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Renovation Blues
by George Gad Economou



“Have you ever thought of making a few changes around here?” Alexa asked as she sat cross-legged on my blue couch, almost buried inside one of the dents of the hard cushion.

“Like what?” I shrugged and had a swig out of the bottle of cheap red wine—less than fifteen bucks for six bottles is a damn good deal, even for drugstore wine.

“Like the couch?” Her eyes bulged. “It’s got dents, it’s dirty, it’s…”

“Imbued with magnificent memories; and it’s really comfortable sleeping on, at least for me, since it’s taken the shape of my body.”

“That’s what I’m talking about! And that desk, it’s worn out, the paint’s gone in more places than it’s stayed on. And…”

“All my furniture is of some age, yes,” I concurred. “That does not mean I’ll throw them away anytime soon. They’re still functioning, they’re still doing what I bought them for.

“That’s all that matters.”

“Don’t you want new stuff? A change would do you good, you know.”

“Nope, it wouldn’t.”

More wine glided down my throat, bypassed my esophagus, and settled in my whirling stomach. I leaned back on the desk chair, it creaked, and I put my feet on the couch.

“And that chair,” she continued. “You’ve used almost an entire roll of duct tape to patch it up.”

“You can hardly tell.”

“Oh, you can definitely tell.”

“I can still sit on it, can’t I?”

She pulled her hair back and rubbed the corner of her lips; she’d given up, but only temporarily. The glisten in her eyes more than sufficed to alert me about what was coming—I’d seen that glisten before, after all, way more times than I’ll ever be willing to admit.

Like many before her, and several after her, she wanted to change me; she’d liked me when we talked literature and life in the bar, over several rounds of green beer and double shots of rotgut, but I could be so much more. God, if only that so much more part had ever been true.

“Wine?” I asked, proffering her the half-empty bottle.

“No, thanks, I’m good,” she shook her head and placed her hands on her knees. “You know you drink too much, right?”

“I drink just about enough,” I corrected her—to prove a point, I drained the bottle in a single, magnificent swig. Without missing a beat, I unscrewed a fresh bottle.

“Just enough is, at most, a bottle of wine per day; not per hour.”

“Keeps me numb to sustain the bullshit of life.”

“Like me?”

“Like your need to change me, yes.”

“Alcohol makes you mean.”


She leaped to her feet and hurried to the bathroom, locking the door behind her. I cast a sidelong glare at the shut door, almost landing on my back as the chair tipped backward, and had a great sip out of the bottle. I rolled a cigarette and blew the first plume of blue smoke toward the window before I staggered up and flung it wide open.

A cold gust stormed the tiny room, creating tiny whirlwinds of dust, spilled dry tobacco, and ash.

I stared at the bright blue sky, at the sun showering the suburb of the small town with its refulgent yellow light. On the parking lot across the street, some kids rode their bikes around while guffawing and giggling and a few couples and groups of friends strolled across the small street, heading downtown or maybe to someone’s home for an evening of fun.

And there I was, wanting nothing more than to get brilliantly inebriated and work on the doomed novel, but I couldn’t. I was stuck with someone; stuck with bad cards and with no chance to bluff my way out of it. Doomed, doomed, doomed. Eternal damnation.

“You know,” she said when she returned to the room, water dripping down her face, “if you don’t want me here, you can just say so.”

I almost did; if I had had one more bottle of wine in my bloodstream, I would have. I was still relatively sober. “No,” I muttered, “I want you here. I just don’t want you talking about changing my apartment.”

“Why? I only said that a few things here could use an upgrade.”

“These things have soul. You can’t upgrade that. You can’t upgrade memories; and just because something’s new, it doesn’t mean it’ll be more comfortable.”

“If it’s about money, I can understand your reluctance, but…”

“It’s not just about money; sure, I’d rather spend what little money I have on booze, but it’s not only about that.”

