Smashwords Edition, copyright 2010 Adam Ford
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Yeah, we were close once. Back before I cleaned up. Thing is, he didn't leave immediately. I was sober for years before the last time I saw him. Over time we bumped into each other less and less frequently. Initially it would just be that he would be waiting for me in the kitchen at breakfast instead of standing at the foot of my bed. After a while I'd only see him outside the house - at the coffee shop or the library, and occasionally on my lunch break. It was always good to see him, but our conversations were becoming stilted. Awkward. Forced. In time the awkwardness became embarrassing. The last time I saw him he was drunk. Really drunk. I'd seen him tipsy before, seen him trip giggling over cracks in the sidewalk, pulling me down with him as he collapsed in a huge furry mess, but I'd never seen him angry drunk like this. I was standing in line at the bank and he stormed up to me out of nowhere. I turned to face him and he dug a finger into my chest so hard that I could feel his claw through my jacket. I looked into his pink, bloodshot eyes. His breath stank of bourbon. I managed a smile and asked him how he'd been these last few months. He hawked and spat a wad of orange saliva into my face. I stumbled back, reaching for my handkerchief. "I got somethin' to say to you, pal," he said, his Irish brogue slurring with the booze. "I don't believe in you either." I closed my eyes and wiped my face clean. When I looked up he was gone. That was eighteen years ago.