The inspiration behind this post:
My grandfather was a Navy Seal. When he returned from Vietnam he began to drink, a lot. Thankfully, he realized the hole that he was digging for himself and forced himself to stop drinking. This post is loosely based on that need to numb the pain and past that is thought to be found at the bottom of a bottle.
She woke up screaming that night, still feeling the Afghan sun beat down on her back as she sat straight up. She closed her mouth once realizing that it was just a dream. Less like a dream and more like memories. Her heart pounded in her ears, pulsating the sweat through her shirt. She stared into the dark corners of her room. She lunged to her bedside table and began dialing David’s number. Before he could pick up the phone, she hung up. A feeling of terror combined with extreme depression gripped her heart. She rushed into the kitchen flinging on the lights while she rummaged through the cabinets. Finally, she found what she was looking for. She reached for a glass but decided that she didn’t need one and started to guzzle the vodka. Choking on the strong taste, she spit it out into the sink only to press her lips against the bottle and tip her head to the ceiling. She stopped drinking long enough to catch her breath only to take another mouthful. The last thing she remembered before she blacked out was the sound of the vodka bottle crashing to the floor.
She awoke a few hours later lying in a sea of broken glass. The vodka bottle had shattered to a million pieces around her. She pulled herself to her feet and carefully stepped around the broken glass to reach the broom. After cleaning the puddle of liquor and what was left of the bottle, she stepped into the shower hoping to wash the stench of vodka from herself. Zehira could smell liquor coming from her as the warm water ran down her olive toned skin. Still tipsy from the night before, she stumbled out of the bathroom and to the closet where she pulled on the first thing she saw.
She thought back to her parents and the stories they would tell her of Israel. She could almost hear their voices in her head constantly reminding her of her namesake. “Zehira.” they would say. “It means protected. Never forget that. God will always protect you”. Her chest felt weighted down by a heavy rock when she thought back to her parents. Both killed by a roadside bomb in Israel on a vacation, it was that day that forced Zehira to become a Marine. The unmistakable call of duty knocked on her heart that day. Fresh outta high school she drove herself to Camp Pendleton and enlisted.
Needing to sober up, she made herself a pot of coffee and chowed down on a burrito-her favorite hangover food. Her mind kept going back to last night’s escapades. The vodka had finally helped numb the pain that was so painfully prevalent in her life. She knew that drinking was a bad road to go down so she resisted the temptation and instead walked outside to take her mind off the nagging alcohol craving. The air wasn’t as warm today as she dug her toes into the sand. She followed the surfers on the waves with her head. In the distance, she still make out the unmistakable silhouette of David on the water. She gave him a wave with her hand as he walked out of the water to her direction. He looked like a model as he jogged out the water with his surfboard under her arm.
She met him halfway. He shook his water from his hair and sprayed water on her tan skin. He smiled at her and then his nose squished at the smell of liquor on her breath as her neared.
“Have you been drinking?” He asked taking a step back.
“I had a few drinks last night. Why?” She asked curiously.
“Cause I can smell it on you. You sure that it was only a few drinks?”He watched her facial expressions. doubting her.
“Yeah. Just one shot of Vodka.” She lied.
David still doubted her but decided to let it go.They walked along the shore line for a bit until the sun rose higher in the sky and he had to leave for work. He kissed her gently goodbye and resisted the urge to wrinkle his nose at the taste of vodka on her lips.
She was preparing for bed that when she could feel the memories begin to flood her mind. Night was always her weak spot. She walked over to the pantry and stared at the bottle of wine on the shelf. She stands there for a few seconds fighting her willpower until she forced her feet to move in the opposite direction. She walked aimlessly around the house until she got in car. She drove up and down the PCH until the sky was pitch black with the LA lights