
“I’m listening.”
“The guys thought it’d be funny to slash my Coke with some cough syrup.”
“So, you weren’t drinking?” Mary said.
I shook my head. “Of course not,” I said. “Don’t leave.”
“Give me one reason to stay.”
“Because it’s been my fault. Everything has been my fault. My counselor told me about how I needed to take ownership of my mistakes, and I don’t want to lose you and make the biggest mistake of my life.”
Mary wiped her damp eyes with a tissue. “Fine. I’ll stay.”
“Is there someone else?” I asked.
“Of course not.”

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