But whatever the trigger, once enacted, a single thought would move through her brain, gaining momentum and power as it went along. It started as a dull nagging, like a persistent call for help way in the distance. Next, the nagging inched closer, growing in intensity and persistence, until Eve could hear it perfectly: “Just one drink.”
After that, she’d debate herself, often conjuring up AA slogans such as, “It’s the first drink that gets you drunk”, or “One drink is too many and a thousand not enough”. If it looked like reason might win, the physical cravings muscled their way into the debate, ultimately winning the fight. One drink thus led to twelve or more. And Eve inevitably awoke in some strange place, with a hangover and no recollection of what despicable thing she must have done.
She came to see herself as trying to survive on a narrow rock ledge projected over a seemingly bottomless canyon. She didn’t dare look down into the dark abyss, and instead focused upwards where she could see light along the canyon ridge. Over and over again, she attempted to claw her way up the jagged rock face towards light and safety.
She believed she had the strength and stamina to reach the top if only she concentrated hard enough, always looking up at her goal. But every time, just as she was about to pull herself to flat, solid ground, she lost her grip and went sliding back down, with bits of debris tumbling along with her.
The debris was made up of the pieces of her life – relationships, marriages, babies, jobs, finances, integrity, dignity, honor and freedoms. Eventually, it was her body and mind that crumbled with the debris, as she repeatedly slid down the cliff, only to land with a painful thud on the same pathetic ledge.
Soon she would crumble into nothingness, extinction. But after so many years of the same thing, it was this that kept her going: That she would die and all her misery would go with her, disperse like dust as she slammed into her ledge for the last time and did a free-fall into eternal oblivion.
She thus did her climb and fall routine with renewed vigor, even though the pain was nearly unbearable now, as her body bled and her hands shook with delirium. She was alone and hopeless, other than the hope of death, dying of starvation, burdened by an unquenchable thirst, devoid of love and lacking even the slightest shred of self-respect.
But she persevered until, with no strength left, Eve collapsed in a delirious heap of surrender. She rolled from her splintering perch and fell to the rocky bottom of that dark abyss.
She did not die as she had hoped, however. Unbelievably, after she recovered from her near fatal landing, with no one and nothing there to help her, she discovered she could stand.
"Fuck," Eve thought to herself. Who knew dying was such an impossible feat? How did those 150,000 souls who died every day around the globe manage it? All she wanted was to join their ranks. Was that too much to ask? Damn immortality.
Maybe God would have an answer for her. Prayer. Eve hadn't prayed since she was a little girl in Sunday school, but desperate times called for last ditch efforts, no matter how far-fetched.
"Dear God," Eve spoke aloud, "please let me die. Amen".
Eve waited. She waited so long she was forced into a sitting position from sheer exhaustion before slumping over into a dreamless sleep.
Her eyes adjusted to the darkness, though, and as she frantically looked around at her surroundings, she realized there was an opening in the cave she found herself, a kind of doorway and path that possibly would lead her out of the darkness.
Eve crawled to the opening, berating herself it was just another illusion, another one of God's sick tricks. But Eve wasn't hallucinating. God did answer her, not how she expected or wanted, but it was an answer: Live.