The dead phone line, thumped my ears. I jumped in my car. Husband stayed home.
I knocked on Bella’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 went up 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, 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, left her house, and took her mobile phone. I would search for traces of The 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 if she got worse. I jumped in my car, again and posted the phone through her letterbox.
My anxiety grew, a living thing, it crept into my body and made a home. As dusk descended, I nipped out, drove past Bella’s house, all windows were lighted against the night.
The light house was a sign: she 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.