“I have a confession to make.” Mark stood up at the table. His friends looked at him curiously.
“I don’t want to ruin your night, so I decided not to drink. It’s been three hours since my last drink; I haven’t gone without a drink that long in months.”
“Are you sure buddy because you sound like you’ve been hitting the bottle.” Steven said from across the table. He placed his thumb to his mouth and made a drinking gesture. Everyone at the table laughed.
“Ah ha. Very funny.” Mark gave a dry chuckle. “I’m drinking water.” He raised his glass of water in the air.
“So you say!” Steven yelled out. Everyone laughed again.
“I’m serious guys!” Mark yelled and slammed the glass on the table.
The room got quiet. His friends looked at each other an shrugged. Some mouthed “What’s wrong with him? and “Someone needs to chill.” to each other.
They were at Victoria’s house; She was having an engagement party. Her soon to-be husband decided her friends were too much for his taste and skipped the gathering.
Victoria was Mark’s “Girl that got away.” He regretted not telling her to tell Harvard to stick it and beg her to go to college in-state. The news of her getting married broke his already shattered life.
“Guys, just listen to him.” Victoria said. “Go on Mark.”
“Thanks. Well, I lost my job a couple of months ago. I had to move back with my parents, who gave my old room to their mutt and now I’m sleeping in the basement hoping not to die from mold inhalation.”
He could hear them whispering. He made out an “Oh my God.” and “No way!” He was already ashamed that after years of college he was now working at Bert’s Burger hut and living with his folks. They weren’t making it any better.
“I started drinking then. Man, I drank a lot! Liquor is pretty cheap. Being a drunk is an easy addiction to keep up with.”
“Then go to AA.” Theresa, Victoria’s best friend said.
“Shhh.” Victoria hit her on her thigh. “Listen.”
“I did but then I started dating one of the girls in group, people found out, and we got kicked out. Get this, she was an alcoholic-ier alcoholic than me. I ended up leaving her after she got drunk and tried to “Fly” from her third floor window.”
“That ain’t liquor my friend.” Steven laughed and sipped his vodka.
There were eight of them at the table. Most of them just stared at Mark without saying a word. He was uncomfortable and his palms were sweating but from the little he got from AA, speaking about your problems was good.
“I know you all have your fancy lives, working your fancy jobs, and driving your fancy cars. I know you look at me with pity.”
No one said anything.
“I felt your half dead hugs and your mediocre hand shakes. Sally I saw how your face soured when you noticed the hole in my shirt. The only one that hasn’t treated me different all night is Victoria.”
Victoria’s eyes opened wide and her cheeks turned red with embarrassment as everyone turned to look at her.
“I never stopped loving you Vicky. I wish I never let you go. You were the best thing that every happened to me. I love you!”
Everyone waited for her reply.
“Mark. Mark?” Victoria shook Mark’s shoulders. He had begun to daydream in the middle of dinner.
It was all in his head from the minute he stood up. “Damn you AA, not gonna happen.” He tought. “Whose wants a drink? I know I need one.” He said as he filled his class with alcohol. “That’s better.”