This is what I have become.
I am sitting in a doorway, not a particularly large doorway, not a comfortable one, but it is free from vomit despite a distant urinous fug emanating from the very corners of this place of shelter. I have a 1/4 bottle of scotch. Scotch is not my usual drink of choice, but it was cheap and they didn't have any small bottles of vodka, and it is cold.
Scotch is a drink for cold weather, so I have scotch. It is in a paper bag. The man at the shop gave it to me in the paper bag and I folded the top of the bag down and left the bottle inside as if no one would know that I was sitting in a doorway drinking a 1/4 bottle of scotch if I hid the label from them.
The man at the bottle shop nodded towards the window, acknowledging the rain falling, quick and loud.
"Lovely weather,"he said to make conversation. I was supposed to say something back, perhaps something witty, something to augment his own joke. But I had spoken to no one in so many days. My tongue was frozen up. I felt my heart spring in my chest, a small animal attempting to scramble away from the nice bottle-shop man. Inside I was a panic. Outside I blinked and struggled with my expression, trying to remain impassive. I said nothing, handed the coins across the counter, took the brown paper bag in return.
The rain comes down like this sometimes. It is a tropical phenomenon, this plummet in the heart of summer, tearing the breathless heat apart and hinting at the possibility of ice.
In the past I used to watch the occasional downpour from my window, or run out into it and race back into a hot shower and dry clothes, laughing with the manic energy induced by sudden storms.
Now there will be no shower. Now there will be wet shoes and a slow iciness creeping into my bones. Now there will be nothing but shivering and feeling sorry for myself.
I don't want to cry but thinking about not crying makes my shoulders heave. I take another swig from the bottle.
I am sitting in a doorway drinking scotch from a paper bag. It is raining. My skirt smells old and damp. The pages of my notebook will be curling. My beetling words inside the notebook will be bleeding onto the page. There is a night ahead of me and another day and another night and more again and again and the idea of it exhausts me.
"I've got to find a place" I speak to myself now. The lack of communication has somehow changed my relationship to speech. Sometimes a word will slip out of my mouth. Sometimes a whole sentence. Sometimes I catch myself in the middle of an entire conversation, questions and answers, a heated sparring with myself.
"I'm going mad" I tell myself, tucking my shoes up a step and out of the back-spray of rain.
"I am talking to myself," I say to myself, "and I have to get out of the rain."