I cough a few times. My hands are shaking like usual and my head feels thick and heavy with knowledge and chemicals and work I have to do tomorrow. Fireworks are going off out the window and outside strangers are making resolutions with family and friends or getting drunk and having dangerous reckless sex with roommates that neither of them will talk about in the morning. I’m in a small apartment with a cat, a cat with one eye and no dignity. I’m wearing the only T shirt I wear on these nights. It used to be white but is now stained to yellowed brightness with a combination of stomach acid, purple jelly, and bleach.
The bucket gradually fills with fluid. There is some blood. The smell of bleach mingles with the tastes of a clean bathroom, a chemistry lab, and sweet peanut butter. I wipe tears from my eyes and cough a few times. A tadpole shaped dribble of bleachy spit swims down my chin and neck.
My throat burns. My brain is full of so many words I can’t keep track of it all, a library of “youarenotalone” and “itgetsbetter” and “idonthavefeelingsforyouanymore” -I lean back against the wall, my twitchy eyes close and my shaking hands grip the half-gallon of milk with shocking strength. First aid for too much of a base such as bleach is milk. Lots of milk. If you’re in a hospital, it includes an IV as well, but needless to say I’m in an apartment with a cat and not in a hospital with nurses and an IV.