This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism, substance abuse, implied child neglect, depression, implied trauma, and mental health issues, mention of implied suicide

This story is a sequel to I Don't Know What to Tell You, which is on my profile, but can be read on its own :)

           Evan came out of the tunnel and stepped out into the blinding, blistering light of a hangover, sharp and lucid and ugly. He wanted to turn around and walk back into the darkness, but sleep was gone, and it wouldn’t be back. There had been a time when he had never left the tunnel, and in those days, he never had a chance to linger in the spotlight of a hangover. Evan reached for the alarm clock, certain that it was blaring even if the sound hadn’t yet pierced the asbestos of his brain, and hit it until he was satisfied. The room buzzed a little less, and that was probably a good thing.

           Evan’s hand found a bottle on the nightstand. He pushed away the urge to check if he had emptied it. His hand wrapped around it blindly, and he dragged it down into the trash can next to the bed. He heard it slosh as it hit, and his head throbbed a bit harder.

           Sometimes you fuck up, and you start over. For Evan, starting over meant tossing the rest of the poisonous shit out.

           He stood, and he thought he’d rather be dead than sober, and he mourned himself the whole way to the bathroom sink. He turned on the water, cold, and splashed himself in the face until he got the fuck over it.

           Evan had tried A.A. His ex-wife had brought him pamphlet after pamphlet, flyers, phone numbers, business cards. It wasn’t pretty. Some of those suckers had had some ugly stories, and Evan felt like he had walked himself into a madhouse. You’re one of us, come play with us, we all float down here. Hell no. He had gone home, pulled up some hypnosis video (he’d read about something like that working miracles before), and turned it off twenty minutes later with a beer in his hand.

           After Kathy walked out on him (and walked into the side of a moving train), their son took up her old space on his desk, filling it with papers and leaflets and articles he printed and highlighted. Evan tried a lot of it, sure, but it was all just so fucking ugly.

           Evan kept trying, and his son kept trying, and then the papers stopped coming. Dinner got quiet, and Evan never found his beer in the trash anymore, or tipped into the sink. Evan slipped away, and it was easy to get lost in the warm, burning hands of his favorite vice for weeks at a time.

           One thing that did stick with Evan during the handful of A.A. meetings he’d looked in on was the fact that everyone had the moment. The one, single point where “I need to quit” became “I’m going to quit.” Evan’s was easy to pick out. His son had needed him, at some point in the congealing, fogged mist that Evan called his life, and Evan hadn’t noticed until he wasn’t needed anymore.

           “Go get yourself a drink,” his son had said, curled in on himself and looking far older than he had any business looking. Evan had wanted to, ached to. He looked down at his son and thought he could use one, too.

           The thought had sent Evan tumbling out of the room, rushing downstairs to the kitchen. He had purged the fridge obsessively before searching the house for the stuff, filling large, black garbage bags and throwing them at the curb. He could see his son watching him from his bedroom window, and he felt ugly, just so fucking ugly.

           That day, the moment, had been months ago, and if you asked Evan how many months it had been, he’d tell you to kindly go fuck yourself. Sometimes he wanted a drink so badly he thought it might kill him, and when he managed to get his hands on one, he wished that it had. When he didn’t reek of alcohol, he reeked of cold, desperate sweat, and no matter how long he was clean, he never seemed to look any different than he had on the first day. It was an ugly, ugly thing. He was getting used to that.

           Evan walked down the hall, stopping at the medicine cabinet to choke down an Advil, and knocked lightly on the door at the very end.

           “Evan?” he said, pushing the door open slowly. His son was still in bed, lying on his side with his back facing the window.

           “You okay, kid?” It was gruff and rusted, but he said it. Evan, the boy he’d given his name and not a single fucking thing else, shrugged under the covers.

           “Not doing great today,” he said. Evan Sr. sighed and leaned his throbbing head on the doorframe.

           “Me neither,” he said, breathing it out like it might be caught by a confessional screen. Evan’s eyes left the wall and landed on him for a moment.

           “It’s ugly, isn’t it?” Evan whispered. Evan Sr. leaned his back against the doorframe and looked out the window at the curb. He had forgotten to put the trash out.

           “Fucking hideous,” he said. Evan breathed a quick little breath out of his nose, and it was close enough to a laugh. His dad plucked himself off the wall.

           “Want breakfast?” he asked. It sounded unnatural, like he had brought a wild animal into the house. Evan snorted.

           “Hell no,” he said. “Go make us some.”

           Evan Sr. burnt the eggs to nasty, ugly pucks. He started over, and they didn’t turn out much better the second time, but his headache was clearing, and he could hear his son coming down the stairs. They put the eggs on paper plates and ate every ugly bite. 

January 13, 2024 00:06

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Hazel Ide
16:44 Jan 20, 2024

This was really great. I read the first, the continuation felt genuine. Sad subject matter but you did a good job of portraying the emotions. Thanks for sharing.


D'Spencer Luyao
18:06 Jan 20, 2024

Thanks so much for reading! Definitely sad to write about but also important to share these kinds of stories. I appreciate the feedback!


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18:44 Jan 13, 2024

This is good stuff. Just read both parts of the story. Heavy, heart wrenching stuff but brilliantly presented and written. Feel like there could be a few chapters in these characters lives.


D'Spencer Luyao
02:20 Jan 14, 2024

Thanks so much! Definitely not done with them.


13:27 Jan 14, 2024



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