I am lying in bed half-asleep when Andrew finally decides to come crawling out of his hole to visit me. He slithers over to me and transforms back into the handsome man watching me with a sneaky little smile on his face.
“Hello,” he says pleasantly. “I decided it was safe to come out of hiding so I could see you.”
“That’s nice,” I yawn sleepily. “I’m not really into it right now. I’ve had like four stories about you on the brain all day and none of them have wanted to come out. Now that I’m lying here drunk, you’re telling me you want something from me?”
“I just had a question,” the little green snake says innocently.
“Who is your favorite character at Bloody Mary’s Bar?”
I laugh half-heartedly and turn my head into the pillow.
“You’re keeping me awake just so you can ask me that?”
“Yes,” he says, “But only because I know High Life is like truth serum to you.”
I laugh at him again.
“So tell me,” he says softly, resting his head on his arms as he continues to kneel by the side of the bed. “Who is it? Is it me?”
I shake my head thoughtfully. I think about it for awhile before giving him my most painfully honest answer.
“Oh, probably your Mom,” I say with a smile. “But you knew I was going to pick a woman, of course.”
Andrew cocks his head to the side.
“My Mom?” he asks strangely. “Why would you pick my Mom?”
“Because she’s an awesome lady, duh.”
“Yeah, I know, but what else besides that? Are you stalking me or something?”
“No,” I say defensively, sitting up and glaring at him. “I just like that she’s a Mom. Like when I write her, she comes out like a Mom! Like a real Mom! Not like a regular Mom, you know? A cool Mom!”
“But what about your Mom?”
I smile up at him sadly.
“Andrew, I don’t have a Mom. I have a Narcissist and a toxic family. It’s not a good situation. I really don’t want to talk about it here.”
Andrew stares at me with wide eyes.
“Even your brother?” he asks.
“Especially my brother. He’s not in a good place right now. He drinks all the time. He gets angry. He’s attacked me before. They told me to get over it. That’s when I started questioning them. The last straw was when they wouldn’t help me hire a lawyer to get a restraining order against The Prince. Ever since then I’ve just kinda been on autopilot. I take handfuls of cash from my Dad when I need it, avoid them at all times otherwise, and do what I have to do to carry on.”
“But you must have someone,” Andrew says. “There must be someone in your family you can talk to.”
“I suppose there is, yes,” I say reasonably, “But it is members of my extended family who live very far away. We don’t talk often. We just passively follow each other on social media.”
“What about your friends?”
I smile at him sadly.
“They’ll always be a few unreturned phone calls away!”
Andrew stares at me for a long time.
“Is that why you’re crazy?” he asks me in a hushed whisper. “Because you’re all alone?”
“Don’t be silly, Andrew!” I exclaim. “I have you. Or should I say Eros! I’m still not entirely convinced he is you. I’m thinking maybe it’s just a glitch and he will go back to being nameless and faceless again after you leave, but I don’t really know what’s going to happen. I just know that whoever he is, he’s always here with me, watching over me and making sure I’m never alone. He talks to me all the time to make sure I’m not lonely. I don’t know who he is. I just know that he loves me and he promises me he’ll find me. I’ve seen him in my dreams before. I know he’s out there somewhere. That’s good enough for me.”
“Do you think it’s me?”
“Not really. If it was, I would genuinely be surprised. After all, you have everything in the whole wide world and I have nothing.”
“But that’s not why you fell for me, was it?”
“No… I just fell for you… because…”
Andrew looks up at me earnestly.
“Because you’re the only guy I’ve ever talked to in that bar who I could seriously imagine watching re-finish the hardwood floors.”
Andrew smiles at me sweetly and chuckles.
“Is that all?” he wants to know.
“No…” I reply as I lie back down and pull the covers over me. “It’s also because I just wanted to take you to a hotel room in Omaha and watch HGTV.”
“What does that even mean?” he asks, getting up to turn off the light.
“It means you were my escape,” I murmur. “It means you’re the only person in this world that I like…”
“Thank you, Betsey,” the Snake whispers as he curls up next to me on the pillow.