When she looked into his eyes, she wanted to believe in them. She wanted them to fulfill their promise; over their years together, she heard several different versions of the same lie. Sure, there were always different words. But his eyes always promised a better tomorrow that didn’t include heroin. She wanted to believe that when then sun rose, there would be no shady unexplained absence. He would be everywhere he was supposed to be. He would show that his words meant something and that his big eyes were revealing the real and actual truth. But in that place inside her soul, the same place we all share where we know the truth without exception, she knew that his eyes were now fully complicit in his lying and betrayals.
“I promise,” he said. “I was at the Joey’s pad helping him move a couch. My phone fell out of my pocket and I didn’t even realize I didn’t have it until I finished and came home. Besides, I didn’t have any money, how could I have scored?”
What he didn’t know and what she wasn’t going to tell him was that she loaded a GPS tracker app on his phone and knew that he wasn’t at Joey’s. She knew that he was at his connect’s place; that fact that he didn’t have money was irrelevant because his connect had no problem fronting him his fix. In some way or another, the debt would be paid, even if in blood. There was no doubt that he was lying again.
But his eyes could sell sand to a man lost in the desert. They were what attracted her to him in the first place. They absorbed and reflected every bit of her own light and fueled her love. They hid his appetite for heroin under a smoke screen of false innocence. There was a time when she believed that they were as golden as the day’s first light. It wasn’t until she was fully enmeshed in his web of lies that she realized that his eyes were nothing more than her own drug that she willfully accepted. The time, however, had come for her to sober up from her own addiction.
There was something else he didn’t know: While he was out scoring and ignoring her calls, she was packing a small suitcase with her most essential possessions: her favorite three shirts, three pairs of jeans, underwear, socks, and her toothbrush. She had placed the suitcase in the trunk, filled her car with gas, and made arrangements with her sister for a place to stay; in less than eight hours, she would complete the drive from Santa Fe to Phoenix and begin a new life without his lies and salesman eyes. He wouldn’t chase her; of that she was certain. He might wonder where she went, but once he started withdrawing, he’d head right back for his score and forget all about her. Even if he suspected where she went, getting her to come back would mean giving up heroin and that just wasn’t going to happen.
She looked into his eyes for the last time and said, “I figured you were at Joey’s, but I wasn’t sure when you’d be home. Since you didn’t answer, I thought that maybe you left your phone someplace. No worries.” She turned from his and the second she broke eye contact, she felt a dark rush leave her soul. All that remained was her physical exit; any attachment she once felt was completely gone. “Are you hungry?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said and sat down on the couch. He flipped the TV to the cartoon channel and said, “Does Arby’s sound good to you?”
“Sure,” she said and watched him sit in smug satisfaction. She sold her lie. There was no doubt he thought she believed him. “Do you want to come with me to pick it up?” She knew he was going to use her absence to fix and by the time he realized she wasn’t coming back, she would be long gone.
“Nah,” he said. “I hurt my back and kinda just wanted to chill. Do you mind if I stay here?”
“No, not at all,” She smiled as her last words to him left her mouth. Within minutes, she was on the road to a life without his eyes. She was scared, but from that point forward, the only promises she wanted fulfilled were the ones she herself would make. She would never again believe in his eyes. By the time she got to Albuquerque, she was thrilled to be able to count herself as one hour sober.