Reflections after a night of heavy drinking

Photo: A. Neal, 2013

Oh my God! You’re from Seattle, I’m from Seattle too!” V. shouted giddy as a drunk can be.

That’s all it took.

Before I knew it I was skipping down the sidewalk with her. I didn’t know her name but as far as the 3:00am lowlifes of this city were concerned, we were happy newly weds.

Why not?

Dating is hard enough on its own, might as well find a drinking partner for the evening and pretend existence has meaning — even if temporary.

Ah, Sunday night…

Never go drinking on the Lord’s day.

That wasn’t my original plan. But when you surround yourself with like minded individuals, who sacrifice sleep upon the altars of chaos, you end up saying, “Fuck it.”

After realizing your bachelor status, and that booze and exercise will eventually not be enough to fill that empty hole in your chest, you start saying “yes’’to everything.

“You want this last line of coke?”

“Yes.” It doesn’t matter that it’s 9:30 in the morning.

“You want to get drunk at that hole-in-the-wall bar that just opened?”

“Why not! let’s take advantage of a free Wednesday night.”

And that’s how it goes, day after day.

You find enough work to keep a roof over your head and allow ample time to focus on depraved nightly activities — determined to find that American dream.

Is it healthy or productive? I don’t know.

But does it matter when you’re discovering what it means to be alive?

Or, more importantly, discovering who you truly are. Well, once you cast off those pesky social titles that give you a false identity.

I’m not lost because I don’t know who I am. I’m lost because I don’t know who people want me to be. Something I believe affects us all.

“My name’s Alex by the way.What’s yours?” I asked.

She told me to call her V — the letter not the roman numeral for five — as we waited for our first round of drinks.

She was twenty-four. Married to an abusive husband and out drinking with her twenty-three-year-old step-daughter. We grabbed the beer and stepped outside so she could smoke. As she spoke, I had the sudden urge for a cigarette, too.

Photo: A. Neal, 2017

I decided to take the one dangling from her lips and use it to light mine. That first drag always knocked my intoxication up a notch.

Was she attractive? I thought so.

It was a nice change meeting another lost and broken soul showing off faded old-school tattoos.

Her reality, I found out, was that the world was flat and surrounded by ice caps because that’s what the good book seems to say. And flight maps were further proof of her well researched theory.

I read the bible, once, and I don’t remember the earth being flat, and any map could prove your world theory, depending on what drug you’re on.

To be honest there was no reason for me to stay out late. No reason why I got into her car, drove to another bar and convinced another group of lowlifes that we were on our honeymoon.

She was already married.

James Bond had it backwards when he said that sleeping with married women was less complicated — I realize now, that, it’s confusing and painful and heartbreaking.

Why?

Had I shown up a few years sooner, maybe, just maybe, I could have met the love of my life (or at least gotten some good sex out of it).

But I didn’t want carnal satisfaction. I wanted a connection. A hand to hold that would, over time, lead us to discover the hidden scars that we carry on our palms and in our hearts.

At 5:00 am we smoked the last cigarette. It was a Lucky Strike, toasted of course, comforting as always. I stumbled down an empty road as gunshots and sirens echoed in the distance.

“Just another shooting in the gateway city, I wonder what the murder rate is at now?

The smell of death and burning rubber filled my nostrils as I faded into black.

A drug induced sunrise found me face up on ice cold concrete — alone.

The only thoughts crossing my mind, as I desperately tried to block out the sun, were:

“Is any of this real?”

“Does any of this matter…”

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