Dear Scarlet

by Lavinia Ludlow

--Originally published in Sleep. Snort. Fuck.

It's me walking in on you shooting up in the diner's cesspool of a
shitter, and you trying to conceal the evidence while you're telling
me it's straight up your first time. It's the way I'm ready to blow
chunks because I'm forced to understand what I've put Mom and Dad
through all these years. It's my twenty-three-year-old sister now old
enough to glare out at the world with the “fuck you, I'm righteous and
deserving of this shit. You owe me World so I'm gorging on
self-indulgence and destruction. Why? Fuck you, that's why.” And I'm
twenty-seven with “I'm not mad; just unbelievably disappointed and the
respect I have left for you is questionable” radiating off my face the
way the artificial light reflects off your spider vein-ridden factory
girl legs.

What really gets me is the way you say, “I'm sorry.” The way you

follow it with, “you're such a hypocrite.” Don't turn this shit around
on me. I was different from you, and I had things under complete
control so fuck you too.

Tonight, I'll go home and shower off the industrial concealer

sheathing the track scars on my arms and the superfluous tattoos on my
shoulders. I'll chase four Twinkies and a fistful of narcotics with
four Guinness, and as the buzz settles in, I'll fuck my living-in-sin
boyfriend skin-to-skin till his dick deflates back into the nest of
his crotch and I'm slung over the edge of our mattress like a withered
water balloon leaking out the last bits of his cum. I'll have his
abortion and never once regret or think back about it.

Because afflictions like those have nothing on the waltz between

needles, veins, and blood. They've conventional, they're common.

Or maybe I've just been clean for too long.