Our relationship had been failing before it even really began, like someone had built an arch but forgotten to put in the keystone at the top to stop it crumbling. And boy had we been crumbling these last few months.
I was lying on the sofa smoking with a bottle of beer in my hand, watching TV. Charlie had asked me if I could clean the apartment for him before he left for work in the morning. I’d grunted and rolled over, trying to get back to sleep, too hung over to care. After a few drinks I’d felt somewhere near normal and considered cleaning like I’d been asked, but then I heard the theme to my favourite TV show playing in the background and gotten totally distracted. I’d thought I had more time til Charlie got back than I did and needless to say, when he got back, I’d done next to nothing. If anything, my beer bottles and the fact the ashtray had started overflowing about an hour ago probably made the place messier.
“Lazarus!” I heard Charlie’s familiar voice snap as the door slammed shut behind him. I looked up at him, wondering how someone so angry could look so gorgeous. “I asked you to clean up today! Have you spent the whole day on the sofa?”
“No. I started, but I got distracted,” I mumbled, unable to look him in the eye.
“Distracted by booze?” he accused. I sulked; if I’d had a tail at that point, it would’ve been between my legs.
“I’ve had enough of this, Lazarus,” he growled, “if I had the patience, I’d wait for you to sober up before I kicked you out, but I want you gone. Now.”
“That’s very mean,” I told him, not entirely sure what he’d just said to me.
“Just how drunk are you? You’re slurring.”
“M’fine. Look, I’ll clean up now,” I tried to get up and get my ass out of trouble, but I kind of, maybe, possibly fell straight back down on the floor.
“Get out, Lazarus,” Charlie told me, pulling me up by the back of my shirt.
“I love you,” I mumbled feebly, watching Charlie stalking off into the bedroom. I stumbled after him, watching him pack a bag full of my clothes.
“I love you too, but I can’t deal with this crap. I need you out of my life,” he threw the bag at my feet and fished my secret bottle of vodka out from under the bed. Apparently not so secret. He shoved it in my hand and steered me toward the door, kicking my bag out of the door behind me. I turned, opening my mouth to argue, but the door had already been shut on me.
I got on the first bus that arrived, shoved some money at the driver and sauntered up the bus. “The wheels on the bus go round and round,” I sang loudly, flopping down in the middle of the back seat. “Round and round and round and round.”