75 Ways to Lose Yourself

By Traci Mullins

  1. Work a 12-hour shift.
  2. Talk to your new lover on the phone until dawn. (Mostly listen.)
  3. Work a 12-hour shift.
  4. Dream sexy dreams.
  5. Shiver when he makes your heart race.
  6. Make him your mom’s famous beef stew. (Buy plenty of red wine.)
  7. Listen to the story of his sad childhood.
  8. Feel sorry for him and promise you’ll never hurt him.
  9. Work a 12-hour shift.
  10. Spend a long weekend at the beach. (Don’t forget the ultra-ribbed condoms.)
  11. Compliment him on his skills in bed.
  12. Buy new lingerie when you get home.
  13. Work a 12-hour shift.
  14. Tell him you need to go to bed early.
  15. Change your mind when he says he’s had a bad day. 
  16. Spend two hours listening until he feels better. 
  17. Agree that his boss is an asshole.
  18. Don’t mention his bad attitude. 
  19. Work a 12-hour shift.
  20. Don’t say anything when you notice he’s drinking too much.
  21. Be grateful you have a relationship in the first place.
  22. Give him pep talks so he doesn’t drink so much.
  23. Remind yourself that he had a sad childhood.
  24. Work a 12-hour shift.
  25. Agree that he just needs to quit that lousy job.
  26. Stop making such a big deal about his drinking.
  27. Invite him to move in with you.
  28. Don’t mention his volatile moods.
  29. Walk on eggshells.
  30. Work a 12-hour shift.
  31. Suggest a change of scenery.
  32. Don’t take it personally when he passes out at 7. 
  33. Figure you’re too tired for sex anyway.
  34. Make him your mother’s lamb curry. (Not too spicy.)
  35. Work a 12-hour shift.
  36. Wait for the right time to bring up his drinking.
  37. Count his drinks so you have hard evidence.
  38. Don’t remind him that he’s still unemployed.
  39. Work a 12-hour shift.
  40. Convince yourself he’ll drink less if you try harder.
  41. Go to therapy to find out what you’re doing wrong.
  42. Make him your grandmother’s apple cobbler. (Serve a la mode.)
  43. Start taking an antidepressant.
  44. Go back to yoga.
  45. Work a 12-hour shift.
  46. Talk to all your friends about how unhappy you are.
  47. Repeat the above until they run dry on sympathy.
  48. Feel sorry for yourself.
  49. Reminisce about the good old days.
  50. Resent your friends when they tell you that ship has sailed.
  51. Work a 12-hour shift.
  52. Give him ultimatums. 
  53. Cry a lot so he can see what he’s doing to you.
  54. Beg.
  55. Walk on eggshells.
  56. Work a 12-hour shift.
  57. Lecture him.
  58. Yell.
  59. Wonder what it’s going to take. 
  60. Leave and come back.
  61. Wonder if you’re going crazy.
  62. Work a 12-hour shift.
  63. Tell yourself that no one understands what you’re going through.
  64. Call in sick.
  65. Don’t get out of your pajamas for two days.
  66. Give him the silent treatment.
  67. Work a 12-hour shift.
  68. Tell him you won’t watch him kill himself.
  69. Doubt that you mean it.
  70. Hate him.
  71. Hate yourself.
  72. Lament your lost friendships.
  73. Listen to sad songs.
  74. Quit yoga.
  75. Work a 12-hour shift.

                                                                            *   *   *

Traci Mullins, a non-fiction book editor by day, has been writing flash fiction since 2017. Her stories have been published in three anthologies, Panoply, Fictive Dream, Bending Genres, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Boulevard, Cabinet of Heed, Potato Soup Journal, (mac)ro(mic), Blink-Ink, Ellipsis Zine, and many others. She was a two-time finalist in the London Independent Story Prize competition.

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