Monday, May 03, 2004

Drunk... as in poured out of a bottle...

After Rosa left me, she said she was concerned with my drinking...

... and that was back in 1992!!!!

Okay, so we ended up back together and, when I left her in 2000, she again voiced her concern over my drinking. My response remained the same, "I lost you. My life has been destroyed. I'm allowed a few drinks, okay?"

Nowadays, Rosa couldn't care if I drank vomit... (You'd be surprised at what they're serving at bars these days.)

Every so often, when sorrow covers me like a tide, I feel the need to drink.

So it was this past weekend.

After returning home Friday night, I watched the second half of "Scenes from a Marriage". It was an incredible film, a remarkable piece of work, and terribly painful. Watching it opened up so many old wounds - and the pus of old wounds is very often happy memories. And these began to bubble up to the surface as I tried to get things ready for my weekend.

Keith and I were going to San Diego, to spend some time with Tim. So, I packed some jeans and a shirt into a backpack along with a toothbrush and - from out of the darkness near the corner of my eye came a very sharp memory. It was simply this: Rosa sitting next to me. It was so vivid and sure! I could feel her hand, smell her scent, feel her presence!

I tried to shut it out but it was followed by a parade of memories, all of them simple and horrible in their beauty.

I couldn't pack any more, so I sat on my sofa and started to cry. I pulled out a cigarette and lit it up, smoking while sobbing. But that wasn't helping and I was sick of being sober - so I began to drink. By midnight, I was pretty looped. I was also out of cigarettes and I didn't have any money for the trip down - you know, in case I could help Keith with gas.

And so it seemed logical to go get cigarettes and stop by the new ATM across the street - but by the time I reached the gas station on the corner, I realized walking wasn't a good idea... actually, it's not so much that I thought it was a bad idea... I just thought it was too hilarious to go on - and, boy, was I tired! So, imagine, if you will, this guy's walking down the street in the middle of the night stumbling over his own feet, cackling laughter, talking to himself, and occasionally proclaiming, "I sould shit down!" I made it about half a mile that way, going out a quarter mile before I decided it would behoove me to return home and sitting on bus benches whenever I reached one.

Yep. I was pretty damned pathetic. And I don't know if I should necessarily feel ashamed. After all, that's pretty much how I feel inside most of the time, anyway.

I made it back to my place around 3:00am. I walked into my kitchen, looked down at the counter, and said, "Whoops!"

On the counter, a stamp was missing. A stamp was missing because I'd just mailed a letter. The letter had been to Rosa. I'd written it while I was drunk... and had mailed it on my walk... and had forgotten about it until I got home and noticed the missing stamp.


Oh well, I thought. I hope it was a good one.

I think I awoke the next morning when Keith called... but I'm not really sure I was completely awake as we drove south. I just know that when he put on Roger Waters' Radio KAOS, I started thinking about Rosa and bit back tears. She hated my taste in music and I was intractable. Maybe if I'd been less stubborn...

We arrived at Tim's place just before he got home and, when he did, he introduced us to the miniature tornado, er, pincher named Bentley. Bentley is so adorable and, aside from its ratlike (but quite cute) features, reminds me of Chloe (the dog Rosa and I had, which she kept and will not let me see) as a puppy. I miss Chloe greatly so it was kinda nice.

Keith was a bit peckish so we started reviewing options. Of them all, Keith picked Jack in the Box - okay, we have different tastes - which we followed by a walk to the beach. Coming back, Tim was ready to start drinking. So, we stopped by the liquor store and picked our poison.

About an hour later, I had six drinks in me and I began to talk about Rosa. You know how bad it is here... imagine that drunk!

Keith doesn't understand how I can feel sorrowful or depressed. He thinks that, since I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a job, I should be happy. Well, if that's all there was to life, we wouldn't have puppies or trips to the beach or music or melon vodka or children... which I don't have, but you get my point. Personally, I think all of us suffer pain in our lives and, not only is there nothing wrong with acknowledging that, I think that awareness is the beginning of empathy. So, just because you have the basics - or even if you're a millionaire - doesn't mean you're going to be exempt from experiencing pain or less inclined to sorrow. These things are determined by money - they're determined by fate... should such a thing ever by proven to exist...

But Keith had had enough of my rambling and thought some food would do me good so he and Tim walked to Roberto's (my favorite hole-in-the-wall mexican joint in the world - and Tim lives real close!!!!!) to grab some food. I grabbed another drink but I had to drink it quickly. 1) Because I started falling off my chair. 2) Because I started to cry. You cannot drink a glass of vodka sideways or crying. So, I downed it, fell on the floor, and started to cry.

Actually, it wasn't huge sobs, just a trail of tears down the side of my face, which was good because Keith and Tim soon came back. And my veggie eating habits went right out the window. Carnitas! Carne Asada! (I told Keith that if my brains get eaten by mad cow, it's HIS fault!)

So, anyway, that was at about 6pm and at around 9pm or 10pm, they both decided to turn in. (Who knows what happened in between?! That night was a BLUR!!) I stayed up. I was just coming out of my drunken stupor. Tim had just got a washer & dryer and had suggested I bring my laundry... so I started doing it. By 2am, my laundry was done and I'd sobered up. I decided to go for a walk.

I walked down to the beach, taking the main drag towards the ocean. The bars were all closed (and there are a lot of them down there!) so the streets were quite peaceful. From up ahead, though, I heard "Highway to Hell" playing... playing very loudly! A bar was still open, I thought? As I approached it, though, I could see it came from no bar. All the bars were dark but light was emanating, just up ahead, from an apartment atop one of the businesses. A large window faced the street and the curtains were pulled back, letting light just spill out. "Highway to Hell" was ready to bust those windows. And in there, inside the white, bright apartment: an enigma.

A couple, about my age, mid-30's, danced very slowly and closely, smiling and very much in love. Inside this cacophony, this hurricane, a peaceful center, an immovable spot... axis mundi.

Now, I've been hallucinating a lot in the last week. I've been chalking it up to my brain getting resettled into Ken's head after Howard took off. They've been random and unfocused... but this... this was perfect.

I stood out there for several minutes, looking up. I thought about Rosa and I and how we were often so much like that. I thought of Rosa, and wondered if she remembered anything I'd tried to impart to her about how we were a single entity, stronger than the sum of its parts. I thought of myself since then, thrown from my immovable spot and into the mouth of a volcano.

Finally, I thought of these two people... if only for a moment: these two perfect people... people who had created their own hurricane and danced in defiance, relishing in their union. Were they married? Were they new? How long would it be until they forgot this place? Until they tried to move their unmovable spot? For now, they were in heaven, nirvana, a place that is perfection, also a place where it's too easy to fall.

That's what I want, I thought.

I wished them well, and moved on, back into my world. Beach bums walked up to me. Arguing couples passed by. Dapper Dans slept out on the street before bars. Transients argued with their demons, rather loudly. This was the world I was cast into but I could still be happy for this couple. If only for a moment, they'd split the bonds of earth.

I was barely awake the next day; I hadn't gone to sleep until 5am. On the way back, I slept as Keith drove. In a dream, I stood on the street, looking at Rosa, from an apartment above, "Highway to Hell" blared...

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