“Most people like changes; it gives them a boost of happiness, of…”

“Most people think things will make them happy; that’s horseshit. I know people living in dilapidated shacks that are happier than those living in great mansions, changing their furniture and cars and whatnot every two months.

“Buying new stuff all the time is just an insipid way to feel like you’ve accomplished something in your life. It’s a boost to your confidence similar to a few snorts of blow. Quite frankly, I prefer blow. If I’m gonna manipulate my brain’s chemistry, I’d rather do it with substances I can put in my body and control.”

“It’s not illegal to buy a new couch.”

“So what?” I shrugged. “Wine’s not illegal, either, no matter how vehemently and desperately some groups are trying to ban it.”

“People are just more aware of the ill effects of alcohol and are trying to educate everyone about it.”

“Some people drank all their lives and died at a ripe old age, often reaching their seventies and eighties. And, if you ask me, seventy years is too long a time to live. Forty’s too much.”

Rolling her eyes and letting out a rather emphatic and meaningful sigh, she got up again and grabbed a grape soda out of my refrigerator—grape sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages had never been in my refrigerator before she entered my life. I like my booze neat, only occasionally on the rocks, and never mixed with sugary, bubbly shit.

“Those things can kill you too, you know,” I said after a good gulp of wine. “Too much sugar in them; causes obesity, diabetes, heart failure…wine’s more innocent than these toxic, chemical concoctions you swill.”

“At least, drinking a few of them doesn’t make me spurt offensive remarks.”

“I called that woman a whale because she blocked the whole damn aisle and still thought I could walk past her like she was a Victoria Secret’s lingerie model.”

“You drank three vodka oranges for breakfast, right before going to the supermarket!”

“If I’d been hungover, I’d have shoved her into the candy shelves the moment she started wailing about her not blocking the way despite moons orbiting her ass.”

“Jesus,” she rubbed her temples and raised her eyes to meet mine with a fire that resembled the glare she’d thrown me earlier at the supermarket. “Words hurt, don’t you know that?”

“I’ve gotten enough rejection slips from agents and editors to know that, yeah.”

“It’s not the same.”

“Why? I called her fat as a whale, and editors tell me I’m not good enough for their journals. Same thing.”

“Maybe, she can’t lose weight. You can write more marketable stories.”

“I can’t force stories out. I have to live them, I have to drink them into reality first.”

“Booze, bars, and drugs that you write about are not marketable anymore; most people don’t like reading about bums. They prefer uplifting stories, stories about marginalized people that made it.”

“Yet, most people never make it. Why shouldn’t art reflect that?”

“Because it’s too close to home for most. Art and entertainment should be about escapism.”

“Entertainment, sure. Not art. Art is beyond marketability. Art is about quality. Ulysses is art; crime fiction is entertainment. And I don’t write entertainment.”

“How about Sherlock Holmes?”

“Entertainment. Good entertainment, but, entertainment nonetheless.”

She nipped on her grape soda and I swigged more wine. It was still early in the afternoon and all I wanted was to sit in front of the keyboard and punch more poems out; poems about rejection slips, about failed love, about the unnecessary changes she wished to impose upon me. Punching the words out, that’s what has always mattered.

“You could buy a new couch, you know,” she returned to the hulking topic that dominated her head. She did believe that making me change my furniture would be the stepping stone toward turning me into whatever the fuck she thought I could become.

“I’m not getting a new couch. Every stain, every dent, every inch of the worn-out fabric contains memories.”

“Of other women.”

“That’s what’s bothering you!” I snapped my fingers and guffawed. It was meant to be a silent thought, but the wine pushed it out of my mouth.

“Perhaps,” she hung her head and twirled her long, ash-blonde hair around her fingers.

“Look,” I slithered to the couch next to her, the bottle still in my tight grip, “we both have a past. We’re old enough that having a past is warranted. And I’m...it’s not because of the past I refuse to throw away my stuff.

