I like to imagine that there was nothing remarkable about the day that David quit. I picture him waking up slightly late, performing a rushed version of bathroom rituals and taking a light 'breakfast'- an oatmeal bar or a toaster pastry- and then going to work. Perhaps the rushed-routine(more) pace never stopped, so that his eight hours at work felt slightly, inexplicably hurried. He went home after work, and somewhere in the silence of his empty apartment, he quit. Cold turkey.
I made David a year later and that's exactly how he put it. "Quit my whole life, cold turkey. Just like that." We had just left the expat bar we both frequented and were stumbling into night-quiet streets.
"Just like that, hmm? Just left?"
"Got as much cash as I could, packed a bag, and-" he made a sweeping gesture with is arm, "- hit the road."
"Wow," was all I could say. Balance had taken priority over conversation.
David went on, "After that I just got on a flight, really. Ended up here."
We stopped while I lit a cigarette and he made a gesture asking if he could bum one, so I let him. We smoked for a minute and my head cleared a bit. I was still picturing his Cold Turkey Day in my head, step by step.
"What about your... your, ya know, all your stuff? Your apartment?"
He waved his cigarette dismissively. "I called my landlord and told her my brother would move in, and he's been watching it. Needed a place in the city anyway."
"And then you got a job here? In that shop, right?"
"Well, yeah. Just to pay for everything here. Gotta live, right?" he laughed.
I laughed with him, and resisted the urge to say, "You didn't quit shit."(less)
I hate eating cold turkey. Not because it tastes dry and bland and scratches your throat like sawdust when you swallow, but because of what it means. It means Mom didn't come home last night. It means she's drunk or high or both, stumbling along the empty streets, looking(more) for her next hit. I shudder to think about the kinds of people who would take advantage of her and I know I'll take the long way home every day until she comes back because I'm scared of the kind of things she brings back; the men, the drugs, the fiery rages.
Mom used to joke that the only thing she could make was turkey because it was easy. All you had to do was put it in the oven. She thinks relationships are that easy too, that if she comes home sober once a month I'll love her. My love for her waxes and wanes like the moon, some days I miss her so much the the house feels like a prison. Other days I couldn't care whether or not she came back. So she makes turkey before she runs, leaving it as a peace offering to tide me over until she comes back and apologizes, promising to never do it again. We're both good at pretending we believe her.
Three days after she leaves again, I'm sitting in the kitchen and do my homework, waiting for her. Every tick of the clock chips at my patience, and the room I saved for her in my heart shrinks with every passing day.
Sometimes, I think about running away too. I smile to think of what she would do if she came home and found me gone. I wonder if cold turkey tastes like loneliness to her(less)
He checked his jacket pocket again - for the second time, he had already checked his jeans and, just in case, the garbage can - but still, he couldn't find the pack of cigarettes he just bought the previous evening. Gotou straightened, shoving the garbage back under the counter,(more) and frowned at the wall. Then he leaned back and glared into the main room.
Masayoshi was seated at the low table, one arm folded over and his chin in his hand, watching Neo Red Axe and attempting to exude innocence so thick that Gotou could see it around him. "Where are my cigarettes?"
There was no response, but Masayoshi twitched.
Masayoshi jumped when Gotou's hand landed atop his head. One of the benefits of his longer hair was that it gave Gotou something to hang on to, especially when Masayoshi's danger sense kicked in. "Where," he said very patiently, "is the unopened package of cigarettes I bought last night?"
"You shouldn't smoke," Masayoshi said. "It's bad for you."
"If you threw them out again," Gotou threatened, but he released Masayoshi's head and sighed, his hands moving to his hips. A commercial had come on so Masayoshi looked over at him.
"It's BAD for you," Masayoshi said again. He gave Gotou a very level stare, and then nodded his head once. "You need to quit."
"You don't get to make that decision," Gotou muttered. He retreated to the kitchen area, but Masayoshi was still watching him. "Moves into my apartment, takes over my television, throws away MY cigarettes..."
"You forgot, 'sleeps in your bed,'" Masayoshi called helpfully.
Gotou slammed a drawer, took a deep breath and counted to ten. "You're lucky I like you!" he yelled back.
"I like you too," Masayoshi said calmly. "That's why I want you to quit."(less)
Everytime, I always wish it was different. Why couldn't they be more patient? Maybe if they weren't in a rush it wouldn't have happened. The family gather, dreading the moment they will have to come face to face with it. The cold turkey lies on the table, surrounded by(more) the family that has to eat its chilling remains. If only we didn't cook the turkey so early.(less)