I’m Not Down

“How do you do it?” He asks me. I’m in the process of getting monumentally high on ecstasy, so I don’t remember the context of his question.

“How do I do what?” I ask back, trying to figure out my time and place in the real world.

“How do you cope? With all the shit you’ve been through.” He says. “With losing the person you love the most, with leaving everything behind, with being so nihilistic about life and still get up in the morning and do what you got to do.” As he says that, I notice that the question wasn’t out of curiosity, but more like a cry for guidance. He was as lost as I am. He needed a reason to be on his feet.

I show him my right hand, my knuckles, red from punching everything in my way, from pillows to brick walls. He nods. I also show him my left hand, holding a glass of whiskey and half of a pill. He nods again and lets out a laugh, as if agreeing that that’s the right way of doing things.

We smile to each other and keep drinking in silence for a while.

“The truth, mate,” I start “is that I don’t know how I cope. I punch walls and do drugs. The pain on my hands is an attempt to overcome the pain everywhere else in my body and soul. The numbness of the drugs try to hide my willingness to explode like a terrorist in the London underground. Maybe I’m strong enough to not give up or weak enough to not end it all in a blaze of glory, it depends on how you put it.”

“Do you ever think about it?” He asks. “Like, the blaze of glory…”

“Every second of every day. I see a car coming on the street, I picture myself jumping in front of it. I see a rope and imagine it around my neck. I look through a window and think how long will it take to hit the floor and the best angle to do it. I even look at aspirins and can’t help but calculate how many should I take to just go to sleep to never wake up again.” I answer, my voice getting louder and my speech faster due to the ecstasy. “It’s a daily struggle not to go through with it, it’s a daily fight with myself where one side says it’s easier to just end the pain and the other argues that life has so much more to offer that I just have to wait around and see.”

“I know what you mean.” He says finishing his drink in one sip. I know he knows. He says that with a darkness in his tone that I know way too well.

“Look, let’s keep it this way, as long as I’m around, you’re around. And vice-versa. Deal?”

“Like a suicide pact?”

“No, like a life pact.”

He smiles and offers me his hand.