I walk across the road to the drugstore. I need to turn back. I need to get rid of these voices in my head. I open the door. The lady at the make-up counter smiles at me, and I keep moving, past the make-up. I pick up the tool I need to buy. I walk to the check-out. The lady looks from me to my purchase. She smiles, how are you? I’m okay, I croak, my throat raw from my head cold. This is a lie. I am far from okay. I need her to do something, anything, I need her to ask me if I’m okay, and really mean it. I need her to say that I shouldn’t buy this…

But she just smiles and asks if I have a store card.


She hands me the change.

Thank you.

Do you need a bag?

No, thanks.

We exchange one final smile, mine fake, hers worried. I wonder if she has guessed yet. I wonder if she can picture the scars, the lonely summer nights…

I shove the tools in my bag, with my wallet, and walk out the door.

Agh. I hate myself sometimes. I thought I was better. But the new tools lie in my purse… I don’t think I’ll be able to resist them this time.

Three months clean. Well, at least I’ve made it this far.

I’m so sorry.