|It's Brittany, Bitch | Ερις (eristic) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2011-07-18 20:11:00
|Entry tags:||eris, tiamat|
Drunk as a Skunk
Who: Karin & Charlie
What: Who’s apartment is this again?
Where: First floor hallway of Pax.
When: 2:45 AM
Placeholder for a Gdoc TAH DAH!
The floor seemed especially treacherous as she fought with the front doors of her apartment building. Finally they opened, and Charlie stumbled in from another long night of drinking. A moment’s pause gave her enough time to try and map out some kind of path in the general direction of her apartment; and then suddenly she was veering in the opposite, but somehow she still meandered from wall to wall, haphazardly counting the number of doors in front of her as she tried to find her own.
Three. Or was that five? Maybe two - she couldn’t remember, but this door seemed as good as any. They all looked the same in the end, and she fumbled with her keys in her pockets. The first that came to hand was her motorcycle key, which was a perfect reason as to why it wouldn’t work. The second, her mailbox key, and a string of muttered curses laced her actions as she grew frustrated. Finally she found her apartment key, but it still didn’t work. What was going on? Charlie rattled the knob, wiggling the door in its frame as she attempted to get it open.
Inside, the apartment’s rightful owner stirred. Karin had long lain awake, staring at the ceiling, held captive by the endless white noise of the sea; even through closed windows and thick, drawn blackout curtains she heard it, arrhythmic waves breaking on her eardrums until at last some gracious soul provided something else to drown them out. With equal parts gratitude and confusion she rose from her bed, grasping at the first articles of clothing her blind reach came upon. She stumbled to the door, pulling on worn black leggings, sloppily tugging a tee shirt over her head. Despite the late hour she felt no pang of self preservation, no deep-seated, primal fear warning her off of this foolish endeavor. So she opened the door without the slightest of qualms, blinking owlishly into the comparatively brilliant light of the hallway, her tousled hair a halo framing her fair face.
She studied the figure before her, a woman small, wiry, and decidedly drunk. When she spoke, her own words were slurred, damaged by fitful sleep. “May I help you?” Her eyes widened, then narrowed: an almost comical effect. “...Charlie?”
This wasn’t right. This wasn’t right at all - there was someone in her apartment? Charlie supported herself with a hand on the door frame, eyes opened wide but still unable to focus on the person in the entryway. It seemed like there might have been a few of them.
“Who...who are yah and what the fuck are yah doin’ in my apartment?” She made to push forward, move past the intruder and make sure her things were all right. But her feet were refusing to move in the right direction, and leaning on the wall seemed like a very good idea, so she continued to implement the action to its greatest use.
“Where’s my dog? Jack? JACK!” Her voice rose, loud enough to wake the rest of the residents of this particular hall, summoning a pet that did not come. That was strange in itself; Jack always came when she called, he was trained to. Had the person in her apartment done something to him?!
Karin blinked into the light, squinting against its terrible brightness. Her neighbor’s raucous shouting did nothing to ease the dazed agony of leaving bed after hours of tossing and turning. She let go the doorknob, stepping back in an instinctive effort to avoid the ear-piercing noise.
“Charlie, this is... one-oh-seven.” She looked up to the door, checking the number; it would not do to reprimand a fellow tenant if insomnia had rendered her incapable of accurately and effectively doing so. After a moment’s squinting she realized she had the right of it. She nodded to herself, a useless little gesture, then looked back to Charlie’s slumping form. “One-oh-seven. I’m Karin. We met... you were shooting off fireworks, remember?” Her brow furrowed as her bleary vision at last began to clear, painting a far more realistic image of the woman who stood before her. To call her drunk would have been a ludicrous understatement. “D’you... need to come in? Have some water?” She thought longer on the suggestion, and understood just how logical it was, witching hour or not. Shifting to one side, she pushed the door wider, unsubtly inviting her in. “You should come in.”
The gall this person had, inviting her into her own apartment. Ridiculous - she knew how to read door numbers, and this was definitely one-oh-three. “Fireworks?” That certainly rang a bell. She could easily recall procuring the explosives for the Fourth, and dragging Rylee out into the parking lot for some fun. But this woman?
Helping herself to Karin’s invitation, she entered the space using her hands as support on the frame of the door, eyes looking around wildly for proof that she was being lied to, that this was in fact her apartment, but at every turn she was found to be wrong. There was too much...stuff in there. Furniture, accessories, pictures, things that made the space feel lived in. Charlie’s own apartment was threadbare, minimalistic and spartan to a fault. And lastly, the final nail in the coffin, was her missing dog, who was a staple of any apartment she’d lived in over the past year. She meandered into the space further, no invitation needed, and threw herself down on the couch.
