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Vol. 3, No. 2

The Worst Thing a Suburban Girl Could Imagine
by Melissa Bank

IX

Before bed, I called Archie. He didn't answer. For a second, I worried that he was drinking. But it was the Fourth of July, and I reminded myself that he'd said he might go to Mickey's roof to see the fireworks. Or he could be napping. Maybe he went out for a walk. But I caught myself on that one; Archie didn't take walks.

 

~

On the train to New York, I tried to remember the last time I'd heard him say, "I'm taking my Antabuse!" I realized that I'd never actually seen him swallow a pill.
    I went to my aunt's apartment instead of his. It was musty, and I opened all the windows. Then I went into my aunt's study and called him.
    I listened for alcohol in his voice, but I didn't hear any. I repeated what my father had said about being glad I had Archie to lean on, and he said, "Told you."
    I hadn't brought up drinking since he'd told me he'd quit. I felt like I couldn't, which seemed to prove its proximity. I said, "You didn't drink while I was away, did you?"
    "If you have to ask," he said, "don't ask." Then: "I don't think I've given you any reason to doubt me."
    "That's true," I said.
    "Well," he said, "get over here."

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