Starting Over. Short Story.

Jackie took a sip of her drink, the house felt so empty now that everyone was gone. Thomas had left sometime in the last week, Jackie wasn’t sure how long ago it was exactly, he had taken Sammie, their dog, with him. He had said she had a problem, that she needed help. Jackie took another drink from her glass. Of course that was just like Thomas, redirect the blame anywhere but himself. He spent all his time working or out with his friends, leaving her at home and did she ever say anything about it? No. She had loved him and trusted him completely. But then he just had to blindside her like this. She should have seen it coming, how he pulled away from her at night, how he no longer kissed her hello or goodbye. He had called her an alcoholic, said she was delusional. Jackie giggled, the giggles turned to sobs.

Jackie turned on the tap in the kitchen, she waited for a few seconds, letting the water get cold. She splashed some on her face, then dried it off. She took another gulp from her glass, feeling the warmth burn its way down to her belly. He had the gall to call her an alcoholic, he was the one that was out almost every night, he was the one who had a drink or two to unwind before bed. She had a glass of wine with dinner every now and then, maybe a glass while watching a movie if she was feeling particularly indulgent. She shook her head, of course he would call her that though, he was always projecting his fears onto her. It was easier to see now that he was gone, all those accusations of cheating, his fears that she would leave him. It was all because of him and his behaviour. Well, if he wanted her to be an alcoholic, she’d be a goddamned alcoholic then. There was nothing stopping her after all, there was no one to look after now, not with him and the dog gone. It wasn’t like she had anywhere to go, after all he had convinced her to quit work. They were going to start trying for kids soon. He had promised and like a fool she had believed him. She didn’t know what he told his friends, she didn’t care. She hadn’t told her own friends yet. How could she when she hadn’t spoken to most of them in weeks, if not months. He didn’t like her going out, said it wasn’t safe, that he didn’t trust her friends. She wanted to call them, to tell them what happened, to ask for their help and support but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She had sat, with her phone in her hand, staring at the screen and willing herself to call or text.

Jackie winced as she sat up. Her head was pounding and she felt as though she was going to throw up at any moment. Carefully she got out of bed and made her way downstairs, there she took some painkillers and sipped a glass of water. She glanced at the bottle she had been drinking from the night before. Hair of the dog, they say it’s best for a hangover, the thought of drinking anymore made her stomach clench. Jackie closed her eyes and started breathing slowly, waiting for the nausea to die down a little. Once it had she shuffled into the sitting room, there she sat down and turned on the tv, making sure the volume was kept low.
Around five she started to feel a little better and food no longer seemed like an impossibility. She regretted the binge she went on the night before, she couldn’t remember her exact reasoning, something about if he wanted her to be an alcoholic she’d goddamned be one then. She wasn’t sure what exactly she had spent the night doing, but there were no calls on her phone and nothing was broken. Jackie knew she had probably just drank and cried. She’d been doing a lot of crying the last few days. The house felt so large, so empty without Thomas and Sammie. She missed him, more than she thought possible, but she hated him too. How would she begin to tell people? They were going to find out sooner or later. She wasn’t looking forward to telling her mother, she already knew what she’d say, “I knew he was trouble the moment I saw him.” with that smug little half grin she was so fond of. Jackie shook her head, she couldn’t deal with that. Not now, maybe not ever. Over the phone, that was the best way to do it. She’d have to tell her mother, but after that maybe aunt Doris? She was the family gossip after all, once Doris knew everyone else would too within a half an hour. Jackie wouldn’t put it past Doris to put up some kind of Facebook status. “Please keep my just-dumped niece in your thoughts and prayers in this, her trying time.” Jackie was glad she didn’t have Facebook, she wouldn’t have to watch that shitshow unfold. Hearing about all of Doris’ Facebook drama second hand was more than enough for her. The thought of it alone made her feel tired. Jackie picked up her phone.

The doorbell rang, Jackie knew she looked terrible, she’d been on the phone all evening and crying for most of it. She had told her mother, then Doris, then she had finally started calling the girls. Every single one of them offered to go around to her, she hadn’t expected it, she had no right to, but she loved them a little more just for offering. She had tried to defer them, but each had insisted, they’d come over and have a girls night. Watch movies, catch up and if she wanted to talk about what happened they could and if they didn’t, they wouldn’t. Jackie opened the door, Samantha hugged her tightly, not saying anything. Jackie started crying again, she couldn’t help it, it seemed like it was all she did the last few days.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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