My ears were thumped by the silence on the other end of Laura’s phone. I jumped in my car to drive to her house. Husband stayed home.
I knocked on Laura’s door – no answer. I telephoned – voicemail. I knocked again, hard enough to hurt.
She opened the door, bleary-eyed, and defiant.
I followed her up the stairs. She did not stop at the first landing. She staggered up to the next flight to her bedroom. I carried on right behind her. She could not stand still. She swayed. ‘Are you all right?’ I asked.
She did not answer.
I walked around her bedroom. I saw a half-empty bottle of wine. ‘This is what’s wrong with you. This!’ I screamed, holding up the half-drunk wine.
I pounded to the bathroom, and tipped the wine down the sink.
‘You’ve been doing so well.’ I began to lecture.
She had flopped on the bed.
I left her there. I left her house. I took her mobile phone to search for traces of Mr Big I Am.
Back home in the kitchen, my rage turned to fear. I did not have the stomach for searching her life on-line. I worried she may need the phone to get help. I jumped in my car again and posted the phone through her letterbox.
My anxiety grew, a living thing, it crept into my belly and made a home there. As dusk descended, I nipped out to drive past Laura’s house, all windows were lighted against the night.
The light house was a sign: Laura was up, and out of bed.
I did not know back then that cocaine sobered a drunk.
She went out that night to party some more.