Drunk Walk Home


Published in Edition One (2024) as part of the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune column.

CW: mentions of sexual abuse, depiction of toxic relationship


“And I sit on the curb 'cause it's the prettiest night

With no one else in sight

You know I wore this dress for you

These killer heels for you”

        – Mitski, “Drunk Walk Home,” Bury Me at Makeout Creek


Dear Billy,


I am writing you this letter because of what you said the day my album released. Perhaps the proudest day of my whole life. I, Lola, me, I had written, produced, sang a whole album.


Aren’t you proud? 


Well, clearly not. But I was. So proud. 


It’s tragically embarrassing now. 


There was a party, and I couldn't believe you showed up. All night, colours swirled and spat in my face and I just kept thinking how you would hate this and how much I loved it. Other people who danced and sang, fearlessly. That would disgust you. Not profound or modest. But still, I wanted to believe you’d rise to the occasion, if it was important to me. Which it was.

But you came, you were there. And I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had manifested some kind of miracle, would you believe? I had to go to the bathroom and wash my face. You were always so careless, so random with the way you did things, especially social things. But you know that, and you probably have a reason for that. I don’t know, maybe it isn't random. Maybe it’s just who you are. Maybe you have a formula, or something. It was so casual, the way you floated through the doorway and caught my eye immediately. What are the chances that we’re both crossing that hallway at the very same time? Well, I’ve never been much good at maths, but what does it matter? It happened. 


Maybe, because that happened, maybe I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. 


The way that I felt.


Hours later, when it’s all dying down, you’re still there. I was in a state of disbelief. Euphoric, the way I felt when you stayed, just for me, at my album release party. You were drunk, and I knew you well enough to know that drunk meant profound, philosophical, existentialist. And I found that so comforting. Not an angry drunk, not a crazy drunk–a thoughtful drunk. Other people said you were boring, then intense and arrogant–just my type. I guess I got my own hopes up. You quickly became intensely and undeniably boring. Just like they said you’d be. I always thought I was different than everyone else, that we were made for each other in some way. I think maybe this was where it started to change for me.


“See, I don’t want to say this, but-”

Already frustrated, I replied, “Okay, well I think you probably do, because why start to say it if you’re just not going to?”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is…”

“I can handle the truth.”

“Yeah. Fine. Then I guess what I’m saying is, is the album, or the lyrics, is mostly just cheap shots at innocent people.”

“Billy, you co-wrote the album.”     

Imagine, I had flat out told you the way I felt in the way that
 meant the most to me, and you had the audacity to say that.

“Yeah, I know. But really, it was yours. And it was great, for what it was.”

“Which was?”

“Diary entries. It was just you taking pointed jabs at random people who you had suffered some perceived slight from. It’s just…”


“It could be more poetic. It’s really just mean words.”

“Oh, right.”

“I mean, don’t get me wrong, I get it. I think everyone writes stuff like that, you know, in their notes app. In their diaries. Emotional poetry, everyone goes through that phase. It’s just… It’s cheap songwriting.”

You shared your opinion, and that’s fine. What’s that saying? Drunken words are sober thoughts? Maybe you’d been waiting to say that for a while. Meanwhile, I had thought the album was some baby that we’d worked on… together… for a while. Something you’d thought about, dwelled upon. 


Looked forward to.


Maybe not. 


Maybe I’m delusional, just like you said. 


Just like you always say. 


So, that’s why I’m writing this, because if it’s just cheap songwriting, maybe I should just stop. No more songs, which are really, as you said, just copy-pasted diary entries. No more stories, they’re not poetic. The deliberate and forceful prophecies on which I have spent hours, they’re just jabby sentences. So, I’ll say what I have to say, and I won’t say it in a song, I won’t put it in a story. I won’t text you. I won’t call you. I’ll give you this letter. With just a bunch of words. 


Do you remember the first time we ended up not speaking? I do. Of course I do. The studio, 8am. I walked out of the bathroom, having left my satchel on a chair near where you were standing, right near my microphone, and I pushed right past you on my way there. I felt your face lean in a bit when you thought I might stop and talk. And then I felt a silence that could’ve been a gasp, if you cared. But it was more like a sigh. 


After that, I knew you didn’t care. But I kept pushing. And you said you were hung up on someone and my heart sank because I fucking knew it wasn’t me and yet, and yet, I still talked to you. I still let you talk to me. I still let you pretend to care. But the way you talked, we both knew you didn’t care. Your mixed signals were so transparent, but I was so blind. 


How do I explain the way you talked to me? 