“I just like them, and see no reason to waste money on buying new stuff when these are still perfectly fucking fine.”

“You keep them because the memories fuel your damn writing.”

“True,” I nodded. “Without memories and booze, I wouldn’t be able to write. But, that’s all there is to it.”

“You don’t care about the future. You only care for your damn stories; even I am but a story. A goddamn story that hasn’t been written yet; maybe, you wait for our relationship to end, so you can drink and write about it. Then, you’ll move on to the next story. And the next.”

I drank long. She was right. I’ve been accused of it many a time before, and they all were right—except for two, but they’re gone now, and they, too, became stories, though they belong in every single story.

“It’s not like that,” I mumbled. “I just…I like how things are, I don’t want unnecessary changes.”

“Not even if those changes would make me happier?”

“So, you should be happier and I should be more miserable? Is that how this works?”

“Why would you…” She sighed and hung her head. “You don’t understand anything, do you?”

“Probably not,” I concurred. Wine failed to illumine what in the hell I didn’t comprehend.

“Well, I better leave,” she clambered up to her feet, slithering out of my weak attempt to hug her. “I’ll call you tomorrow, maybe. Think about what I told you.”

I drank some more wine and watched her—her head low and with a single tear glistering as it rolled down her cheek—go to the kitchen, put her shoes on, and walk out of my apartment, muttering a half-hearted ‘goodbye’.

After draining the second bottle of wine, I staggered to my feet, locked the front door, rolled down all blinds, and sat in front of my computer with a new bottle of wine to my left and a new pouch of Craven tobacco to my right.

I fired up some Hank Williams and George Jones οn the computer, cranking the volume up so that the heartache could properly be transferred through the headphones. I couldn’t write. The blank Word page stared back at me with great anticipation and even greater vindictiveness.

I took a good swig of wine and swirled on my creaking leather desk chair, letting my somewhat blurry gaze gad about the small room I’d called home for a good long while. Almost all the furniture had been there since day one—back then, they were almost brand new. Now, they were covered in drug stains, sex stains, and painful memories.

Was she right? Would trading them for new ones inaugurate a new epoch? Was Alexa the one to make me start afresh? Wine said yes and no, and with that uncertainty twisting my heart and head, I drank some more.

I killed the internet connection and unplugged the headphones, letting Hank and George and Alan and Waylon moan and bellow their pain through the speakers. I flung myself on the couch, the bottle and a yellow legal pad on my lap.

It was time for another conscious trip to blackout island, letting the scribbling of a forgotten night reveal the truths of the soul.

The wine only created lines about lost love, about the two women that weren’t just stories but imbued into the furniture and the room and the very depths of my psyche. With the third bottle just as empty as my soul, and my mind still sober enough to worry about syntax and spelling, I employed the help of my most faithful of friends.

I cracked a fresh bottle of Four Roses and the first good gulp out of the bottle was enough to flood my heart with the brilliant warmth that only the wine of the soul can bring forth.

A few swigs, and some badly rolled cigarettes, later, I reached my destination.

Morning found me on the floor, my body almost nailed to the dirty wooden boards while some evil monkeys banged their bongos in horrendous attempts to make music.

Lifting my head off the floor by a mere inch sent thunderous jolts of pain across my body. I flinched and rubbed my pulsating temples. My brain wanted out, it had decided it was time to bail and was preparing for the grand explosion.

The wet sock of a gym rat had replaced my tongue and several insects thought my mouth an appropriate location for mass suicide. My stomach whirled and when I sat up I gagged, swallowing down a smidgen of vomit that burned my throbbing throat as it glided back down.

I leaned against the door of my closet that bore too many holes—results of punches and kicks thrown during explosions of rage against the whole wide world—covered under duct tape and pictures of great (drunkard) authors.

