It was eight years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. We were suppose to meet for what would seemingly be considered a necessary last time. The signing of the divorce papers. The end of joint life. The end to a beautiful beginning. The sad story for others to gossip over and then not give a shit about.
I decided not to attend the ceremony of demise. Instead, I sat on a metal chair in my backyard flooding myself with warm bourbon smoking one cigarette after the next. I looked around and let it all soak in while anxiety flowed through my rib cage.
It looked different now. The grass was overgrown and that bird house just sat there staring at me. Haunting me. It used to be a beautiful iconic testament to how much our home meant to us. It had a wrap around porch and a bunch of open windows for the birds to fly in and out of.
It was older now and with time it lost it beauty, but gained some character. As time does, it wore that birdhouse down and made it exactly what it should be. The birds still loved it as much as they ever had. I watched them fly in and out. Their chirping was the symphony that I had front row seats to all day long. I loved that birdhouse and I loved those birds. But love was gone now and there was no room for lingering misery. I soaked the bottom of the pole with gasoline and I lit it on fire. The chirping stopped. The birds flew away. And the house, crumbled to the ground.
I felt a strange sense of accomplishment in that very second. Despair and regret melted away as black clouds filled the air above. My father was a certified asshole. And then he was a drunk. His father too. There’s an old saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, isn’t that just really cute? I drained the last of the liquor from the bottle and then flipped it upside down. In one fell swoop I hurled it upward as hard as I could, smashing it across my forehead. It didn’t break, but it sure as shit shook my skull. My inner good pleaded for a physical calming but the devil inside insisted that I carry on.
“Do it again”.
So I did it again. And again. And again. The bottle was dummy proof and had no sign of wear and tare. My head on the other hand was numb. I could feel warm blood crawling overy my eyebrows. I did it again, and again.
The pain was unbearable but my frustration was at an inconceivable level. My wife was waiting to divorce me. Waiting to say goodbye. To remind me that I lost everything. Blood was dripping down my chin and onto the pavement below. I needed another drink.
Sara had stopped by sometime later to see how I was. She had been visiting often to make sure that I was still on this side of the daisies. She’d feed me, console, me, and when she would find me in my own piss and shit, she’d even clean and bath me. This wasn’t a college binge type of problem. Catastrophic is a better way to describe it. It’s fair to say that you haven’t had true humility until another adult has to wipe your ass. The second she showed up, all I could think about was telling her to get out. I desired no company, especially the company of this whore.
She was a childhood friend that’s been with me through the thick and the thin. We always longed to find a relationship together, but that amazing feeling that you get when you find the one, well, it never presented itself. That and she was a coke snorting whore. A wild child, free spirit, hug a tree, fuck every kind of guy chicks. The kind of woman that all men desire, and no man will ever truly love.
That was the old Sara though. The new Sara had found God, and to whomever that God may be, I must say that I thank him. Thru her own life struggles she found new inspiration to live a more fulfilling life. She began volunteering to help others and said that it gives her purpose. I would have told her long ago to continue fighting her own daemons and leave mine alone, but the fear of throwing away the last person to stand by my side deferred me from doing so. Or maybe just the fear of complete solitude in which most people would swear that I long for. I liked the new Sara, but I really just wanted left alone. What I needed, she didn’t have.
“Jack, are you out here?”
She came strolling thru the backyard patio door as I stared at the small square center block in front of me. A day of lecture would soon replace my ambitious day of reckoning. I tried desperately to get the bottle to my mouth but I couldn’t move. My hand was shaking and and my body was numb.
“Jack, are you ok?”
I didn’t answer. Hatred and disgust were all that I could feel and I had lost all ability at that moment to even provide a response. Every step that she took, the more nervous I became. The sadder I became. The angrier I became. It was as if her presence was reality coming back into my life. It was as if the fires of hell were getting warmer and warmer as she came closer and closer. Like a bird in a burning birdhouse.
She got closer.
A little closer.
And then she was there. Standing right in front of me. Her long black hair glistening in the sun. An expression on her face that didn’t indicate lecture. One that more so implied pity and concern. I was sitting in my underwear with a bottle in one hand and a fast shaking cigarette in the other. I only smoke when I drink but I drink more than most people smoke. There were cigarette butts piled up on the ground between my legs. I’d say about 60/day for the last 6 months.
She just stood there waiting for me to say something. Waiting for me to do something. I hated everything in that moment and refused to respond. I could feel her eyes staring straight through me. I wanted to kill her. I wanted her to feel wrath and deep pain.
She knelt down beside me and asked how I was doing while gently rubbing her fingers through the hair on the back of my head.
“Are you ok?”
The weight of her gentle voice forced me to drop my head in shame.
I gripped the bottle as tight as I could. I tried to act as if I didn’t care for her touch and used all my effort to focus my head forward, avoiding any and all eye contact. I wanted to tell her that I was ok but I couldn’t get the words out. She could feel how much I needed her. My eyes started to swell and my vision was quickly a wet blur. A tear shot down my face and I finally gave in. I laid my head on her shoulder.
“shhhh, it’s ok…”
I was so happy she was there.
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