September 17th, 2008
Tires on pavement. Metal wings up high. People on their way to work and school. Places other than home.
And I'm here. Planted in this chair. Wearing pajamas and a sweater. Listening to the world wake. Sipping coffee. On the sun-rising edge of another day.
There were days I didn't care to wake. Head pounding. Body trying to rid itself of alcohol. Eyes burning. Gut eating itself. Skin and hair stained with second hand smoke.
All of it the end result of another exercise in fun.
The kind I don't care to have anymore. Gathered with drinking buddies. At The Owl or Courtyard. Knocking back beer and shots. Always, it seemed, operating under the influence. Stuck in some fantasy world. As if I expected F. Scott or Hemingway to sidle up next to me. Have a seat. Buy us a round. Key us in on all of it. Let us know that what we were doing was okay. Normal. Necessary. That what we were doing was building stamina. Because the world, as beautiful as she is, breaks everyone. And if a person can be stronger at the broken places, it makes perfect sense to walk around as numb as possible so that the cracks and fissures start without recognition or regret. So that pain from self-inflicted injury is worn like a red badge of courage.
But that's not how we thought. We couldn't understand it. Not then.
Trying to evaluate the outside world when you are tucked so deeply inside yourself is difficult. And nothing was difficult then. There was only selfishness and half-assed ideas about what it did or did not mean to be big fish in a little pond. To live without knowing what it meant to live at all. And so, we could have not known difficulty. Because for us, it did not exist. There was no apple to eat. No tree dangling knowledge. God knows, if there had been, we would have plucked the fruit, axed the tree and made a fire. So there was no knowledge. Only drunk talk. Inebriated hope. And boys believing they were men because they could drink, fight when necessary, and fuck at will.
Those days, I'm happy to say, are gone.
There are those lingering feelings. The kind that take so very long to fade. Those that are not good, but familiar and what you have always known, so part of you is there and will always be there. But you can break free. And you should expect more. Something different. Because you will be able to look back and see the past for all it was and is. Days gone. Experience gained. Love lost. Lessons learned. More often than not, the hard way. And before you know it, the idea of drinking buddies, fighting, and fucking at will are memories. All of them poured and mixed into a bitter tasting cocktail that you can no longer swallow.
Instead, you will wake sober and closer to being whole. Planted in a chair or a seat. In a car. On a plane. A bus or a train. And you will be at home in this world. Wherever you are. Because you can hear it. The sun rising. As you sit and breathe and are thankful for the edge of another day.
(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)