“Yeah, this ain’t my fuckin’ apartment. This couch is so fuckin’ lumpy.”
“If you can’t say something nice...” Karin began. But then she stopped herself, merely shrugging the insult off, well aware there was nothing to be gained by pursuing such a line of conversation. She was pleased to see her impromptu house guest safe and comfortable on the couch - lumpy though it apparently was - rather than, say, wandering the hallways waking up other, less charitable neighbors. Based largely on the typical interactions Karin saw on the building’s forum, she had her assumptions as to the kind of welcome Charlie could have expected from the other tenants; she was glad she had been awake, at least, and capable of helping in some small way.
She drifted to the kitchen, strangely light on her feet for all her sleeplessness; she seemed to glide through the living room, airily making her way through the modest apartment. Quietly she fetched water and pretzels, food she had long considered the best of hangover cures. A brief jaunt down the hall to the bathroom saw her fetching Tylenol as well. With remedies in hand she returned to the living room, setting her finds down on the end table, presenting them like an offering to her prone acquaintance.
“Take these,” she said, gesturing to the objects now neatly laid out. “How much have you had to drink?”
Charlie turned her face up from the cushion to eye the foodstuffs put down on the table, then looked up to Karin.
“Either too much, er not enough, can never ‘member which,” she muttered, reaching out a tentative hand to grab the bag of pretzels. She had to roll onto one shoulder so both hands were present to tear open the bag; since both her body and the bag were thus tilted, a handful of pretzels fell from the new opening to spread all over the couch and the floor. Charlie muttered a soft ‘shit’, and struggled up into a sitting position as she attempted to pick up what was quickly trying to lose itself between the couch cushions. Most of it was merely crushed and broken underneath her fumbling hands, making a bigger mess than intended.
Finally she grabbed a few and just shoved them in her mouth, crumbs dribbling down her chin. Charlie leaned back on the cushions, eyeing Karin sullenly as she chewed. “Now I ‘member yah. Yeah, the fireworks. That was fun.” The memory was certainly something that made her happy, though that was the furthest thing from what she currently was.
“Yeah,” Karin said, a smile small but sincere crossing her lips. Though her eyes had followed the path of the falling pretzels, and some small part of her mind had passed glumly over the work that lay before her to clean up this rapidly growing mess, Karin found she was strangely unperturbed at the localized chaos her fellow tenant had brought with her into the flat. She liked the company, perhaps, or simply the distraction from the unusual thoughts that seemed to plague her of late. She stopped her self analysis dead in its tracks, focusing on nothing but this single interaction, this one set of variables set out before her. She reached a slim arm out past Charlie, dipping into the bag for a handful of pretzels.
“So,” she said, dragging the word out as if unsure how to begin. She found her footing quickly enough. “What’s got you drinking this heavily on a Monday night?” One dark brow arched as she popped a pretzel into her mouth. “I mean, if you don’t mind my saying so - and even if you do, really - this is pretty shitfaced for the start of a work week. Something on your mind?”
The sullen look morphed into one of suspicion, counter acted as it was by the pretzels puffing out Charlie’s cheeks.
“Yah mean I gotta have a reason?” The pretzels consumed were quickly replaced with more from the bag. “Yah don’t mean bein’ fuckin’ depressed about my fuckin’ job, dealin’ with my best friend that I haven’t talked to in over a year showin’ the fuck back up outta no where, and the general shittiness that is my life is enough? Didn’ know that wouldn’ meet people’s uppity fuckin’ standards.” Her teeth crunched pretzels, voice muffled a bit as it was forced out through her food. Perhaps it was a good thing that she’d ended up on Karin’s doorstep drunk, otherwise talking about any of the numerous subjects she’d just described would have been as successful as breaking a brick with a slice of paper.
For all her rudeness and cynicism, Charlie was starting to feel a little...relaxed? Or maybe that was just the alcohol starting to have sleepy-time effects on her. Either way, though, it didn’t stop her from continuing to help herself to the pretzels.
Karin made no move to take them from her, silently pleased to see her getting food on her clearly alcohol-slicked stomach. Between patients she had seen, her own friends, and her occasionally overindulgent sister, Karin knew better than to comment on Charlie’s appetite, lest she unwittingly cause her to stop eating and fall thoroughly back into a booze-soaked stupor. But if the remedy was a topic off limits, the reason for its necessity clearly was not. Karin grabbed hold of Charlie’s miniature rant like a life raft, wasting no time parlaying those small servings of data into a larger conversation.
