inside the mind” by Kayla Richards-Ferreira, @kaylashart

It started off small, like a flower blooming. A shot here, a glass or two there, maybe even an entire bottle. It started happening too often, and Andrew was seeing it happen too much.

More than a few times too many.

“Amber!”

[Silence]

“I brought you some food! I figured you’d want something after the interview today-”

Just from stepping inside of the apartment, he knew. He could already smell the liquor fuming from the tiny bathroom in his apartment. The chances of the interview going well (especially since Amber was drunk) were about the probability of a human going to Mars. After putting the grocery bag full of snacks on the counter, Andrew made his way towards the bathroom. He panicked, trying to prepare himself for what to say to her.

‘How’d it go?’ ‘Are you okay?’ ‘I picked up some lucky charms’ ‘Do you love me?’

So many possibilities, far too many for him to pick just one thing to say to her.

“Hi sweetie- I um- I didn’t make it to the interview… l, there was bad traffic again, I’m sorry”

“You said you were going to get better Amber, you’re not even trying”

“I AM! I-I’m trying Drew, I’m trying so hard”

“Is that why you’re puking in my apartment at 12 in the afternoon? Jeez, Amber!”

“You know how much I love you, right?”

“I don’t care, because you’re drunk on my bathroom floor and I can’t remember the last time you…”

“WHAT?! Go on and spit it out!”

“Never mind Amber”

He felt unconditional love for Amber. She was always on his mind, replaying like an addictive melody. On the first day they met, Amber had her eyes set on him. She wondered who the new kid in her psychology class was. Who joins this class in the middle of the semester? After class, Andrew stayed to introduce himself to the teacher. He stayed behind for at least 20 minutes, but so did Amber. After what seemed to be a long conversation, Andrew turned around and saw her staring at him.

“You talked his ear off, didn’t you? Thought I was about to witness you two making out or something”

“Uh no- I wasn’t-”

“Relax chipmunk, I’m just pulling your tail”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m great, a little tipsy, but…”

“Ha! That’s a good joke”

“Yeah! Right… a good joke”

Their ‘small talks’ started happening more and more often, with her approaching him to talk about something out of proportion. Finally, he asked her out on a date, their first genuine opportunity to showcase their feelings for each other.

“You’re funny Amber”

“Well, I don’t get that a lot, but thank you Drew”

“Drew?”

“Yeah, it’s my nickname for you… ya like it?”

“Yeah, I like it”

“I mean, I just figured that since you like me and we’re dating and all-”

“We’re dating?”

“Yeah, and since we are… I figured why not a nickname? That’s what people do when they care about each other, right?”

“Right”

Andrew tried his best to recall the moments they spent together before the honeymoon phase came to an abrupt end. All the moments were there, they just weren’t real. Amber had never been fully present throughout their relationship and that took a toll on Drew. The interview was all her idea, but he supported it more than he could express. Amber felt that it was going to be a BIG step for her and she was going to come back with her brand new job and even newer version of herself. But she didn’t. There was something in the air. Some sort of tension that she felt would be released if she stopped and got ‘a little road snack.’ Amber didn’t mean to buy a bottle of tequila, but can you stop fate? There was nothing left for her except for Andrew, but he couldn’t understand. He spent too much of his time worrying about her well-being, rather than thinking of how she was dealing with and processing everything in her mind.

“Amber, I can’t- I need you to go”

“Drew, you don’t mean that, you- you don’t, you want me to stay”

“It’s Andrew”

“But I-”

“Don’t call me Drew anymore”

“Are we breaking up? Right now?”

“I-I think so”

“I saw it coming… a guy like you is way too good for a girl like me”

There it was again. Amber’s attempt to make it seem like she needs comforting more than communication. Andrew wasn’t stupid, no matter how many times she made him feel that way. He would always be there for her. He would always be there to offer her a place to sleep, a hand to hold, or anything else she desired from him. That would never change, no matter what happened between the two of them.

“Amber, it’s not that… you know it’s not that…”

“Then what is it?”

“Amber, all the things that you say to me… they aren’t real because you are never really here when you say them”

“… love you…”

“That’s sweet, but I… I wish you were sober”

Amber knew that he was serious this time. All the other times when he had caught her, he’d console her and make sure she was okay. But this time, things were different.

“I’m going to get you some clean clothes, there’s food in the kitchen, and um-” “Andrew”

“-You can stay here tonight but I’m leaving so… lock up when you leave and I’ll see you… around Amber”

“I’m gonna get better… Andrew I’m serious”

“That’s what you said last time”

Nothing was going to change, and Andrew didn’t have time to wait around for Amber’s meaningless ‘nothings’. Something had to change, even if it required Andrew to do the majority of the changing in their relationship. It was all for the better, right? The break up, the going out at 2 am unexpectedly to get drunk with strangers, it was all leading to something better for them both, or at least Andrew hoped it would. Sometimes the people that Amber cared for treated her as if she was composed of bricks. She felt like they did not care for her in the way they should have. And maybe that was what caused the wires in her brain to light on fire.

“I love you Amber, I really do, but I want you to be healthy… your wellbeing is more important than-”

“My love for you?”

“It’s true, even if it you don’t want to admit it”

Amber was 25, but if you asked Andrew he would tell you she acted 35; especially after she had a little something to drink. Her idea of their relationship was that they loved each other and Andrew would always be there for her, but that wasn’t the case. It was never the case. And in some aspects, him loving her, and her loving him, was just as bad as her own personal addiction.

piece written by @cami.wrighttt

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