Red | Carrie Padian

The glass with the tiny red flowers that I bought in that thrift store when I was looking for something that would make my house look more like someone lived there and less like a part-time frat house/youth hostel, that is the glass I’m using to empty this bottle of sweet red wine left over from my birthday. I’m committed to seeing the bottom of it.

One of the cats meows and sniffs at the bottle, giving it a tentative lick. I push her away, hearing Vanessa’s long ago voice in my head yelling about what cats should and shouldn’t eat. Wine, I guess, is not on the approved list. The cat meows and I shove her gently off the kitchen table. No, I say, this is not for cats, though in truth I hate to drink alone. After all, we’re having a celebration of sorts, aren’t we? An arrival at a region civilized men commonly refer to as “rock bottom”. Or maybe it’s rock bottom adjacent because you’re only supposed to hit the bottom once and this neighborhood is starting to look very, very familiar. I’ve been here before.

A fruit fly alights on the lip of my glass and I don’t even care anymore, I don’t care enough to brush it away. It’s just another tiny milligram pushing down on me, holding my thighs against this chair. I’m so grossed out by my own self-pity these days. And yet, the wine is fiery sweet down my throat and that bottle’s not empty yet.

I feel like a Lifetime movie or at least the first two thirds of one, before anyone really notices the main character has a “problem”. In the next scene I start to really embarrass myself, showing up to work drunk and slurring my words. Maybe not wearing pants, I don’t know. I’d never let that happen. Work is the only part of this life that consistently matters, or where I consistently matter within it.

The Formica tabletop is cool against my cheek. I’m fine, I say to no one in particular. I’m just resting, waiting for this wave of hate to slip on by and move past me into the night. If I just stop moving this time maybe it’ll let me be.

Carrie Padian is a perpetual writing student and observer, lately pursuing her BA in English/Creative Writing at Marylhurst University. In her non-school, non-work hours she facilitates writing workshops for Write Around Portland and devours as much as she can of the written word. Her poetry has been published in the online journals Voicecatcher and Straight Forward Poetry as well as the book code-poems.