With the help of my sturdy desk, I pushed myself up to my feet—and a small chunk of thin wood clanked when it landed on the floor. There was no time to contemplate that, as I sprinted to the bathroom and buried my head in the toilet, my entire body seizing as my intestines staged a coup and ordered a mass evacuation for all my internal organs.

The world spun as I staggered out of the bathroom, with water still dripping off my unkempt beard, and I grabbed two ice-cold bottles of beer; I chugged the first just so I could get some fluid back into my sere carcass, and the fuzziness removed the first layer of the hangover.

I collapsed on the couch with the second bottle and rolled a cigarette with meticulous moves, biting my tongue that had stopped feeling like a woolen sock, as I tried to make it as straight-up as my shaking fingers would allow.

The first drag almost sent me flying back to the toilet; with some beer, I swallowed the remaining pieces of my intestines back to the place eons of evolution have dictated for them and gazed about the room that hadn’t changed in years.

With the cigarette dangling from my lips, and the rising thin sheaths of smoke burning my nostrils, I lowered at the legal pad sitting on the couch; several pages were filled with new scribbling. Deciphering my drunken handwriting made me feel compassion for archaeologists studying hieroglyphics or the Disk of Phaistos.

My trip to blackout island did not yield the results I’d expected, or hoped for; for the most part, I wrote about the lost true loves and my deep-rooted loathing toward change. Nonetheless, slivers of emotion toward Alexa and of hope regarding a potential future with her emerged out of the ireful lines.

I drained the beer and crushed my cigarette in the overflowing ashtray. My phone sat neglected on the coffee table, buried amidst some towers of books. I had no calls, nor texts; just the way I like it. For a moment, I contemplated calling Alexa, in order to…I had no idea what I’d say, what I wanted to say. I put it back on the table and clambered to my feet.

My head continued to spin and my stomach to whirl; beer wouldn’t do the job, so I employed the best assassin for the job: a burning hammer—half rum, half vodka, with a splash of orange juice and a dash of bourbon. Its namesake wrestling move is considered one of the (if not the) most dangerous of the sport.

With my lethal concoction in hand, I cranked up some good country music and leaned back on the desk chair, staring out at the grey sky—darker clouds moved in, and soon it was pouring. Glad I had nowhere to be and nothing to do, I toasted the rainstorm and cachinnated at the people galloping on the streets with their jackets pulled over their heads.

I stole a final glimpse of my apartment, while Hank moaned about his lonesomeness, and faced the whispering ghosts occupying every inch of the tight confines of what sometimes felt like home and other times like a coffin.

With an unlit cigarette dangling from my lips, I returned to the war against the novel, against the word, and against the world.

Time flew by, as I sank two or three burning hammers before switching to tequila. Hank and George sang the blues and the rain had not stopped hammering the flooded street, keeping everyone locked inside.

A knock on the door had me spinning on the chair and I clenched my fist into a tight ball. Ready to land a brilliant jab on whoever braced the storm to pay me an unwelcome visit, I strode to the front door.

“May I come in?” Alexa stood all soaked at the doorstep, sporting that radiant smile that had hooked me like a fish going for the worm when I first met her in my favorite bar.

“Sure, yeah,” I mumbled and stumbled aside. Her long, damp hair fell heavily over her shoulders and I dragged from my cigarette, unable not to stare at her taking off her coat and boots, her tight leggings perfectly hugging her firm bottom and long, slim legs.

“It smells like a distillery in here.”

“Did have a couple of drinks.”

“It’s six o’clock,” she remarked.

“So? In Australia, they must be rushing to get their last call orders in.”

“Right,” she scoffed and went to the bathroom to dry up.

It was with immense comfort and speed she’d made herself at home in my apartment; on the one hand, I dug it because it reminded me of others, and, on the other hand, I loathed it because it signaled her intention to stick around.

“So, did you do anything other than drink today?”

“Did some writing,” I shrugged.

