forced entry #3
"first the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man."
i read that somewhere, i think its an old saying, possibly chinese, but im not sure. its true though. i know. i, myself, have been taken many times.
a friend arrived from out of nowhere. he was visiting from san francisco. another old ghost from the past. he stopped by the bar on superbowl sunday and had a bowl of pasta and a thousand pints of beer. he met the bar crowd and got along easy with everyone. speaking in his slow virginia drawl and laughing along with the mayhem. we all raised our glasses over and over in the spirit of sport and celebration. there werent many of us, but enough so that not one person was burdened with all the rounds.
my girlfriend was there and we eyed each other from afar and in those eyes and behind those stares was the heartache of loneliness and change. we are going through another rough patch, its not uncommon, but in this patch the seeds of our disfunction are sprouted and now what blooms we cant ignore. the distance between us and the emptiness we share. she said to me she felt lonely, even when i was there. i told her i was sorry she felt this way. i said i wish things were different. that the cold outside would go away and the clock would stop just for a moment so we could be still enough to consider our mess. as it is were always moving, racing and chasing on two separate tracks.
ive never been a saint. ive never pretended to be. and i know that my own selfishness and greed, my own unfortunate curiosities, have always stolen me away, leaving me in my own private womb of isolation. i wallow in my own matters, even though shes always next to me. i find solace inside. i let myself grow unaware.
i admit, ive tried to throw myself into writing these days, and have allowed my patterns to change a bit. on the way home from class i stop in a bar and have a manhattan and sit alone and think of things. i think of the story i need to start writing. i think of the words that will begin it and wonder about the words that will be its end. i explore my memory and order another manhattan. i think of the book i need to read. i think of the test i need to take and the quizzes i need to study for. i think of the bar and how thin it can get and how we are all so weary and barely scraping by. i order another manhattan and think of her and the challenge of heartbreak. i think of the decisions ive made and the decisions i will make and how these decisions never seem to measure up to the consequences that befall them. i think of how things always seem to change and how we never get used to it. i wonder if i can ever untangle this into words.
at home i sit at my computer, taken, and try to write. she says hi three times and she sounds far away and in the distance. we watch tv and eat dinner in a WASPy silence. its embarrassing and we dont want to address it. later we get close and its easy and her softness familiar but it doesnt last long. it never does.
after the game was settled and the bar closed my friend and i went to another bar and had a few more pints and a few more shots of whiskey. in his voice my ills are cured. in our conversation my woes all but forgotten. we soaked ourselves in the early morning then stumbled home. she had gone another way, with another set of friends, to a club, and the house was empty. he eventually left and i sat home alone and listened to the traffic outside. i missed him already. when i woke up the next morning she told me she had come home late and drunk and we had spoken for a bit but i dont remember.