by Kim Chinquee

She keeps a bottle of vodka in the freezer. Lately, it’s been disappearing at faster rates than usual.

He thought she wanted extravagant things. Like bouquets, and a wedding. She really wanted friendship. She wanted a break from competition.

She bought new glasses, even. Now, with these nice expensive glasses, she likes to go to Walgreen’s and buy lots of bags of ice so she can keep them in her freezer. There is no food in there, just the ice, and always vodka. This time it was Stoli’s. She was feeling extravagant and special. She liked drinking Stoli’s with her ice and Diet 7-Up.

Sometimes, if the bottle’s empty, she’ll keep it in there until another fills its spot.

One night, they walked down his street and saw the moon. He said he was tired of her whining. “I wasn’t whining,” the woman said. She’d been talking of her mother, who probably was dying. She didn’t want to see her go.

She called him one night when she was cleaning. “I’m going to sleep,” he’d said before she had a chance to say what she wanted. She wanted to tell him she could help him pay his rent. She owned a house out in the suburbs. He’d slept there many times before. They were trying to be friends.

She went to a wedding, and when they went out for coffee, she tried telling him about it. It was extravagant and special, like her drinks. He thought she was giving him a hint, but really, she just wanted to include him. “I’m never getting married,” he had said.

“I can’t give you a lot,” he once told her. She knew this. She didn’t want to be with him when he was drinking his tequila. She could stay home. She had vodka.

But in the morning, when both of them were sober, they met out for coffee. He bought hers every time, and he got an extra large with ice. Here they would talk about their lives when they were sober, sipping their caffeine.

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