My heart leaped to my throat when she headed toward the couch with one of her damn grape sodas; my legal pad still lay there, and one of my drunken poems went like this:

bad women and bad friends will/make you change, make you/get new shit to look like you’/ve made it, will insist you/improve; they fail/to understand you’re just/fine, they’re the ones/in need of change, they’re the ones/fucking up your life and your/mojo. kick bad women and/bad friends to the curb while/you still have a soul/to lose.

She’d probably deduce she belonged to the ‘bad women’ category; a fight would erupt and with enough booze in my bloodstream not to have a filter in my mouth, things could get beyond ugly.

“Mind if I take a look?” She tapped the legal pad.

“They’re early drafts, don’t bother,” I shook my head and wrung the legal pad out of her hands, shoving it in a drawer of my desk. “Drafts are for no one’s eyes,” I explained and had a swig of tequila.

“Let me guess, they’re about me.”


“Anything good, or is it all bad?”

“I was drunk, haven’t read what I wrote yet.”

“All bad, then,” she sighed and ran her fingers through her still-moist hair that had begun curling up on the edges. “You know, I drove here today.”

I arched an eyebrow and drained my lowball, immediately refilling it to the brim.

“Perhaps,” she explained, “tomorrow we can drive to some stores, look at new furniture…” she cleared her throat. “You don’t have to buy anything, I just thought, it’d be a good idea to, it’d be a nice outing at any rate, and, just that, have a look at what there is out there, and, just spend a nice afternoon outside together, that’s all,” she added in uncertain whispers, pausing after every few words.

For a few moments, I remained silent, clenching and unclenching my fists as I tried to filter out all the curse words that swam in my mouth, ready to be launched like nuclear cannonballs. Her inquisitive stare remained glued on me and I knew—I fucking knew—I had to agree with her. If I didn’t, she’d leave for good. Or, at the very least, the dynamic of the relationship would shift, naturally for the worse.

“Fine,” I sighed, failing to hide my exasperation. “We can go tomorrow, see what…just to have a look,” I added, knowing very damn well I was lying both to her and, most importantly, to myself.

“Of course. Of course, if you like something…”

Why she said you, instead of we, or even I, is beyond me. We both knew she was gonna get her way. It was the carrot and whip principle, I suppose; making me feel as if I had a choice, so I wouldn’t complain too much when she got her way.

I cracked a beer and brewed some coffee for her; I had to slow down, pace myself into a comfortable drinking rhythm that wouldn’t allow for explosions of rage. After all, what I needed the most was to be left the fuck alone—and it’s the one thing that has always, and forever shall, eluded me.

The day, and night, went by rather slow; we talked, watched a couple of movies, had sex, and fell asleep. In a way, it felt good—nothing of importance occurred, nothing worth mentioning or remembering. Most days are like this; every day ought to be like this.

“Aren’t you even a tad excited?” She asked as she drove into the freeway, heading for the big IKEA store some twenty minutes away from where I lived.

“Sure, yeah,” I groaned and rubbed my throbbing temples. She hadn’t allowed me a drop of booze in the morning and coffee just can’t defeat the hangover.

“It sure shows,” she scoffed.

“Perhaps, if you’d let me have a drink, I’d be a bit more cheerful.”

“If you’d have one drink, you’d want to have a second; before too long, you’d be pouring your tenth drink and wouldn’t be in any condition to go to the store.”

I rubbed my closed eyelids, pushing my eyeballs back to their place as they seemingly wanted to lunge at the windshield, and swallowed down all the baneful words that swirled in the back of my throat. She was not the kind to shove me out of the car in the middle of the freeway, but I do possess the talent to enrage the women in my life, and peeving her while we did something I did not want to do would only add to the pointlessness of the whole charade.

We parked, and she skipped into the store, while I clambered behind her. I glanced at all the dull faces around me, the dull families, the dull couples; everything and everyone was dull. The world is dull; only proper dives are not dull, and that’s only sometimes.

