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Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Fall 2015.

The weather remains surprisingly warm, but despite the sunshine leaking in through her bent shades Andy remains cocooned in her bed. Covered in old quilted blankets her mother made when she was a baby, Andy shuts her eyes against the impeding warmth of the outdoors. Empty bottles of wine and brandy line her floor like soldiers guarding her from sobriety. The mattress sags toward the ground at an awkward ankle from recent sexual exploits and one pale, boney foot rests on the hardwood.

The only other piece of furniture in the darkened room is a coffee table, painted with a chalkboard paint and covered in strange, demonic scribblings. On top of the artwork of Andy and her friends sits: a wine bottle made into a bong, remnants of weed, half sharpened pencils, chunks of charcoal, a tattered planner, Andy’s beloved and cracked iPhone, and half-started stories or poems.

Andy had always considered herself an artist, but it was clear by her living quarters she wasn’t quite sure what type of artist.

With no warning, her iPhone buzzes loudly against the wood of her coffee table, playing a song she had set as her alarm years ago. “No one, no one can get in the way of what I’m feeling” her phone croons as she reaches with one arm, eyes still closed, attempting to swipe at her screen.

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. She moans to herself or thinks to herself. These days she has a hard time distinguishing from the words in her head and the words that come tumbling out of her mouth. Walking her fingers across the coffee table she manages to knock the phone just out of reach with her pinky finger forcing her to sit up.

The world spins and her body seems to ooze in every direction as gravity begins to move the alcohol settled into her blood stream. She had long ago stopped caring about the amount she drank. It had been months since she last tried to convince herself to stop drinking, it had been weeks since she had a sober morning.

9:30 am. She knew the time not because she could read the blurry numbers, but merely because she never changed her alarm. The world spun slowly, hazily around her. Her stomach constantly felt like an empty balloon filled with water left out in the summer heat. Every morning she relearned how to walk, her bones and muscles constantly sore from the rag-doll she turned into each night after her 8th or 9th shot of brandy, bourbon, or whiskey.

Standing up from her bed, the blankets fall away to reveal a pale, gaunt body. Tattoos litter her ribcage, hip bones, and thighs. One underneath her right breast has the faint red burn of being only a week or so old. She grabs an oversized plaid shirt from the corner of her room, a shirt clearly left by some conquest or another, and buttons it up to just between her breasts. As she pulls on a pair grey lace panties her bedroom door rattles as the front door slams shut.

Thank god, Molly’s left. Andy forgoes pants and wanders into the chilly living area of their loft apartment. Not much in the apartment belongs to Andy, actually nothing besides an old record player and stash of records. Molly needed a roommate and Andy needed a place to live after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend and roommate, Everett. Molly and Andy were similar in artistic nature, similar in their level of emotional trauma and drama, and both apt to come home and close their bedroom door to the world. They passed each other at night, taking turns showering, or as one was leaving for a party and the other was returning to sleep. Their conversations were short and to the point. Often about bills or art shows around town.

Andy grabs a beer from the fridge and hops onto the kitchen counter to drink. In a daze she sits stroking her own hair, feeling the different lengths in her asymmetrical haircut, poking at her chin finding strange bruises and emerging pimples, caressing down her own body noticing the ins and outs around her ribcage and her hips. She trails her hand between her legs and tries hard to picture the one thing, the one person who would make her happy.

Nothing comes to mind.

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