“Those are good reasons to feel overwhelmed,” she allowed. “But...” She trailed off, all too aware of the recently drained bottle of wine still lingering on her kitchen counter top. It seemed if not hypocrisy itself, then something too close to it for comfort. But Karin knew better than to stop, choosing instead to simply redirect a bit.
“Isn’t seeing your friend a good thing?” she asked. “I’d think that would be a bright spot, job problems aside.”
Charlie barked, or maybe it was a laugh - the sounds confused one for the other, and a small shower of pretzels added to the already exponentially growing mess.
“Seriously? Seriously? Yah think... Wait, yah are bein’ serious. Hang on, lemme laugh a lil harder.” Using the sleeve of her jacket, she wiped at her mouth, as though preparing herself for some sort of lecture. Her laughter wasn’t cheerful, more amused at Karin’s assumption that she’d be happy to see Rylee’s smiling face after the four year long fight they’d been having. All of which was simply her fault, but that was one of many things she wouldn’t admit to.
“Yeah, an’ I s’pose you’d be happy to see a fuck-up come back and bite you in the ass, huh? But I guess that’s par for the course with me, can’t fuckin’ turn around without somebody fuckin’ showin’ up expectin’ some kinda apology or whatever.” Leaning forward, she placed the bag of pretzels on the table, a handful of the snack food dribbling out onto the surface, and grabbed the bottle of water, her throat parched from all the salt. Twisting the cap off, she began to chug.
Karin, being both exhausted and thrown headlong into a situation both confusing and nigh impossible to maneuver, was at a loss. She pursed her lips, sitting back to settle deeper into her couch’s cushions. She watched her company drink the proffered water down, glad her remedy would soon take its due course. In the interim, however, the conversation was growing steadily more difficult to get in hand. For her own part, Karin had never been in a situation quite like the one Charlie described. She found herself thinking that Fiona would know what to do; a combative and often trying personality, Fee had put herself in situations such as these more than once, though she had never seemed to fully realize the difficulty they posed. That Karin was aware, she had never gone through anything that caused her to feel the angry, bitterly concealed remorse Karin read between Charlie’s words. And so she cleared her throat, contemplating how best to tiptoe through this new minefield.
“Well,” she began, trying desperately to place herself in her neighbor’s shoes. Her dark brow knit together as she thought. “I guess that depends on the fuck-up. If it was a friend I’d wanted to keep, then yeah. I think I’d like the chance to put it right.” She glanced to the floor, already knowing Charlie would have no use for such advice, but knowing equally well it must be said. “I mean... an apology is easier than losing someone, I think.”
More than three-fourths of the bottle consumed, Charlie twisted the cap back on and wiped at her mouth with her sleeve. What Karin was saying made sense, of course, perfect sense, but that didn’t mean it would be easy. She wasn’t a stranger to things being done the hard way, but at the same time it was often easier to ignore the problem until it was absolutely crucial to address it. Her current relationship with Rylee certainly felt that way - that he was overlooking the fight as much as she was, or maybe because she was overlooking it. And thinking that he was still doing things for her because of her made the guilt in the pit of her stomach gnaw just that much harder. A frown fixed itself to her mouth.
“Fuckin’ hell,” she muttered, as though that was all that needed to be said in agreement to Karin’s advice. Replacing the water bottle with the bag of pretzels, she gave herself more time to think by shoving a handful into her mouth. “Don’t unner’stan’ why people cain’t just move the fuck on. Gotta hold on tah every lil thing.” If anything, it was an astute observation of her own thought process, though Charlie would never consciously realize such a thing. She gave Karin a glance, her annoyance settling in more firmly the more she was sure that the other woman was right.
“How?” Karin seemed to have her head on straight, and if Charlie wasn’t four sheets to the wind, she never would have asked the question otherwise.
Karin drew a deep breath, her thinned lips pursing tightly together as she slowly exhaled. “Well.” She thought back to the fights she’d had, more often than not largely her own doing - her well intentioned involvement was often viewed as meddlesome and unwanted, and at times she spoke with a bluntness that bordered on the self righteous. As she grew older she had become more aware of her effect on people, of the way they read what she viewed as friendly assistance. She had made considerable effort toward choosing her words and tone more wisely, but it would have been a lie to say she had entirely bettered herself in this, or that she no longer had need of apologizing after having spoken her mind. She chewed her tongue, considering the myriad ways in which she had made up for such outspokenness in the past.
