Cover Photo: Vices by Lauren Suval

Vices

Spiraling into a spiral of loneliness, James takes a shot of whiskey over the sink, already shunning the pity call from Jack at the firm. 

Jack who likes to gallivant all over the city. Jack who likes to speak in bachelor cliches. Let’s paint the town red, he proclaims amidst his trademark Friday night monologue on the A train.

But he knows Jack is just like him. Jack just chooses to hide it better.

*

James knows not to bother contacting his sister, Kate. Kate who works well over 40 hours a week. Kate who buries herself in scripts at her desk, Kate who likes to work on Sunday mornings in her home office while everyone else is out in the sunlight. This is the world of broadcast television she says in between bites of chicken caesar salad that she retrieved from the Trader Joes around the corner.

She never strays too far.

*

James stands on line at the liquor store, allowing the dreadful monotony wash over him like a startlingly bout of nausea. He holds onto his small bottle of Jameson and admires the low-cut blouse on the check-out girl up front. Angelica, her name tag reads. Angelica has a stiff smile and glances down at her phone after each customer walks out of the store, out into city’s vibrant rhythm. 

Clash of Clans? he asks as she bags the Jameson.

Na, Pokemon Go.

*

James logs onto Facebook back at the apartment. He clicks on the profile of Lisa Thorpe. He met Lisa Thorpe three months ago at a dinner party. He remembers the way she titled her head back ever so slightly when she paused in conversation. He remembers the way she’d hold onto her dirty martini in the sleeveless black dress that hugged her waist, and he remembers the tattoo on her left wrist that spelled out a word in French, written in a dainty cursive.

He scrolls down to study the shots she’s been tagged in. Shots of Thorpe and her girlfriends sharing a decadent plate of sushi, faces flushed from glasses of rosy plum wine. Stylized candid pictures of Thorpe traipsing about Williamsburg, her piercing red lips deliciously pairing with her vintage red dress. She is effortlessly striking. She is autumn. Finally, he clicks on a black and white photograph of Thorpe gazing out at the skyline from what appears to be a roof top. He notices that she has a Monroe piercing and wonders if it’s new or if he just missed it three months prior.

James recalls the conversation he had with the host at the end of that fateful evening:

What do you know about Thorpe? 

Lisa Thorpe is sad. She’s profoundly sad.

*

James goes to the kitchen and pours the rest of his whiskey down the drain.

Lauren Suval studied print journalism and psychology at Hofstra University, and she is a writer based in New York. Her work has been featured on Psych Central, Thought Catalog, Catapult Community, and other online publications. Lauren's e-book “Coping With Life’s Clutter” and her latest book, “The Art Of Nostalgia,” a collection of personal essays, can both be found on Amazon. She loves to be followed on Twitter @LaurenSuval and on Facebook @LaurenSuvalWriting.