Bang. The two shot glasses arrived back on the bar, empty and smelling like bad tequila.
“How do you know he’s not coming?” Ana, the wedding MC, asked.
Samantha couldn’t look up from the text message. How is this happening to me right now? It’s New Year’s Eve. We just agreed last week that we were going to take this seriously.
“He said he was just going to stay home instead… via text.”
Samantha recalled the conversation on her living room couch.
“You’re sure you can make it? Because my friend is putting out a lot for the dinner and band. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to. Oh, it's an open bar too! I think it’s going to be awesome and we can have so much fun together.” She felt life was finally starting to shine a little brighter.
“Yeah, babe.” David smiled with eyes half open, a normal occurrence when they’d been smoking too much after a double shift at the restaurant.
“Great. How do you spell your last name?” she asked.
“Wow. I’ll make a toast to you during the speeches. Everyone can raise a glass and acknowledge that he’s a douchebag.” Ana cracked a smile to see if Samantha would too.
The photographs will show that she had a great time. Every smile is genuine and full of laughter. She always looked great right before she drank herself into a stupor.
No one can blame her when it’s an open-bar wedding. The hosts expect you to get fall-down drunk. Plus, she could always eat more at the midnight buffet if she felt nauseated. This was a 50-50 toss up between making things worse for Samantha or better. She would either go home to her second story apartment with puke on her dress or the comforting feeling of an overstuffed belly.
She never worried about tripping on anything. Everything in Samantha’s apartment was neatly arranged; DVD’s in alphabetical order, cat litter cleaned twice a day, eclectic pieces of art and conversation starters placed strategically through the house.
She collapsed half on the bed. Samantha found it helpful sometimes to keep one foot on the ground when passing out, in case she needed to make a run for the toilet.
She looked around her bedroom. “There’s nothing for me here.”
The balance on her credit card read that there was two thousand dollars left available to spend. If she just clicked ‘buy’ then there would be no more arguing it. In one-month’s time she would need to take a leave from the restaurant, sublet her apartment, and pack her backpack. She had traveled before in Europe and the United Arab Emirates; she could really do this.
“Are you kidding me?” Erica almost choked on her beer.
“No.” Samantha sat back with her pint of Guinness. “You know I’ve been wanting to change. I mean how long am I really going to stay at the restaurant? I graduated Uni four years ago.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Erica relaxed. “So what are you going to do all the way over there?”
“I want to work for the Rugby World Cup.” Samantha sighed and added, “and I want to stop drinking. Ever since I did that lemonade cleanse I just think that maybe alcohol’s not right for me.”
“Pshhhh yah ok.” Erica roared with laughter. “Cheers.” The glasses clinked together, barely audible in the English tavern. “So what’s going on with David?”
“Nothing. It’s over.”
“That’s it? I thought you guys were really turning into something cute?” Erica grinned.
“Yeah, well cute just doesn’t cut it. And he’s a dick.” Samantha chugged the last half of her pint and ordered a rum.
Erica looked over her shoulder and thought about mentioning that maybe Samantha was being a bit too harsh. Afterall, she had kissed another guy when David and her had started dating. Erica thought better of agitating her friend's wound and realized that it was just immaturity. So she changed the subject.
“So you're going to send me some postcards then?”
“Kia Ora. Welcome to Auckland.”
Samantha stepped off the plane onto the long metal staircase. She scanned her new environment. Blue skies and hot sun met her gaze. The air smelled fresh and green. She already felt different as she walked across the black tarmac. Everything felt right.
“Excuse me, but where can I grab the bus downtown?”
“Right passed the yellow doors,” the custodian explained, “you’ll see the sign that says Skybus. Pay the driver when you enter.”
Samantha sat on a bench waiting for the next bus downtown. There were five others waiting and two of them had backpacks as well.
“Hey, where are you guys from?”
“England. You?” the shortest replied.
“Canada. Where are you staying while you’re here?” Samantha asked further. “I haven’t decided yet.”
“We’re at a hostel downtown by the Queen’s Quay,” the other chimed in, “come with us and we can grab a drink after we check in.”
“Oh my god, I would love that so much. I don’t drink though. I’m allergic.”
PRE WORK FOR SHORT STORY
Negative Emotion: Despair
Why did you care about this experience?
I felt like I had finally found someone with whom I could try to have a real relationship with. I had never before in my 24 years had a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. I was very immature in my knowledge of relationships. The foundation was all wrong, but because we had had an honest conversation about being faithful to one another I thought that this was the start of something real. And I did love David in the way that I knew how.
Why do you still care about this experience?
The moment that I was stood up for the New Year’s Eve wedding was the deciding moment when everything changed in my life. I had no reasons not to change. I wasn’t happy in my relationships, in my work, in my body, in my alcoholism, in my lack of love, in my inability to see a future. This hardship was the fuel I needed to buy a one-way ticket and move to New Zealand.
How did these experiences impact your life?
There was a momentum shift at this point. I couldn’t see what was happening, but I was beginning to put myself first. I was beginning to say “fuck you” to all the things that I thought were real; the way I should behave and move on to self discovery. Understanding that there is never any reason to pretend to be someone you’re not. That you don’t need alcohol and in actuality your life will be more amazing without it. When I started having dreams that were mine and mine alone … they started coming true.
Character to Drive Story Forward
Scene 80% - Exposition 20%