In winter, the architecture collapsed and alcohol found its place in-between Scrooge-thoughts, why wonder? Nothing but awkward moments, wondering why everything failed in the long-run. She found me boring, the worst kind of ending. And this is how I spent my Christmas in 2009: alone and pricing escorts against what I owed car insurance & the overdrawn bank account. It was my last bottle of whiskey, it was my last pack of smokes, it was my last day at work. We tried to make love and failed. My right hand bled constantly; it was the first year my skin cracked under cold temperatures; blood around my knuckles, blood along my fingers. The car croaked and died, the hard cider was suddenly gone and all that was left was codeine syrup. We mixed it with kool-aid. She left me on a Saturday, she took the TV.

    “You’re gonna pay the rent?” she asked.
    “I have some money left.”
    “So are you gonna pay the rent?”
    “I’ll pay the rent.”
    “So what else?”
    “Nothing else.”
    “Forward my mail?”
    “And the landline?”

    “I have my cellphone.” I said. My cellphone was dead, been dead for months. Two weeks until the company would kill it due to non-payment and sell the number to someone else. I was willing to let it die. Lose contact, lose the number. She had plans to move to Vancouver, she had friends there. I was just going to wait until eviction. And then the shelter on 6th. And then however far the gas in my car’s tank would take me. I hoped for Texas, I expected Memphis.

    “Do you have anything left?” she asked. And then I was resentful, she was asking me about money. I was drunk, I was indifferent.

    “I’m fine.” I said. She hadn’t seen me drink, the entire time we’d been together. And that night, I was drinking, I was drunk, I was belligerent. Told her I was done drinking, told her I was OK. Told her what she wanted to hear, and she looked right through it, like it was a veil, like it was me. Ended on a sour note. Not anything sour between us, but sour because she took the TV. We bought it, but she put down $300 and I put down $100. It was a matter of money and when I woke up the next day, hungover and in pain, I listened to the news on my alarm-clock radio and that was all I had. That and the kitchen table. She had asked me if I had anything left. I told her I did. But I didn’t. And just like that, I was soon sober. Nothingness kept me sober. Nothingness kept me honest. She took mostly everything. Except the sound of her gone. It snowed the day she left. It snowed and I found something like $200 in the bedroom, underneath the mattress. I priced an escort. Christmas was better that year.