The Lark
Published in

The Lark

Ignorance Beyond Bliss

It could happen to you

Photo: Alari Tammsalu

With only the stark silhouette of trees to see me from outside my kitchen window, I stirred. As the captured cloud within my cup swirled into a rich aroma from the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. Even the simple task of coffee brew had grace beyond daily grind this morning.

I struggled to function as I also swam the sea of confusion over my place here within Earth's domain. The warmth of my first taste made its way to my place of gratitude for the little things had a great weight to me of late.

The backlit sky began on queue as if to encourage me in facing the day, but I was in hiding. My heart could bear no more and my mind opened to thoughts unhealthy. My second sip did little for my state of mind but did bring pleasure and comfort of sorts to the overcast I felt within.

The still was deafening interrupted periodically only by the chirps of the coffee makers' attempt to hold my attention. Reminder a full carafe awaited me and the promise I had made to hold the decision until the drink was finished in whole and the carafe as empty as I felt. My third mouthful was an array of bitter and sweet not unlike the life I considered ending.

I warmed my cup with refill forgoing any adder so I might be more intimate with bean and memory, thinking they were all I had in saving. Looking out the window I noticed the first sight of the winged creatures within the lattice of branches shy of leaves this December day. The chill of the view in contrast to the warmth of the house made these moments all the more surreal.

As I made my way to the kitchen table I took a mental note that in deaths consideration I suddenly never felt more alive. Sliding the chair out I placed my cup upon tabletop without saucer or any other caution of leaving the coffee ring as if to rebel, careless as to what others thought. The fourth drink burned my tongue tip, my oversight in the recent refill which momentarily moved my focus. Then angered response and the thought of self-hurt returned, I slammed the remainder of the cup feeling the painful burn hit my stomach's bottom.

I wasn’t sure if the tears which hit the tabletop were of heart cry or fleshes wound but the pain brought relief assuring me for the moment I was still alive. I realized I had entered the place of danger, the roller coaster of emotion where sway between care and extinguish were a thin veil. I returned to the window view for a refill of drink and hope of sighting reason to stay. I knew there would be no one coming to rescue but looked for a sign nonetheless.

Daylight had arrived in spite of my gloom and I took notice of the large nest near treetop and the dance of the squire across frosted grass. These were the things of cherishing I had always held dear for they never turned their back on me like so many others. I loved nature and all it offered with exception to man, reptile, and a few others not worthy of mention. I thought of my wife who claimed I was quick to overreact but now her opinion was of little value in the haze of the abyss.

I wondered if this was a factor in my outcome or final decision but like most things now I didn’t care enough to pursue further. Instead, I replaced the creamer with Walker Black in pouring my next cup towards cowards decision. The new aroma was one of announcement and warning or so it seemed to one seeking tether to feelings or breath. Once more, yearning reason to remain in the argument against a heart screaming reason to leave battled in earnest.

I lost count of taste and cup numbers while the zealous sensitivity of my mouth neared that of my being. I counted on the knowledge that at some point both the feeling of my mouths burning and that of my broken heart would be numbed by the coffee enhancer. Time seemed to stand still as my way to the carafe bottom progressed.

With each new cup, the ratio of black to bean changed in favor of the walker in the effort of calming the pains of life. While I made the effort of dulling life cruelties I continued to drink from both my cup and that of life in the journey of answer. I began to see it was to be a long day ahead as neither shadow nor light was willing to release what both considered rightly theirs.

Returning to the kitchen window I was delighted to find the sun had made its presence known in bright and warm painting all it touched in the pastel yellow. I enjoyed the strands of light. It showed my way and for a moment felt found, but it was fleeting so once more I returned to the task at hand. I was relieved to still find coffee within the carafe while I queued up the next cup.
The black in the coffee and the bright sun were blurring my thoughts on my future and if I should have one.

This taste was not unlike my first of the day for the carafe was nearly empty and my senses were dulled by the alcohol. Suddenly I realize I had failed to go into work and the mild-mannered rebel returned for a burst then replaced with apprehension and finally with the warped thought that I couldn’t be fired if I was dead. Checking the clock on the wall I was also surprised to discover I had been drinking coffee and scotch for nearly ten hours. Oddly I was impressed and concerned, impressed I was still capable of standing and concerned over the amount of liquor consumed without knocking me out.

