I don’t want to wake up today. I want to sleep, sleep forever.
I look at those words, stare at them, taste them. Who wrote these pained words?
Me. I wrote them. I must have, because they were in my handwriting, scribbled on a paper torn out of my notebook.
I don’t remember writing it. How surprising is that? I don’t remember half the things I do lately. It’s not one big blur, exactly, it’s more like a watching a movie, only certain sections are blurry, some are muted, and others are just static. Scary, that. Because I’m young. I thought only old people get these blanks in their lives, like the wires are coming loose. I thought only age did that. But it seems that it can happen to young people, too. People like me, who pour alcohol over the wires, shorting out everything, creating sparks, starting fires, and then scrambling to put them out.
I’m so tired of putting out fires. So tired of not remembering, of wondering which one of my friends isn’t talking to me anymore, which job I got fired from. It’s all so confusing.
I’m tired of being confused. I’m tired of not remembering which day of the week it is. I’m tired of needing to shake it off and stumbling around looking for coffee only and giving up, and then finding the empty jar in my sock drawer. Tired of gulping down a beer instead, because, well, it’s almost like orange juice, isn’t it?
I’m tired of being tired. But I’m stuck in myself, stuck in my life. Stuck and alone.
I can’t take this anymore.
I scroll through my phone. One by one, I cross off the people I can’t call for one reason or another. I owe money to this one, that one never wants to see me again…
But I’m so, so alone.
I try again. Hmmm, found one. I hit call. It’s answered on the third ring. I pump some energy into my voice and ask if we can hang out.
The answer is a surprise. Yes, but only if we stick to coffee.
Coffee. That’s how I started this morning, looking for coffee.
A shower and an hour later, I’m sitting on a tall stool holding a latte and staring in disbelief at my friend. My friend that I barely recognize. New haircut, new clothes, new life. Clear eyes, clear voice. What happened? I think to myself.
“What happened?” I blurt out loud.
A smile. A genuine smile, not a hazy, alcohol smile. “Things got so bad, the only place to go was up.”
I get it. Man, do I get it.
“So I took a chance. I made the call. And here I am today. Clean fourth months, one week, and five days.”
I can’t help myself. I have to ask. How? Where? Who?
Another genuine smile. “Find out for yourself.”
A number scribbled on a napkin, passed across the table.
I stare at the number without picking it up.
“What do you have to lose?”
We part ways.
I go home. Home to my beer-soaked pillow and my empty room. To empty eyes staring back at me from a filthy mirror.
I pull the number out of my pocket.
What do I have to lose?