that-one-night-that-ruined-everything

After I found the liquor bottles under the bathroom sink, I couldn’t sleep a wink that night. I waited up for Amy to come home from work, even though I knew she wouldn’t come home till the early hours of the morning.

I stayed up researching alcoholism and treatment centers on my laptop, trying to figure out the best way to talk to Amy about this, how to make her see that she needed professional help. I didn’t want to make her angry, but I wanted to fix the problem.

At around 3 a.m., I was still awake, and Amy still wasn’t home. This wasn’t unusual. But when my cell phone rang, I felt in my stomach that something terrible had happened.

I glanced at my phone screen before answering, thinking it was probably Amy, drunk and needing a ride, or for me to come to settle her bar tab, or some other trouble. I even had a flash of annoyance at her that I still feel guilty about.

But the screen showed it wasn’t Amy who was calling, but an unknown number with a New Orleans area code.

Hoping it was a wrong number, but knowing in my gut it wasn’t, I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I said shakily, clearing the sleepy grogginess from my throat.

“Is this Alex Ramirez?”

“Yes, this is he,” I responded, alert.

“Mr. Ramirez, this is Officer Dauphin with the NOPD. I’m sorry to tell you this, but there has been an accident…”

The officer’s voice faded as my head started to swim. He kept talking as I collapsed onto the bed, saying he needed me to come down to the station to collect Amy’s things.

She had gone out drinking, as usual, with a few co-workers after her shift at the restaurant. After hitting a couple of bars, they had all gone back to somebody’s house and continued to party there. It was one of those old plantation style houses, with lots of bedrooms and clawfoot tubs, and a few of the servers from the restaurant lived together there. Amy passed out, and her friends put her to bed in the guest room.

At some point in the night, after everyone had gone to sleep, Amy had gotten up to take a bath in the private bathroom attached to the guest room. I felt sick, knowing she was probably trying to wash the bar smell off before coming home because she knew I hated it when she crawled into bed with me reeking of booze and cigarettes. It appeared she had slipped and hit her head and had drowned in the bath water.

Her friends found her in the morning and immediately called 911, but Amy had been dead for hours by that point.

The only consolation was that her blood alcohol content was so high, the police said there is no way she had any idea what was going on or had any pain. There was no sign of her struggling in the water; she had just floated peacefully away.

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