I could give a description of your eyes, 

                                                                   the way they were condescending 

                                                    in that mature brown colour 

like you’d worked        as a corporate lawyer         for twenty years already

and you were just here 


as a service to me. 


Always, you looked down on me when I once thought I was so strong. You, with your moral philosophy books and your fucking crumpler bag. You, with your Radiohead lyrics in your head and Kurt Cobain cardigans on your rich, white back. You just lived to put me in my place. Educate me about the world. All so when I accused you of mansplaining you could call me crazy?


Or I could describe your teeth, the way they seemed vicious in a way that I had never seen before: small, sharp looking teeth that shone like knives on a chopping board, masked by a face that could be kind if it tried, but you never did. Not with me, at least. Or maybe you did, and I’m just hard work. A zap on your energy. I don’t even know.

One thing I did know, one thing I always knew about you was that I loved to fight with you. It didn’t matter to me what we were fighting about. It was the only way I could get you to care about me, and it intoxicated me. Gave me some sort of horrendous power over my life, over you. I loved throwing my arms around and yelling and drawing out my words like there was some crime against humanity being conducted by whatever chord change preoccupied your mind at that particular moment. I loved that you cared, and in some way, you caring about chord changes made me think you cared about me.







And the weather changed. Quickly. 


And with the inebriating energy of our fighting came the actual substance of disagreement. We had to disagree in order for there to be a fight, you see. And what did we disagree on? What I was. Who I was. You misread me, constantly. You misunderstood the opinions I had, the lyrics I wrote. You thought I wrote entire songs slandering innocent people. At least Fiona Apple had some introspective elements in her songs, mine were all daggers pointed at people I didn’t even know. That’s what you said. 


After all, I am a woman, so who am I to be writing songs about my own thoughts and experiences? I should be writing letters to boys like a housewife in the 1940s, waiting for my husband to return from war. When will you return, Billy? Or will I be your scorned woman forever? Will every song, story, book, essay be about you forever? Every sticky note, every butt dial, every mother fucking grocery list–they’re all yours, right? Were they ever about you in the first place? You would know, since you know everything. 



“Then what? What is this?” 

“You honestly think I saw you talk to a girl at a party once and wrote an entire song about it?”

“Well… yeah, honestly I do.”


And then there was Warren’s party. I just wanted a fun night with my friends, and I wanted you to be one of them, but you made sure that couldn’t happen. 

How did you manage to walk past me that many times without talking to me? How did you manage to touch me, and never even say my name? Yes, so many times did I feel your shoulder, or your goddamn forearm brush against mine. For fuck’s sake. 

But I know, you’re lovely like a newlywed ‘til you’re gnawing on my dead carcass like a divorcee. And without even having to do the whole dating thing–marriage to divorce at your very will. And you think you’re different, but you’re just like everyone else. I heard you talking, your voice like a defibrillator on my brain. Your presence was like an egg and I’m a clumsy chef with a fidgety brain and I watched you break all over the floor, and everywhere I walked there you were, sticking to my shoe. And you’ve never been one to clean up your messes.


You say you like crazy girls, you “understand” their music. But then how can you take such pleasure in devaluing my work? Can you ever understand when the kind of people that those women wrote about are literally you? That’s why they’re called crazy girls, Billy. Because men call them crazy. Men like you. Men like you will always call girls like me crazy. Bitter. Resentful. Moody. Sullen. 


Then came the silence. 


                                  The weather stopped 


                                                                            and I was stuck in a state of complete tranquillity. Except it wasn’t tranquillity.                                  

                                                                                   It was like a silent storm. A gentle typhoon. 


You made the choice to pretend I didn’t exist multiple times. But at the end of the year was when it hurt most. You have a habit of rejecting me from your system like poison. Maybe this time it will take? 

And it is with that, that I want to leave you behind. Because there’s nothing here. I’m not here. Or at least, that’s how you’ve been acting all year. But just know, I’m not delusional, I am and have always been correct about you, and me, and my feelings. And I haven’t disappeared, even if you can’t see me, I am everywhere. And no matter what you do, I’ll know.





Farrago's magazine cover - Edition One 2024


It’s 2012 and you have just opened Tumblr. A photo pops up of MGMT in skinny jeans, teashade sunglasses and mismatching blazers that are reminiscent of carpets and ‘60s curtains. Alexa Chung and Alex Turner have just broken up. His love letter has been leaked and Tumblr is raving about it—”my mouth hasn’t shut up about you since you kissed it.” Poetry at its peak: romance is alive.

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