Picture it: South Boston, 2012. A 40-year-old recovering alcoholic and drug addict sits in front of her Mac (which she still doesn’t know how to use), one hand trying to type something kicky and interesting, the other hand holding her cat’s head like a softball. This girl has the material – 20 solid years of bad ideas to cringe and laugh and write and learn about. This girl has the time – being a grouchy, disgruntled, and just generally bad employee during the day, and, unexpectedly in sobriety, a night owl. This girl is poised to write – finally, after decades of having the “pause” button stuck on any creative expression. This girl, however, did not count on her goddamn cat having other plans for her hands and concentration. This girl is me.
So, I’m Cara. A pleasure! I believe the best way to make my acquaintance is to dive on in to Caraland! Welcome to present day! Sunday was a hell of a day – let’s start there.
Against the recommendation of EVERY SINGLE PERSON in COOL KIDS, I got into a relationship in my first year of sobriety. I didn’t even want to meet this guy, let alone have a relationship with him, but some fucked up g-force thrust us together. In my romantic delusion, when telling the tale, I say it was all over after that first introduction – I’m a goner, lovesick, smitten. A timeless, whirlwind and endless romance would ensue. Love at first smile – o! The face on this one! You should see him! My darling, my sweet baby, at last we meet, hand in glove, hand in hand. Blah fuckedy blah blah. It ended on Sunday. I spent all day yesterday drafting the first entry for my Slushkitty. It was all about my disemboweled bliss. The draft was practically dripping blood, as I danced on it in hiking boots (which are, you may not know, considered a lethal weapon in Massachusetts), googling painful ways for him to die (being stung by 1000 jellyfish made me smile). But then I had to reevaluate what this blog is about, which is love and recovery. Had to set the jellyfish free and start from scratch. No jellyfish in this tank. No, sir.
I got an obnoxious dose of reality and recovery on Sunday – just because someone is in recovery, doesn’t mean they’re not an insufferable asshole (just kidding – oooooo feel the sting of the jellyfish!). But really, I’m not ready for a lovey-dovey relationship. It’s like trying to run a marathon when you just learned to tie your shoelaces. And about love, (get your barf bags out – I think this is going to be much too sweet for anyone’s stomach), I learned I have gobs to give. In this relationship, my gobs bounced right off him – he didn’t want them. I am very sad although it was only really a brief time that we did whatever the hell it was we were doing together. (And a girl doesn’t live on Steps alone, if you know what I mean, so there’s that – I am depressed about that, too). I reached out on Sunday and yesterday to my friends in and out of the fellowship, and the love was there. It was just there and I did not question it. I didn’t even think about it. It was there above all else. It was the center. It’s the foundation of every friendship I have. Love’s where it’s at. Word. Why would I want to be in a loveless relationship anyway? It would seem unnatural, really. Yet I know all of this and still, ten minutes ago I was weeping in CVS because our romantic inside joke Roberta Flack song was playing.
ANYway… Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day, and the parade was Sunday. For those of you not familiar with South Boston, it’s historically a sort of gritty, working-class Irish section of Boston, and where I call home. People flock to Southie for the parade every year so they can throw up on streets outside their own goddamn zip code. I was in a panic about being home on Sunday – not fearing I’d drink (what authentic alcoholic would EVER go to the Southie parade?? The bars are so packed, you’d seriously never get served, if you even got in. Good alcoholics stock up days in advance, and sit on their stoop, or stock up days in advance and sit on their couch and watch re-run after re-run of “Law and Order”) – but instead fearing I’d mouth off and tell the wrong townie chick to shut up and end up getting pummeled. At one point, there was such a hullabaloo outside that I pressed my face against my bedroom window and looked down to the street to see some drunk jackass on a skateboard with a beer in each hand, giving another drunk jackass with a beer in each hand a piggyback a ride down the street on said skateboard. They kept falling, howling, getting up, then trying again. I bet you they’re still wicked sore today. My house is two blocks from the parade route, close enough to clearly hear The Call of The Meathead.
I ended up sleeping until 2:00 and spent a while writing a thoughtful email to – we’ll call him “CM”. CM did not care to read the email, and with a very brief and sarcastic reply, we were over, just over, lickety-split, just like that! Whimpering and crushed, I find a Cool Kids meeting in Southie that started at 7:30 – I think the parade ended around 4:00. I ventured out into the post-apocalyptic parade streets – barf everywhere, beer cans and big red plastic cups everywhere, surprisingly pizza everywhere, people passed out in doorways and stumbling down the streets and off sidewalks, paddy wagons and cop cars with their constant flashing blue lights, some fights but fewer than I recall from previous years, people holding each-other up as they walked into traffic, cars barreling by, way over the speed limit to get the hell away from this post-parade holy nightmare.
The meeting was OK. There was one drunk lady, a whole bunch of 20-somethings in wife-beaters and sideways baseball hats, and a bunch of heroin addicts. T’was a balmy evening, so they kept the church door open. The juxtaposition was funny – the police sirens and Calls of the Meatheads outside, the alkies and addicts inside talking about how grateful they are not to be outside, getting stabbed or arrested. And then there’s me, weepy me, the first one with my hand up, saying I wish I was Drunk Girl on the Corner. We’d both have a debilitating and green (get it?) hangover the next day, but at least she’d be too physically sick to be able to feel the debilitating, green, emotional hangover. But I didn’t want to drink and I didn’t want to kill myself. For so long, these were my only options. Everyone in the meeting raised their hands and spoke after I did, and holy hell! These poor bastards! So many stories of deaths, accidentally clubbing old ladies, and mugging priests! Jesus!!! I’m just moping about my broken heart! Pain is pain, but still – mugging a priest? So, I leave the meeting, wade through the same St. Patrick’s Day road kill, traffic and hostile drivers. But can’t they see I am coming from a Cool Kids meeting? Can’t they see that I am at the crosswalk obeying traffic rules, walking a straight line? Can’t they see my shiny new liver? Why aren’t they applauding me for being sober this year? I stayed sober despite being alone and broken-hearted. This is a feat worth recognizing, Southie, my friend. You have my address. I’ll keep an eye out for the fruit basket.