I was soaking wet. I was cold. I tried to sleep through it. It was part of my dream. I woke up.
It smelled like piss.
I thought I wet the bed, but my own underwear were dry.
Ben was snoring heavily next to me. He had his mouth guard in with a little bit of drool on his lip, which I promised never to make fun of.
He was rolling in piss. A fully-grown man’s bladder amount of piss was seeping into the sheets, the egg crate topper, and into the mattress. Into my pants. Into my skin, soggy with his pee.
I shook him and shook him violently until he woke from a gurgling drunken slumber. I directed him to the shower, not saying a word, not knowing what to say anyways because I knew he must be so embarrassed.
We had lived together maybe two months, and he had never pissed the bed. Also, he had never drank so much.
Next morning he mumbled about how the melatonin had knocked him out, so far out, he didn’t even wake to pee. He didn’t even wake when he pissed himself. I just nodded, trying not to embarrass him. I would not bring it up, although he felt the need to acknowledge it quickly.
That was the first time he woke me in the middle of the night. When he pissed himself.
The next time, he was sobbing. His body quaked, his thick forearms wrapped around his head as he heaved into the pillow next to me. He was over six feet, and probably six inches of him dangled off the end of the bed, and I could not wrap myself around him tight enough to make the quaking stop.
Tremble, tremble, heave, choke, sob. Tremble tremble. Heave. Choke. Sob.
I shushed and shushed him and cooed and cooed like a pigeon to her fledglings, hunkering over him in the chilly night.
I want to die, he said. I had did not have words for him. Don’t. That is all. Four letters with an apostrophe that meant Please do not say these things, or do the things you think of, because I love you and I need you.
Pissing himself was just the beginning.
He would get so drunk. He would drink and drink and I began to beg him to stop. Every time I said I would leave, and I did not leave, and inside I began to die a little bit too because I was a woman of my word and I was not keeping my word and I was not curing this, I was just carrying it all with me.
His breath smelled like whiskey when he picked me up from work. I did not tell a soul. He had a tall glass every day when I would get home, and he would already be foggy.
The nights he did wake to pee, the bathroom would be rancid the next morning with his whiskey piss.
He went to a dark place, left me alone to clean and cook and move around him, on tip toes. I was skipping over egg shells every day looking for the bomb that would set him off, down the drain, down the bottle. Some days he would smile and joke and we would go for a ride, but I would look at the sun and it was the color of his fucking piss, and by the end of the day, by sunset, he was hammered any ways, and I would stay up with him all night begging him to find meaning in life. Begging him to live.
I could not get him to live.
I could not stop him from drinking.
He destroyed me from the inside out. Begged me to leave because he loved me, then said that he hated me. He stained me. I was shattered porcelain when I finally broke free of that torpedo.
When I think of him, I see the bottles and cans, and I smell piss, the heaped blankets in the corner. How he quickly mentioned it in the morning, before he poured his next drink.