Addiction | Molly Young

“Love is the drug and I need to score.”
– Roxy Music



By Molly Young

For the What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Award


His lips taste like nicotine, his beer is cold against her leg and the pills he brought lodge in her throat.
He is everything she ever tried and she can’t get enough.
His tongue piercing scrapes her teeth, sending shivers snaking down her spinal cord and driving lust into her veins.
Like every drug, she knows he is bad for her.
Like every drug she tastes, she knows she won’t be able to kick the habit.
Their tongues dance.
He’s a better kisser than the last one, but that’s not saying much.
They’re usually sloppy when they’re drunk, but his hand is steady against her cheek.
She breathes in, inhaling sweat and beer and smoke.
She tries to swallow him whole, to bring him into her soul, to make him a part of her.
They’re so close, but it’s not close enough.
When he pulls away to look at her, his eyes are dark; liquorice swirled with honey and hunger.

His eyes are red when he’s hungover.
His dark hair is messy, too, tangled in her fingers.
He’s beautiful, even in the stale air of morning.
His lips are sour with the beer aftertaste, but she kisses him anyway because she can’t help it.
She had her first taste of his soul last night and now she can’t stop.
Her teeth crack through curved lips.
When he kisses her, she prays the moment will last forever.

He hasn’t been back to his apartment in a week.
His phone charger coils beside the left-side pillow, his jumpers drape over chairs.
His shoes scatter the floor, she laughs when she trips over them.
Beer fills her fridge.
Gentle bruises decorate her neck.
He’s messy and drinks beer and tastes like nicotine, but he’s beautiful and still here and hers.

He has to go back to his apartment, he says.
His friends will be wondering where he is, he says.
Just for one night, he says.
He leaves his beer in her fridge, so she knows he’ll be back.
It’s quieter when she doesn’t trip over his shoes.
She wears his navy jumper and it comes down to her knees.
It smells like him.
It keeps her skin warm like his hands do.
She lights a cigarette on the balcony, stifling one habit by breathing another.
She watches the embers dance as they flicker down to the concrete below and wonders if the stars dance like fire does.

He knocks on her door three days of radio silence later.
His face is apologetic and she considers slamming it in his face.
But she can’t.
“I’ve drunk all your beer.” She says, instead.
There are so many things she wants to shout but she lets him in because she misses his mess and his noise and his shine.

They get drunk on cheap red wine on her birthday.
She’d swallowed a pill of his and she’s jumping on the couch trying to fly.
He’s frowning but smiling and he’s beautiful and bright and all she sees.

When they wake on the floor, all she can remember is flying through the room, her feet dangling above the carpet and her head in the clouds.

The next time, he’s gone for a week.
She spends the nights with cigarettes and silence.
She watches the stars and listens for sirens.
Sleep casts it’s shadow across the city, but leaves her apartment cold.
The heater stops working when she buys her seventh packet of cigarettes.
She wears his jumper because she’s afraid she’ll forget what he smells like.
By the time he knocks on the door again, she’s shivering and his jumper smells like smoke.

Her neck is pale and her collarbones stick out.
The table is cluttered with newspapers and empty bottles.
The apartment stinks of smoke, from her oven, from their cigarettes and from the self-rolled papers in his pocket.
She’s tired, but her exhaustion keeps her awake.
At least if she’s awake, it’s her side of the bed that’s cold and not his.
He’s still beautiful, even with the lines furled in his forehead.
She kisses him when she can, because she needs the taste of him on her lips like she needs to breathe.

He is her biggest addiction.
The tiny apartment hides bottles and cans, cigarettes and pills.
But it is him who keeps her awake, and whole and free.

He slams the door on the way out.

She wonders if he thinks of her at all as he sits in his apartment drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, wonders if love is supposed to feel like a gunshot wound to the chest.

The boy across the counter has blonde hair and a goofy grin.
He drinks whiskey-and-coke and when she lets him into her apartment, his lips taste like Coca-Cola and mint.