The thump from the room above either meant her or the bottle had fallen out of bed. Either would mean I’d have to go up there, if it was the bottle then she might wake and try to get it which would cause her to fall out anyway.
One time I let her. Left her to lie on the floor all night. I didn’t sleep that night. I often didn’t when she had been drinking. Of fear she would choke on her own vomit. Or get hurt. Or hurt herself. Then I’d have to deal with it. Sometimes she’d be sober enough to go out looking for one of her drinking associates to give her a top up. Or she’d try to and fall down the stairs. At least that was my worry. Or she’d come to me saying she had taken pills or try to slash her wrists with an electric meat carver or safety razor… or she’d come and tell me she loved me and then tell me all the horrible things that had happened to her in her life. Some of which I was too young to understand. I often think that was the worst of all the options.
Sometimes I’d lock myself in my bedroom and turn some loud music on and wish she would choke to death on her own vomit so I’d not have to deal with it anymore. Or if one of her desperate drinking associates had brought her home and stayed for the night then I would hide in there in fear. Door locked. Headphones on. Hoping to not have to hear anything I’d be too young, scared and inexperience to deal with.
Most of the time I would just help her into bed again. Tell her to go to sleep. She would tell me she loved me. I could never bring myself to say those words back.
I hear a thump from the room above and I tense up. I feel the panic start. The tightness in my chest and the chill on the back of my neck. And then I remember she’s been gone for years, and it’s just the upstairs neighbours. They aren’t my concern.
I wish I could have said those words. I wish I could miss her. But these are the feelings that come with every thump from the room above.