Her first words were, "What am I doing here?"
He didn't know what to tell her. "You had an accident," he said. "It seems there was a mix up with your pills."
She looked away from him, at the IV in her arm. "I'm in a hospital," she said. "Why am I in a hospital?"
"You don’t remember any of it?" he said. He was surprised. Up until this point he thought she was suicidal. She certainly had all the symptoms. "You were brought in after I found you on the bathroom floor. Your pills were everywhere. And there was a smashed wine bottle on the floor."
"Oh God," she said. "I know I'm not supposed to drink with those. But I didn't think a little drink would hurt. I just had one."
He reached towards her and squeezed her hand. "Please don't lie to me," he said. "The doctors tested you for everything. Your blood alcohol level was through the roof. You're lucky to be alive right now with the combination of drugs you took."
She turned her ahead away. "Lucky," she said. She spat out the word like a curse. "When do I get the fuck out of here?"
"It's not that easy," he said. "They want to watch you for a bit. You've been in a coma the last five days."
"A coma?" she said. "For five days?" She let go of his hand and brought it to her face. "You might as well have told me I went to Jupiter. That doesn't seem real."
"It's real," he said. "I've sat with you as much as I could. Your dad is here. Ben's been in to see you too."
"Ben was here?" she said. "I can only imagine what he had to say."
"He is worried about you. We all are," he said. "What were you trying to do?" Joseph's heart ached as he watched her. It seemed he was having a conversation with himself from just a few years before. He thought, Is this why we connect so well? Is it as simple as one addict drawn to another? Has it been her I've wanted or just her sickness? My sponsor told me this was a mistake from the beginning.
"I wasn't trying to do anything. I wanted a drink. I used to drink before they put me on this stupid medication," she said. "I didn't think it would hurt me."
Anne glanced over and saw Joseph's guitar in the corner. She smiled. "I see you brought Betty along," she said. "I don't know how I feel about having my competition in the same room as me."
Joseph smiled. "She's been singing to you this whole time," he said. "The acoustics aren't bad here. I hoped playing some of your favorite songs would help you come back to us."
She smiled for the first time since waking up. "It must have worked. Here I am. Fuck. I'm a mess. Do I have to stay here, sweetie? I mean, really, it was just an accident. I didn't mean to scare you so badly. I learned my lesson. I want to go home. Back home to our cabin."
I don't know if you can, he thought. I don't know how much longer I can stay sober with you in my life. "Just a few more days," he said. "Then everything will be fine."
"You don't sound very convinced," she said.
He tried to form the words. "They want you to go to rehab."
"Fuck that," she said.
"I think you should go," he said. He regretted the words as soon as he said them. But it's no use, he thought. They are out now.
"I don't give a fuck. I don't have a problem. This is fucking bullshit. It was a mistake," she said.
"It wasn't a mistake," he said. "Your BAC was a .35. You also had coke in your system. And we know this isn't the first time."
"Fuck you," she said. "You're a drunk so you think everyone's a drunk. No fucking way am I going to rehab."
"If that's the case, then this is it for us," he said.
"Are you giving me an ultimatum? You've got to be fucking kidding me," she said.
He walked to the corner of the room and picked up his guitar. "I wish I was," he said. "I can't live like this anymore. I love you, but I can't put my sobriety at risk." He headed for the door.
"Wait," she said. "Will you just fucking wait?" She had more things to say, but Joseph was already down the hallway.