The glass was empty, even though I swear I’d just ordered the drink a moment ago. I felt the burn in my throat through a hazy brain-fog and realized I must have already downed it.
I ordered another.
This wasn’t the way New Year’s Eve was supposed to go down – in a painful swallow of booze and grief that made me want to sob. But I wouldn’t. Goddamn it, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of buckling under the disappointment and abandonment.
The bartender placed another drink in front of me, side-eyeing me with suspicion. “You got someone to drive you home?” he asked, piercing my heart with yet another arrow.
I winced. “I’ll get an Uber.” My voice came out quiet and meek. I cleared my throat. “Thanks,” I said with more force.
What was I thanking him for? For caring enough to ask, or for bringing me the drink even though I was drunk as fuck already? I don’t know.
The whiskey soothed me even as it burned its way down. It warmed my insides where he’d shovelled cold words and sharp insults. It dulled the memory of our last tumultuous encounter and allowed me to wallow in a pool of disfunction.
I was worthy of love. I must be. I needed to hold onto that conviction despite the doubt and the loneliness that threatened to send me into a dark spiral.
It was all that was left. A basic instinct for survival that I would grip gladly in my two fists and use to keep my head above water.