EXCERPT: That’s why I drink every night
Two long days passed and I was nearly tearing out my hair and scratching off my skin, not knowing where I stood with Emiline. I needed something to occupy my mind until I could call her again. I pulled off the dirty sex sheets and folded them neatly and placed them in the closet so that they would retain Emiline’s scent, and then put on clean sheets and called up Brittany, a girl I had met and slept with once, months before.
She arrived one hour later.
I opened the front door and leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. Standing in the doorway she said, “I didn’t expect to hear from you. Such a pleasant surprise.”
Brittany moved from the doorway of my apartment to the bed where she sat on it’s edge, leaning back onto her arms, her head falling a bit to the side, allowing her auburn hair to drape over her right shoulder.
“Can I get you a drink?”
“A glass of wine would be nice.”
I poured two glasses of wine and then joined her on the bed. As she took her first sip I brushed away the remaining stands of hair from her left shoulder and began kissing her neck. Her nape was overly perfumed and its heavy scent stung my nose and lips.
“That feels so nice,” she said.
Brittany placed her glass on the nightstand and then pulled my shirt off over my head and pushed me down onto my back. As she started kissing her way down my chest the Stephen Stills’ song, ‘If you can’t be with the one you love than love the one you’re with’ started playing in my mind and continued throughout the duration of the act.
Immediately afterwards, I put my underwear back on and went to the kitchen and poured myself another glass of wine and lit a cigarette. When I returned to the bedroom I sat in a chair on the other side of the room. Brittany lay spread out naked on top of the messed sheets.
“What are you doing way over there?” she asked.
“Smoking a cigarette,” I said in a flat tone.
She repositioned herself into the seated position, legs pulled up tightly into her chest. I looked down at the ground and feigned interest in a pack of guitar strings sitting on the floor. When I looked back in Brittney’s direction she was glaring at me.
“Listen, I don’t have any delusions here about the nature of our relationship. But you did just fuck me, so you could at least have the decency to fake a little post-coital intimacy.”
I laughed so hard I swallowed the smoke I inhaled and began to cough. This, in turn, sent Brittney into a fit of laughter. I got up out of my seat and joined her in the bed. I lay down next to her and she rested her head on my chest. I still didn’t like the smell of her perfume. We both stared up at the ceiling. No words were exchanged. Every time she moved, her long hair would find its way into my nose or mouth. Finally, Brittany broke the tension.
“I actually do have a busy day tomorrow and I’m sure you’re tired so I’m just going to go.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m sure.” Brittany began rummaging around the bed searching for her underwear. She put her panties on under the sheets and then got out of bed and secured her bra. I sat up and lit another cigarette as she finished getting dressed. Once fully clothed, she leaned over and kissed me on the lips. “Feel free to call me anytime,” she said.
“Yeah, sure, why not? I’m a big girl. I can handle it.”
She didn’t wait for my reply. Instead she turned and went for the door.
As soon a she was gone, I pulled the Brittany sex sheets off the bed and put the Emiline sheets back on and fell asleep.
Matthew Binder has never published a thing. In fact, before penning That’s Why I Drink Ever Night, his entire fiction output was limited to a single short story about a small boy and the pet alligator that he hid from his mother. Matthew wrote that tale when he was nine years old.
That’s Why I Drink Every Night is a coming-of-age novel about a lovesick hipster adrift in the druggy SoCal indie music scene, hewing close in tone to a Sam Lipsyte or Ben Lerner novel. The story follows Jack Graves, an oversexed/underemployed musician, as he attempts to balance a burgeoning music career with a volatile romance that may just be his salvation, if it doesn’t kill him first.