“You know, drinking your problems away isn’t going to help.”
I looked over to where the voice came from, outside of my kitchen. I chuckled and gulped down more Samuel Adams, “So?”
Andre rolled his eyes as he entered the kitchen, snatched the bottle from my hand, and slammed it on the counter, “I’m serious, Josh. You’re a pathetic drunk right now.”
“And you’re a dumb bastard for taking my drink away.”
Just as I began to stand up and make my way towards the fridge, Andre blocked my way, crossing his arms and laughing, “Now we’re using our high school vocabulary to offend each other?”
I pushed him out of my way and opened the fridge door, “I don’t need your sass.”
No beer left. All that was left was water and Gatorade. I turned around and closed the door behind me, “Mind making a pit stop?”
“Yes I do, damn it!” Andre yelled, slamming his palm on the counter, “Look Josh. I know you’re not in a good mood, but that doesn’t give you the right to throw everything away one by one. You’re a mess, just look at yourself.”
Unfortunately, he was right. This sensible bastard was always right. And I knew he was spot on about my appearance. I reeked of beer, pissing myself off in the process. My hair was probably greasy and sticking out abnormally. I knew from earlier in the day that the bags settling beneath my eyes with red rimming my eyelids were both from lack of sleep and from frequent drinking. Without a doubt, there was no denying the truth behind Andre’s words.
The worst part about it was that I was burying my grief under the beer she drank that night at Kilroy’s. The taste reminded me of everything about that night, about her in general. I thought the liquid could rehydrate my throat and distort my thoughts enough to where I couldn’t recall anything we had done together. Instead, it made those thoughts the only things I could recall.
Everything started to spill out on word vomit, “You know, Eleanor’s not even that pretty.”
“Uh huh,” Andre huffed out, following me to the living room.
When I settled myself on the couch, I was able to think straighter than previously. My vision cleared with illusions of her on my lap; nude and grinding on me.
“She’s beautiful,” I put my hand behind my head and leaned back, “Especially when she’s naked.”
Andre face palmed at that.
“One of her eyes is bigger than the other, too,” I pondered.
“She looks Chinese when she laughs.”
“It’s like she giggles to kill time.”
“And then she does this thing where she gets so nervous that she gets quiet and says two words a sentence. It’s adorable but annoying, and-“
“Shut up, you’re interrupting story time.”
“I don’t want to hear the same story another time.”
My eyebrows drew in as I laughed, “This is my first time telling you.”
“More like the 8th,” Andre said, sitting down next to me, “You can only form interpretable sentences when it’s about Eleanor.”
My eyes rolled before I closed them. Just hearing her name made my stomach drop.
“Josh, I didn’t decide to stay a week longer after my flight got delayed to watch you spiral down into a douchebag that runs away from his problems instead of confronting them.”
“It’s obvious that you love her.”
“And you can’t keep missing work. You’ve already missed two days because you’ve been too drunk to function.”
“She won’t even answer my calls!” I barked back, opening my eyes and running my hands through my hair, “What makes you think I can ‘confront’ this problem?”
“Well,” Andre inquired, waving his right hand around, “Try the other route. Actually confronting her face to face.”
When I licked my lips in thought, Andre laughed, “Come on, dude. You’ve never been this much of a pussy. You need to stop leaving that loose end for someone else to grab. If you wait any longer, it could be too late for you.”
“What do I even say? Sorry for telling you it was a mistake for loving you?”
“Try apologizing to her in a more gentle approach. Actually, a bigger approach. You’re going to have to do better than a verbal apology.”
A light bulb ignited in my brain, giving the cells life that they hadn’t contained in over two days.
I knew this big bastard was still good for something.
He saw me smile at him and exchanged the expression back, slapping my shoulder, “That’s the Josh I know.”
“I guess I should probably sleep and puke up this beer?”
“And go to work tomorrow with a killer hangover? Yes. That’s your punishment for being a sadistic bastard.”
With the time landing on 8:30pm, I knew it was best to fall asleep now. The fatigue was sinking in, and I had a day and half to make my plan fall into place. I was going to need all the rest I could get if I intended in remembering this in the morning.
“Want to make sure I wake up in the morning?”
Andre stood up from the couch after me, shrugging his shoulders, “Since the coast is clear of you acting like a dumbass any further so I can book a flight, sure thing.”
We did our tiny handshake and clasped each other on the back. I patted his back one more time and pulled away, “Thanks man.”
“Any time, man. Just try not destroying yourself again while taking advantage of me.”
I laughed weakly in response, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Though my reawakening thoughts and vomit kept me up half the night, there was one thing I was sure of.
Andre was my best friend and beer was the enemy.