“Simple is better, I think,” she said. “But to move on you’ve got to actually talk about what caused the problem in the first place. Glossing over it just means having to come back to it later.” She smiled, thin and a bit unsure. “But I guess you know that.” She cleared her throat, quickly moving onward to her next point. “So yeah. I’d just say I’m sorry, cos I think you really are. And actually listen to what your friend has to say. If there’s something that bothers you, speak up, or that’ll just fester, too, and make things worse. But try to word it... constructively. A screaming match won’t fix anything.” She laughed, then, a quiet chuckle hidden behind her hand. “If you guys need a mediator, you know where I am.”
Charlie seemed to sink into herself, mellowing out as she listened to Karin’s words with a delicate, careful nature she rarely exhibited. Simple. Simple was good, simple was easy. And yet simple would be the most difficult part, because oftentimes Charlie saw problems where there were none, maybe making them up solely for the attention they’d bring toward her. The pretzel bag still remained in her lap, though she no longer drew from it, her mind entirely consumed with processing the information Karin had offered.
The chuckle brought Karin back into focus, painting a small but obvious smile on Charlie’s face. “If yah wanted simple, I would’a gone for the screaming match,” she joked back, then sobered without necessarily losing her buzz. “But yer right. I just...I fuckin’ suck at these things. An’ he makes it harder than it has to be.” Laying some of the blame at Rylee’s doorstep alleviated some of her own guilt - his semi-pressuring her into a relationship, for one, as well as his inability to call her on her shit when even she knew she was being outlandish - and made the task seem much less daunting, though in her mind it was still the size of a small blue whale.
Karin nodded, smiling at the easily raised mental image of Charlie shouting someone down. It pleased her, though, to see how readily Charlie was accepting her advice, knowledge Karin had come upon largely the hard way: fights with Fee, bouts of lonely, silent exile from her family, romantic relationships ended before they’d begun. It felt good to know her painful experiences might somehow benefit someone else. Suddenly she realized just how much she’d like to see this work, for someone to have a kind of joy with which she herself had not been blessed. “People are always hard work,” she said, as much to herself as to Charlie. “The trick is knowing who’s worth the effort, then following through. If you really sucked at these things, you wouldn’t give enough of a shit to be thinking about how to fix it now.” Her lips pursed, her expression suddenly more maternal than before. “Or enough to have gotten drunk and tried to forget it in the first place.” She softened, then, her tousled hair shifting as she tipped her head to one side. “I really will go with you to talk to him if you’d like. I dunno that it’d help or that you’d want that, but the offer stands.”
Charlie lurched forward, less setting and more throwing the pretzel bag back onto the table. “Naw I...I don’t do so well. With an audience.” Her eyes flicked up from the table top to Karin’s, somewhat apologetic. “No offense.” It was the closest she would probably come to thanking the other woman for her advice, though by no means did she intend to implement it right at that moment. She couldn’t even recognize her own apartment door - it would be a poor turn of events for her to get all the way up to the seventh floor only to start beating on some other poor sap’s door, alerting all and sundry within the building as to the mental problems she was dealing with. She much preferred emotional things to be as quiet and unnoticeable as possible, especially when it came to relationships.
She rose - half rose and then fell back, then tried to stand again, this time finding her footing as she managed to leave the seat of the couch. Her spot was clearly outlined by the crushed pretzels, leaving a strange sort of mosaic. Charlie never glanced back at the mess she’d made, instead concentrating entirely on making sure her knees didn’t buckle. She was feeling all kinds of sleepy, but mostly she wanted solitude to mull over these new ideas. “I...I think I forgot to feed my dog.”
Karin nodded, her muted smile not fading in the least. Her eyes were quickly drawn to the mess her fellow tenant left behind, but she made no comment; it was a minor thing, and there were other matters at hand, more pressing and of far greater import. She noted Charlie’s apparent sobriety - slight and recently gained though it was - with no small degree of pleasure. Rising from the couch, she moved to see the woman off. “No offense taken,” she said. “Go take care of your baby.”
She paused at the door, holding it open for the other woman to pass through. Idly she leaned her head on the edge of the door, exhaling a tired but not ill intentioned sigh. “I’m glad you stopped by.” Charlie made it to the door easily, her new found sobriety making the world less like a carousel moving at rocket speed. She paused in the doorway, glancing at Karin again, feeling just a kernel of guilt for having ‘dropped by’ in the manner that she did. Looking away and then back, she gave a brief nod of her head before venturing out into the hallway again. Generally, after long drinking binges, she was prone to deep feelings of personal resentment and depression, but after having spoken with her floor mate (however awkward and forced the conversation might have been), Charlie felt a sense of relief. As though things would get better, eventually, if she worked at them hard enough.
Ambling toward her own apartment - confident this time around that it was in fact her apartment - she slipped the key in the door and was greeted by a sleepy dog who was very, very hungry. At least she could rely on one thing in her life acting like clock work.