“You can try and smile, you know,” she chirped.

“What’s that?”

“Never mind,” she rolled her eyes and crossed her fingers around mine as we climbed the long stairs to the upper floor where the furniture was exhibited for the masses.

Premade rooms surrounded me, all decorated and arranged with care and deliberation, making you want to buy everything as it was and change your life by changing your surroundings. Was there a point?

 “Wasn’t there anything you liked?” She protested in exasperation after we’d toured the floor without my showing enthusiasm even once.

“There’s plenty of neat stuff,” I shrugged. “I just don’t need any of it. That’s all.”

“You can be really stubborn, you know that? Don’t tell me that this couch isn’t better than yours?”

“It’s newer, that’s all.”

“It’s new, yes. And more comfortable, and more elegant, and more…I told you, if it’s money you’re worried about, I’ll gladly chip in. After all, I do spend an awful lot of time in your place.

“And, besides, once we move in together, we’ll use the furniture.”

Once we what? I almost bawled; the lack of booze in my bloodstream made it easy to choke down the question.

“I’m talking about down the road, don’t worry,” she continued. “At any rate, you know I’ve got some money, I don’t mind chipping in.”

“It’s not a question about money.” even though I don’t have any, I didn’t add. “I just like my old stuff and see no reason to trade them in for newer models that will have to be broken in before they become somewhat comfortable.”

“How about this desk? Isn’t it gorgeous?”

A simple glass desk; no drawers, just a modern design, and a cold look. There were no sharp edges, no areas where the cheap paint had been scraped away, no stains of melting junk or spilled booze. It had no character, it was the kind you’d see in a magazine—or in a house that hadn’t seen life in it for decades.

“And this closet!” She bellowed again.

Heavy, wooden—and, again, elegant and lifeless. No holes on its doors, no reason to cover it in black and white pictures of great heroes of the past—Hem and Scott and Buk and Fante would look out of place on that atrocious thing whose only purpose was to store clothes.

My old closet had holes that represented punches while drunkenly outraged at the world (or at some woman), had holes that brought forth memories of heated fucking sessions while high on ice and drunk on fortified wine. That thing looked sturdy enough to break a hand if it got clocked. I didn’t need a closet that could punch back.

“This mattress! Just the perfect kind of hard; great to sleep on! It’ll do wonders for your back!”

Did I have back problems that I wasn’t aware of? I kept shrugging and rubbing my temples, needing nothing but a waterglass of straight bourbon. And, most certainly, I did not need new furniture.

After a long time, and with her insistence ravaging my nervous system, I caved in. We bought the stuff she liked and arranged for their delivery. The movers would also take away my old stuff. It’d happen in two-three days.

“Look a little happier!” She planted a wet kiss on my cheek as we walked out of the store—my bank account was depleted, I couldn’t even afford green beer and rotgut. Thankfully, I had some hooch and tobacco left in the apartment—if I hadn’t, homicide might have appeared a little too tempting.

“Just imagine how much better it’ll look in a few days!” She said in great enthrallment, as she threw herself on my old couch, cupping a mug of steaming coffee with both hands.

“Yeah, better…” I groaned and sank the first glass of tequila. I gave me a hefty refill and cracked a Corona beer—mentally traveling to Mexico, to some lonesome white-sand beach in the middle of nowhere, without a single soul for miles. Me, the open ocean, and perhaps some wildlife.

“Cheer up! You haven’t regretted it, have you?”

“No, I…no,” I lied and drank up.


I remained seated on my desk chair, knocking back tequila and beer, and my head began to spin. I peered about at the apartment that was home—though I refused to call it thus—and which was about to change radically for reasons I couldn’t understand. All I had to do was put my foot down and tell her I did not want to change my furniture.

I didn’t; that meant I’d paid a shitload of money, which I could have used for booze, for stuff I didn’t need nor want. Miraculously enough, I did not get mean or crazy drunk; we watched movies, we listened to music, we talked. And the booze helped me pass out without tossing and boxing with the sheets plagued by macabre thoughts and suicidal desires.

