As Gia took a sip from what was turning out to be her fourth old fashioned, she turned to Antony, who had been named after Mark Antony thanks to his father’s position as a professor of Ancient Roman History at Columbia. They had, in fact, met in one of his father’s graduate courses before Gia became restless and decided to cut bait. Even so, she had remained friendly with Antony in the months since, turning to him in her rolodex tonight after few other offers proved to be more appealing. Slightly slurring, she asked, “What is it about drinking that adheres so easily to the once you pop you can’t stop Pringles philosophy?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with being an alcoholic,” Antony returned bluntly. He was always being blunt. That’s probably why she was vaguely starting to develop feelings for him, that vague hint of assholery speaking to the need within her to be treated like shit. That is, after all, what happens to a girl so used to being treated as such by her dad for most of her life. Or at least that’s what Gia’s therapist had been harping on of late in their weekly sessions. She was starting to think maybe she ought to dispense with Dr. Redondo–that $80 a week could really behoove something more conducive to her life, like rent.
Antony was only on his second glass of wine, showing remarkable reserve with all of his thirty-six years, whereas Gia, still trapped somewhere between youth and “adult maturity” at twenty-nine, wished she could show such restraint with her drinking. And now, she was getting to that tipping point, the one that could transform her from respectable lady to outright slore. But it would be imprudent to allow her body to rub up against Antony’s too inappropriately. He was in the midst of a breakup with his girlfriend of two years. She really didn’t want to be his first rebound, especially considering he was a serial monogamist and might immediately want to move in with her. Who could deal with such pressure? Gia could barely handle pressure when it was pleasurable–like a massage or lightly touching her bruises. And just as she was thinking this, Antony squeezed her thigh as he rose to go to the bathroom. Oh no, she thought, I’m not going to be able to control myself.
It was then that she swigged the remainder of her old fashioned and ordered another. Curse this male energy of mine, she rued. If I was drinking something more child’s play-like, something fruity and watered down, maybe I wouldn’t be so easily swayed toward giving in to the temptation of bad behavior. With that, she nodded lovingly at the bartender as he set down her fifth glass. To pass the time while she waited for Antony to return, she scrolled through the news on her phone. It was a depressing and nonsensical way to fill the minutes, but nonetheless, she had stopped engaging in any activities of value and was finally surrendering to the notion that this is what adulthood was: accepting atrophy.
And as she scrolled mindlessly through all the latest in U.S. media brainwashing, the only item that really stood out to her was the revelation that Carrie Fisher’s toxicology report was finally available, and revealed traces of cocaine, heroin, MDMA and alcohol in her system. Hiccuping as she pored over the details, Antony returned to his seat just in time to mock her for this little alcoholic’s affectation.
“Had one too many yet, Gia?”
She shook her head vehemently. “It’s just a lack of oxygen to my brain or something.”
Antony smiled. “Such denial you alcoholics have.”
She sneered. “You’re an alcoholic too.”
“Yes, but I’ve learned to own it. You, on the other hand, are clearly still in denial.”
Gia rolled her eyes. “Well, aren’t you so superior?”
He nodded. “Actually, yes.”
It was then that she wanted to choke him and fuck him at the same time. Are these feelings natural? she wondered. After five old fashioneds, though, it’s always a bit of a challenge to gauge what is natural. Before she could further question this combination of lust and contempt, Antony had noticed the Carrie Fisher news piece and commented sarcastically, “What a surprise.” And then, after taking a dainty sip from his still second glass of wine, he added, “That’ll probably be you in a few years.”
And, in that second, she couldn’t precisely say why or what compelled her, but she finally found it within herself to throw a drink in a man’s face after all these years spent being judged and condemned by them. As though Antony was the sum total of every one of the self-righteous dolts who so firmly believed in their intelligence, coming together to chastise her for her life decisions with that single comment comparing her to Carrie Fisher. Moreover, would it be so wrong, so fucking contemptible if she did end up like Carrie Fisher? When did enjoying drugs on an overly zealous level become synonymous with being a failure at life? Maybe it was those living at the baseline, in all their “normalcy” and “correctness” that were the true failures at existence. Because, in truth, there are two ways to be numb in this world: via constant self-medication or through telling ourselves soberly that going to work for most of one’s day and living in a fixed state is perfectly “fine.”
Well, this wasn’t fine to Gia, and it obviously wasn’t to Carrie either. Although maybe Gia couldn’t channel her broken heartedness over being unable to find a man who could understand this into art, she could make the art of her existence into a performance, one in which dramatic gestures like drink-throwing were merely par for the asshole of the moment prodding at her repressed, global ire and need for emotional self-defense.
As Antony wiped his face with one of the square paper napkins from the bar, Gia laughed. Upon leaving the bar and sticking him with the bill, Gia made a phone call to another man, one she knew would be able to give her what she was truly looking for.
The next morning, she was dead, OD’d on a combination of, what else, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and alcohol.