Amazingly for the first time today, for any length of time I was thinking of something other than death. I decided I best return to my seat at the kitchen table, then I paused to grab a bowl, then I thought of my hatred of vomiting. Mr. Rebel showed his cowardly face momentarily to concur on the thought of “I refuse to become ill and puke!” The longer I sat the more the room spun and I realized I would need to do something in preventing the dreaded heaves.

I received notice from my stomach it didn’t appreciate the scalding fluid or the truckload of coffee and scotch. Then a follow-up message of emptiness, it seems I hadn’t eaten anything the night prior and the vat of acid brewing within was bubbly angry. I stood to make my way back to the cabinets and when I did the hours of drinking claimed their victim. I slowly pushed my way through the thickness to make a meal of antacids within the window cabinet.

Even artificial fruit flavor felt magnificent after a full day of pouring black and black down my throat. The sun had returned home and the sky was backlit once more, I wasn’t sure if I was moving or the room was revolving. I thought I should relocate to the bathroom while still mobile so I began the adventure as I tried navigating a stranger's legs beneath me. I felt miserably defeated as I made my way to the porcelain. I had a taste for a cigarette before remembering I didn’t smoke.

The doorbell rang but I was clutching the bathroom sink as if halfway through space mountain when Mr. Rebel decided to let it ring. I felt as if the sink and toilet were growing in height until I realized I was melting into the floor. I managed to curl up on the fluffy miniature rug in front of the sink like the family K-9 while anchoring myself to earth by holding on to the acorn nuts of the toilet. How could a grown man be so stupid I asked myself, and even sadder I waited on a reply.

I awoke shortly after 3 am to the realization I had rid myself of all the coffee and scotch out of every possible orifice available. I was freezing, horrified, humiliated, soiled, and relieved in every manner. I was still alive and coffee remained within the carafe sitting on the kitchen cabinet. I still might be unable to physically walk over and check on it but I remembered I had not emptied it. I had managed to keep my promise, inherit a headache the size of the room while frightening the crap out of myself.

I stumbled my way through cleaning up all the messes I had created finally reaching sober while showering. The water striking my head is a painful reminder of misjudgment, self-pity, and a prime example of wasting scotch, the ultimate sin. I managed to dry and dress myself foregoing the shave until the shakes and stupidity subsided. I looked like crap and felt the same, what a great start to the day. A day I had almost missed.

After phoning into work to relay how ill I felt I conveyed I should be returning tomorrow once the flu improved, I felt too sickly to experience guilt. Placing the phone back in the charger base I noticed a badly torn-up letter sprinkled across the area in front of my armchair. The envelope still intact lay further towards the kitchen so I decided to puzzle the letter back into form first.

“Dear Scott.”

Who the hell is Scott?

“I am unable to return to you as our love has been a mirage. I have found my soulmate, can you ever forgive me?”

I had read enough to recognize a dear John letter so I looked to the bottom of the page for a signature.

“Forgive me, Lauren.”

I thought the alcohol must still be affecting my judgment because none of it made sense to me. The letter, the night before, my depression, my actions.

I gave up on the letter puzzle and walked towards retrieving the envelope. A slow painful process as my head pounded trying to convince me bending over may prompt it to crack open.

The perfumed parchment was addressed to my neighbor across the street. We had become friends shortly after discovering our wives had the same first name.

I felt a new sensation, a large uncomfortable pit in the bottom of my stomach. I made my way back to the armchair and phone.

I was amazed at my stupidity, callousness, lack of reasoning, but mostly my taking for granted everything I had and just how fortunate I was.

My wife’s visit with her out-of-state sister was nearing its close but not soon enough for me. I called her and promptly after her greeting began my attempt of redemption.

“I love you, Lauren, I know I never say it enough. You married a fool but there is little to do about it now.”

After the longest pause, I have ever experienced a confused reply from her.

“Thomas are you alright, have you been drinking, did you damage our new stove?”

I laughed as the tears fell steadily from me. I gasped for breath and finally replied best I was able.

“I am blessed, Lauren. Scott across the street is not so fortunate and I will need your help in saving him.”

“Please hurry back home, I will explain when I pick you up at the airport.”

“Text me your flight information.”

“Have I told you lately how much you mean to me?”

“Love you.”



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