When the movers came, she wasn’t there; the two fellas did arch an eyebrow when I answered the door with a waterglass of bourbon in my hand, but they didn’t comment. They just carried the old furniture away and brought in the new. In about an hour, my apartment had been transformed.

I stood under the doorframe connecting the room and the kitchen, staring, with my blood boiling, at the altered apartment. It felt wrong, it appeared wrong, it was wrong. This wasn’t home, it wasn’t the place in which I’d gotten drunk and high on too many substances (the mentioning of which might render the story unpublishable in the current environment), and had sex with too many women.

The memories of the two women that did wrap me around their fingers remained there, but the surroundings were too different, eviscerating the hazy from hooch and drugs memories. A stranger in my own home, I sat in the new desk chair that didn’t creak and fired up a Word file, writing several bad poems, and a couple of good ones, while fueling up on bourbon.

“Wow, it looks even better than I’d thought!” She said that same evening when she visited after work.

“Yeah,” I slurred even that simple word, already having a fifth of bourbon in my bloodstream. “It’s fucking amazing, isn’t it?”

“You hate it, don’t you?” She scoffed, and a film of disappointment covered her watery eyes.

“No, I…I just fucking loathe it.”

“Why did you agree to it, then?”

“How many times did I say no?”

“You could have…we didn’t have to buy anything. You said okay at the store!”

“After you pestered me about it for hours! You wouldn’t take no for a fucking answer!”

“You’re drunk.”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m always drunk. It’s how I cope with life’s bullshit.”

“Am I also bullshit?”

“More often than not.”

“I’m going home,” she announced and put her shoes and jacket back on just ten minutes after she’d taken them off. “I’ll come by tomorrow when you’ve sobered up.”

I slammed the door behind her and locked it. I clocked the closet; I managed a faint crack on the wood and a massive bruise on my knuckles. Bourbon subdued the pain.

I collapsed on the new fucking couch that was all too hard and uncomfortable. I stomped it, punched it, hollered expletives at it. It wouldn’t budge, it remained hard and uncomfortable, unsuitable for proper drinking.

With two fifths of bourbon in me, I finally passed out without noticing I was sleeping on the new couch.

“Are you feeling better?” She stood rather timidly outside the door, scuffing her feet and holding her hands crossed.

“No,” I barked and beckoned her inside; my heart was in my throat and nuclear bombs detonated all over my brain.

“What happened here?” Her eyes bulged when she stepped into the room.

“Tried to fix them,” I shrugged and cracked a beer. Not even chugging it helped with mellowing the damn hangover down.

“They brought them yesterday, and you’ve already…” She ran her fingers through her hair and a glowing tear rolled down her cheek.

The closet had received a few cracks; in reconciliation, it had bloodied my knuckles up. The couch sported a couple of cigarette burns; the mattress had been stomped and a couple of the new bed’s wooden plates had broken. Only the desk survived my wrath; perhaps, even while drunk out of my mind and lost in high emotions, I was sensible enough not to take it out on a glass fucking desk that would shatter with one punch.

“I don’t know what to say,” she mumbled, standing dismayed in the middle of the room.

“I told you I didn’t need new stuff,” I said dryly, using rum to get my hangover drunk.

“Is this how you react to changes? What if we move in together? If I want new things, if I want…”

“I hate changes,” I stated. “I made it perfectly clear to you from the start; you simply refused to listen.”

“This is not my fault, this…I gotta go, I’m sorry. I…”

I never saw her again.

That day, I swilled rum till I passed out on the desk chair. The new stuff remains—the old ones had been sent to a recycling center, hence rescuing them was out of the question—and every night, after several drinks, I try to break them in, make them feel old.

No luck yet. I did buy a baseball bat that might do the trick.



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