Saya ducks out of the classroom, tugging her bag over across her chest, glancing at the underside of her wrist to her watch. 3:00, thereabouts. She smiles to herself, she was done with classes for the week! She still congratulates herself from time to time, scheduling her classes so that she had Friday off – not an easy task with a full course load.
Saya pulls her phone out of her bag, unlocking the screen with a simple L design on the nine dots, the notification number lights up with 3. Tapping it, two are from Gregg, and one – as always – is from her mom. She takes that one first, replying that yes, Mom, classes were alright, she's on her way home now. Sent.
Now Gregg. I'll be an hour later than usual, he wrote in the first one, wanna grab dinner? in the second. She thought about this for a moment before replying with an easy yep, same place! Smile, heart emoji. Saya hated those, but relationship conformity. She didn't think Gregg liked them too much either.
Walking to the parking lot, Saya thinks back on meeting Gregg. It wasn't a very whirlwind kind of thing, but it was close. He had sat next to her in Southern Regional Lit, and they had hit it off. He protested to her that even things like Nicholas Sparks could be considered, even standing up for his first paper when the professor wasn't entirely convinced. She stifles a laugh at that – it's not that he was wrong, it was just so unlikely that this decent looking man would put up such a fight for something like Nights in Rodanthe or The Notebook.
Saya pulls open the door to her car and tosses her bag in the passenger seat. It will be a year in.. May? May. That they had started dating. He had caught her by surprise last spring, he almost sounded like a child, asking her to be his girlfriend. The last time she had heard something along those lines was middle school. She didn't hold back this time, laughing to herself at Andrew Watson, the boy back then, stuttering his confession out to her before they got on that yellow bus.
She pulls her car into drive and starts towards the university's exit, shaking her head and smiling at that fat little kid saying he loved her.
Yeah, but you remember how you responded, don't you?
Saya's smile falls a little as she does, her fingers gripping the steering wheel tightly.
It's interesting what you can get away with, when you cover it up.
Lan pulls a shopping cart from the stack, turning towards the rest of the store and moving along the aisles. Counting them out, even though he knows exactly where he's going.
He turns into the grocery aisle, despite this being a pharmacy, they carry some necessities, and stops to look at the shelves. Lan knows exactly what he wants, his eyes glancing to the case of beer, but portraying indecisiveness. He's thankful that the store has a rotating staff that maybe recognize him once a week as he puts two cases of beer into his cart, rolling it back towards the pharmacy.
There's a line, but no one really recognizes him, or pays him much mind as each file in to pick up their prescriptions, and Lan is no different. Doctors, shrinks especially, are happy to throw prescriptions at a patient if they think it will help. Does your antidepressant not work the way you thought it would? He thinks, then try Tartazine. Cimbolify, Azopram.. I could make a living naming drugs..
Lan's turn comes and he recites it off. Name, birthdate. “Oh, we have one ready, the other two.. one was denied by your doctor.”
Holding a hand up, he shakes his head. “No, just the one that's ready.” The one out of.. five, he counts, antidepressant, second antidepressant, antianxiety, heartburn medication, soporific, and.. naltrexone – the one he's filling today. The excuses he has made for accepting the drug and buying alcohol alongside of it isn't lost on him. One stops the other from working, but only if you actually take the pill. Lan had stopped taking them months ago, telling no one about it. Those around him had their doubts, but he presented well, and that's all that mattered.
“That, and these, please.” He tugs a case of beer up onto the pharmacy counter, fighting back the utter embarrassment of it as the tech scans it – twice, then the bottle of naltrexone. The pinpad prompts him for his phone number, which he gives.
“Ah, and how would you like to pay?” the clerk asks.
Lan doesn't miss a beat. The talented performer you are, you disgusting fuck. “Express pay, please.” He puts the case of beer back into the cart as the tech nods and the payment goes through. It's like a dig in his heart, knowing who is paying for that, and knowing they don't know that he's using it for this.
Taking the bag with the naltrexone he has no intention of using, he wheels the cart around and heads towards the exit.
Lan hauls his booze up the stairs, stopping to look at Saya's door, then down at the bottom. No lights, she must be out. Then again, there aren't many people that are in at 3pm on a Thursday.
Opening his door, he's greeted with the void of a dark, empty apartment yet again, turning to stock the fridge with the cases – an easy feat, there's barely any food there as it is. Lan hooks his fingers into the corner of the sealed flaps and tears the cardboard, pulling out his first of the day.
“It's good to have a routine, son. A routine makes..” he pauses, realizing he's parroting his father's words, which just bristles the hairs on the back of his neck.
Everyone wants to save you, and no one knows how.
Lan lets the fridge door close as he turns back to the living room. Pulling the tab on the can, it cracks open and he starts his.. routine. Walking to the couch and turning on the TV, he thinks about what his shrink said. When was the last time he showered? Jesus. And you showed up probably disgusting as fuck to that poor girl.
The inner mind is a very difficult debate opponent to win against. He doesn't bother sitting down, starting for the bathroom door intending to scrub himself head to toe.
But he doesn't forget to take the can with him.
- a recovering disaster? / twitter: @rgdrac
apologies for everything about me, it might get better.
updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)
feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.