To Love and To Fall

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TWENTY-ONE

It is November twelfth now, Serena’s birthday. She is thirty-one. I wonder what she is doing with herself now. I wonder if she is thinking of me, but she does not call. Whatever plans she has are without me.

Mandy is sleeping at my house as usual. I leave her, and wonder how I feel anything for this girl. I don’t know anything about her but her last name and where she works. I am sleeping with strangers. The door closes and I feel hollow. I need something stronger to anchor to.

I stop at the Ciselli home, parking incognito by some overgrowth to see if Serena is there. I watch for several hours with no activity coming or going. To think, I came to this house every day for five years and many times after that. It seems like a ghost town now. I wonder where everyone is. I drive into town and call Denise, wanting to hear her voice even though she hates me, but no one is there either. It is like everyone went to a party that I wasn’t invited to. I go numb, I have never felt so alone.

When I get home Mandy is gone. She has left a note telling me to fuck off and die. I don’t care. She was like mobile furniture that had been sent back to the Salvation Army. So am I. Except I don’t know where to put myself.

Thanksgiving is in two weeks, the twenty-sixth. I keep waiting for the phone to ring, but it doesn’t. Serena and I always spent holidays together, usually only the two of us. But at least we had one another. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nigel and Denise invited her instead of me. Jolly sober buddies running to Rochester with the merry in-laws from Liverpool.

On the twentieth, Mark has his hearing for a trial date, which I go to because there is nothing better to do. I have never seen so many news vans in my town ever. Artie was right; they have forgotten about me. Even Mark has. He gives me a look as though I set him up. Feeling his contempt, I am glad he is in jail. But as the date is set for February and Mark is led away, I see the doors close on an eleven year friendship, just like that.

I am drinking now just because I don’t know what else to do. I hate what I have become. Because I had a few drinks at the wrong time, my whole life had been taken away. I want my life back, I want Serena back. I don’t care if she worships the porcelain goddess or the AA guru. My life was so good with her in it. I want my sanity back. I find myself praying even though I don’t know who I’m praying to. Anything is better than this desperation. Anything.

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