by Michelle Hickman
Swirly red. Around me. Tasted so sweet. I drank it in. It left a burning heat in my belly and a grogginess to thoughts. I wanted to stay forever.
“Why do you want to stay, Patrick?” There’s so much more for you. Look.” A hand pointed at the yellow opening. “Why don’t you come in?”
“NO,” I snarled. I wrapped the mist tight about like a security blanket. I knew what was beyond that yellow opening. I heard the screams, the shattering of glass, and the ambulance sirens.
“You’re dying here, Patrick. Look at yourself.” The disembodied voice insisted. I glanced down. I was wasp-thin. My body shook in uncontrollable fits.
The voice was right. I was dying, drinking away my sorrows with my life left empty after the car accident.
I had eight shots of rum. Anna said I shouldn’t drive, but I snapped at her to get inside the car with the kids. I drove us right into a tree. I was the only one who had left that car without being wrapped in a black bag.
I sobbed. My tears parted the red mist. Intangible. Unfeeling.
“It’s all right,” the disembodied voice soothed. The hand reappeared. It led me to the opening, but I must take the last step. I hesitated before grabbing the yellow light.
Hands clapped as I opened my eyes. Twenty people sat in a circle with faces bright in the sunlight. The AA counselor’s hand gripped mine. He said, “You’re free now.”