Vickie could never describe the torment she felt on any given day. Why it took two bottles of wine before she could even sleep. How she would hear the whispered conversations about her on buses and trains. Strangers talking about her most private thoughts. How, once she had been though beautiful but now could not even look herself in the mirror.

She is well spoken and educated, so treated with a certain respect by the sort of person that thought those things important. Her Doctor, Helen Moffat,  talked to her like an equal and explained that alcoholism and depression were often linked, that her ‘treatment’ meant a life long dependency on anti-depressants and therapists. Without ever realising she was describing a living hell. To show willing she would give her old mobile number to the well meaning and say all the right things to Doctors and well meaning advisers. Always knowing that the pain she felt was her due, her punishment.

Paul had been the most perfect thing in her life. He had strength, not the strength of a man but the courage of someone who had endured hardship. When he was frail and when the world became too much, she held him above the tides and when she felt like she was drowning he held her tightly in his strong arms and whispered in her ear ‘I will never let you go’. For three glorious years, he didn’t. They walked in parks and talked and ate in restaurants and talked, with food in their mouths and sauce on their lips and laughed and laughed. They held hand in the cinema and at parties they would wander separately and talk to strangers and hen leave together and make the most beautiful love to each other, nothing was forbidden. No thing was too much. They knew each others bodies as well as they knew their own.

The night. That night. She was so drunk she kissed someone thinking he was Paul. As she pulled away, she realised what she had done. The blank idiotic face of a stranger. Looking over her shoulder she saw Paul watching from a distance. She could not explain to anyone what she had done, what pain she had caused. It was as though some loose door in the very attic of her mind had been unlocked. Behind it was some version of herself, some wild feral thing had been freed. Their were claws and teeth and a broken glass, a girl screaming and she herself was punched in the mouth.

Now she lives alone and speaks to no one. In five years she has not felt the touch of another human. Everyday is a random series of events. She used to tell herself that she drinks to forget but she cannot, the weight of guilt is to strong, so she drinks to hope speed her to death. Eighteen times she has had her stomach pumped. The nurses in A&E know her by her first name. She is a wreck, a walking corpse. Every night before she passes out, she hopes that her heart will stop beating.


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